Spurs Reserves beat Arsenal’s upgraded Academy side

Arsenal 0 Spurs 3 [Barclays Premiership Reserve League South]

Don’t be too alarmed by the score. This was last year’s Academy side, upgraded, a large part due to the Carling Cup semi on Wednesday, where a few regulars such as Traore and Merida may be on the bench, and Aliadiere and Denilson could well play.

It was a bit – boys (back-street boys) v men. Six of the Spurs side had first team experience. And some Spurs players like Tomas Pekhart (a Peter Crouch type, same height but bigger build and who chases things down like a maniac) look twice the size of Arsenal counterparts such as Giorgos Efrem.

This game was a lock-out last year. Cole returned to that game – and lasted all of five minutes. Lupoli and Bendtner, along with Muamba and Larsson featured in that game, with Lupoli pulling a goal back to 1-2. It reminds that a year is an eternity in football.

The Barnet ground, although by no means full this time around, shows some improvements – including new turnstiles.

Its rectangular nature offers a good counterpart to the undulating ovals of Ashburton Grove – and you get a terrace experience, for free – unlike some reserve games at other clubs. Arsenal and Spurs fans around talked openly and jovially about the game and the teams. One Spurs fan said he thought Davids had been sold, while another wasn’t so sure.

Arsenal knocked the ball around quite fluently – but didn’t appear to have an end product. Jay Simpson, who could pass as Julio Baptista, for someone who had lost their glasses, ploughed a lonely furrow against bigger defenders.

Spurs offered more incisive and direct approach football – and on 20 Mark Yeates shot from the edge of the area, beating Vito Mannone.

The away side had more attempts on goal during the half, with Adel Taarabt and Reto Ziegler, firing in a couple in the 35th and 38 minutes.

Randall and Lansbury were sending probing balls from midfield and near half-time, Simpson found some space, rounded Alnwick and fired goalwards, only to see Mills head off the line. Daniels had a chance before the break for the visitors.

Arsenal Reserves pressed at the start of the second half. A flowing move between Randall and Simpson saw Lansbury fire over. And then the youngster had a direct shot saved by Alnwick, and blasted the rebound over.

However Spurs’ directness on the break, saw a low cross deflected past Mannone by Jamie O’ Hara on 55.

Van Den Berg replaced Arsenal’s best player Mark Randall on 60.

Soon after, Efrem was tripped in the area – and Jay Simpson fired home to Alnwick’s left. Unfortunately in his eagerness for any rebound Efrem had strayed into the area – and the kick had to be retaken.

Simpson fired to Alnwick’ left again – this time a little higher – but the keeper parried the ball away – and with it Arsenal’s hopes of salvaging something.

Spurs always looked the more threatening – something Lansbury found out to his cost when he tangled with the menacing McKenna, and received a second yellow on 86.

Arsenal gave the ball away badly on 89, passing straight to McKenna, who ran through and fired past Mannone.

Arsenal Reserves: Vito Mannone, Gavin Hoyte, Paul Rodgers, Abu Ogogo, James Dunne, Henri Lansbury, Nacer Barazite, Giorgos Efrem, Mark Randall, Jay Simpson Rene Steer, Subs Wojciech Szczesny, Carl Parisio, Peggy Lokando, Vincent van den Berg, Rhys Murphy.

Spurs Reserves:Ben Alnwick, Phil Ifil, Reto Ziegler, Kieran McKenna, Charlie Lee, Leigh Mills, Mark Yeates, Jamie O’Hara, Andy Barcham, Adel Taarabt, Charlie Daniels. Subs Troy Archibald-Henville, Tommy Forecast, Cian Hughton, Karl Frazer-Allen, Tomas Pekhart.