A superb stoppage time strike from Jermaine Jenas saved the day after two second half goals resulting from set pieces cancelled out Robbie Keane's 19th goal of the season at the Lane.
A superb stoppage time strike from Jermaine Jenas saved the day after two second half goals resulting from set pieces cancelled out Robbie Keane's 19th goal of the season at the Lane.Leading at the break after a confident 45 minutes of football, the team struggled to re-establish a pattern after the break and the response felt kind of inevitable as the pressure mounted in the second period. However, the last word went to JJ and he would have scored few finer goals.
Martin Jol made one change to the team that shared the spoils with Wigan last time out with Ledley King resuming his comeback and taking over from Philip Ifil. Keane was deemed fit enough to start after a knee problem and partnered Dimitar Berbatov in attack.
Berbatov was presented with half a chance from a Didier Zokora long ball in the opening minute when William Gallas slipped and the striker was left with the job of attempting to lift the ball over Jens Lehmann. He managed to do that but could not guide goalwards.
The tide was flowing only one way in the early stages - towards Lehmann's goal - with Jenas and Zokora pretty relentless in their midfield pressing. Emmanuel Adebayor did fire into the net on ten minutes, but the raising of the assistant's flag immediately quashed any celebrations.
Arsenal did ease their way into the contest as the clock ticked towards the 20 minute point, not causing serious alarm, but flashing a few warning signals.
The deadlock was broken to an eruption of noise inside the Lane on 29 minutes when a Jenas corner was headed down by Michael Dawson and Keane latched onto the bounce from a few yards out to nod past Lehmann before embarking on a sprint in front of the East Stand to share his joy.
Keane had the chance to work Lehmann three minutes before the break when a Paul Robinson clearance was allowed to bounce by the Arsenal defence, but his strike lacked sufficient power to trouble the German.
The was then a scare at the other end when Emmanuel Eboue worked a one-two with Hleb and proceeded to drill in a shot that hit the inside of Robinson's right-hand upright. Thankfully further danger was averted and half-time was reached with advantage in tact.
Kolo Toure struck a post with his header from a Cesc Fabregas corner not long after the interval as Arsenal stepped it up, Adebayor's header hitting the bar just before the hour from a Gael Clichy cross.
The industrious Tainio made way for Malbranque moments later, but it was not long before Arsenal's pressure reaped reward when a Fabregas free-kick evaded the heads of our defenders and was struck home at the far post by Toure. It was a goal that was coming.
The team looked out of sorts from the start of the half, with the attacking momentum of the first period missing, but substitute Steed Malbranque was making an attempt to inject it back into the collective system. Tom Huddlestone was also introduced for Aaron Lennon.
The changes could not prevent Arsenal scoring a second - and again it came from a set piece. Fabregas flighted over a deep free-kick from the right that was met by the head of Adebayor and ended up in the back of our net with 12 minutes remaining.
It was a header that left the vast majority of the 36,050 inside the Lane bewildered. This later turned to joy when Malbranque picked out Jenas some 25 yards from goal and the midfielder drilled beyond Lehmann to save a point that could prove crucial in the final reckoning.
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