The spoils are shared, and in a reverse of the fixture at Ashburton Grove, Arsenal can feel the better for the result. No goals, but this was far from a dire encounter.
The North London derby, the one we all mark on the calender, and after that 4-4 draw earlier in the season anything could have happened this afternoon. Arsenal were boosted by Arshavin and Eduardo being named in the squad, albeit on the bench.
In charge of the game was Mike “card king” Dean sent into a highly charged local derby with the highest red card count of the Premier referees. Slightly odd. However, he was to produce a red card, sending off Emmanuel Eboue. Dean had asked Eboue three times to leave a decision alone, but Eboue seemed either deaf or daft, and continually moaned, earning himself a yellow card. Had he have kept his mouth shut, the next incident might well have passed un-noticed. The player was having a blinder until this point as well, but after an early yellow, he was always going to be watched, and so it proved to be. An off the ball incident with Modric saw Eboue kick out, and Dean had little alternative but to issue a second yellow, followd by the red, and Arsenal were down to ten men for the majority of the game.
Perhaps he was frustrated after a goal was ruled out, and for the life of me, I still can’t see why, and that with the benefit of replays. Had the goal been given, perhaps Eboue wouldn’t have been in such a moaning mood, who knows. As it was Arsenal were under pressure for most of the remainder of the game.
At the point of the red card, Adebayor had just been taken off with a hamstring problem and replaced by Bendtner, who I am sure was being reserved for a far later impact appearance, something he has been rather good with lately.
Arsenal put up stern resistance to most thrown before them, but Middlesex had their chances, and how close they were on several occasions. Robbie Keane on his return looked keen to impress, but couldn’t find a way past Almunia. Although Middlesex dominated for long periods, Arsenal had their moments, and possibly could have won the game on a couple of occasions late on, but Cudicini was equal to all thrown before him.
At the end of the day, Arsenal can feel mighty pleased with a point under the circumstances, especially looking at the statistics! So a goalless draw, and an eleventh match unbeaten. Too many of those games are draws, hence our league position, but today not many would be complaining.
Arshavin and Eduardo were unused, so Wenger still has these players up his sleeve, and with Adebayor now added to the injury room, we will need them!