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.

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May