Infighting sees Arsenal bloodied and bowed

Arsenal's first defeat to Spurs in over eight years ended in bloody acrimony last night – even if their manager, Arsène Wenger, professed not to have seen any of the ructions.

With the score at 4-1 to Spurs seven minutes from time, the visitors' frustrations came to a head with a confrontation between their 20-year-old Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner and the man who scored their only goal after coming on as a 64th-minute substitute, Emmanuel Adebayor. The latter appeared to strike out at his colleague as Arsenal massed in the Spurs box awaiting a free-kick, and the referee, Howard Webb, intervened, as did the Arsenal captain, William Gallas, with whom Bendtner became involved in a nose-to-nose confrontation as the youngster appeared to complain about his treatment.

Gallas admitted that Adebayor and Bendtner would have to apologise to Wenger. "I don't know exactly what happened. Everyone was disappointed about the score but we lost our calm. They know they made a mistake and maybe now they will have to speak to the boss and explain what they have done. They are only young but they have to understand."

There were reports afterwards that Adebayor, one of two Arsenal players booked, was restrained after the final whistle in the players' tunnel by a member of the visiting club's staff.

It came as no great surprise, however, that Wenger professed to have no knowledge of any disagreements. "I haven't seen it. I don't know anything about it," he said.

Wenger was his urbane self in his post-match press conference, although his distress at the night's events was evident as early as the second minute when Jermaine Jenas was allowed to shoot home among a group of red-and-white clad spectators. There followed a thunderous-browed, arms-folded strop which ended with him gesticulating alongside his fellow sufferer, Pat Rice.

If those emotions were bubbling beneath the surface within Wenger as the Spurs fans floated home in celebration of VNL Day – that is, Victory in North London Day – amid devout renditions of "Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, we're going to Wembley, que sera, sera", Arsenal's manager produced an intriguing gloss on what will go down in Tottenham's history as a famous victory over their rivals.

"It's a disappointment because we lost, but I feel that everything was against us tonight," Wenger said. "We were not mature enough to control the game and stop their counter-attacking after we went behind. The score was very high and very brutal, but it doesn't reflect what I have seen. Because the first shot was a goal, the second goal was an own goal, the third goal was straight after half-time and the rest of the game had no real meaning. They were catching us on the break."

So, those five fortunate goals apart, Arsenal would have been worthy winners...

Wenger insisted the evening had been profitable despite the score. "It's good to see that some players are not ready for that level but they have potential," he said. That assessment will ring coldly with 18-year-old Theo Walcott, who Wenger admitted last week had not progressed ideally in the last couple of years. Offered the rarity of a start in his favourite position, up front, Walcott was a disconsolate figure who was able to contribute nothing except willing running until he was replaced.

The Spurs manager, Juande Ramos, was delighted at having guided his team to Wembley within three months of taking over from Martin Jol. "To get to a final so soon is a fantastic achievement for the players, and even more so for the fans, because it is such a long time since Tottenham beat Arsenal," he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital