since 1878

Arsenal (0) 1 - 0 (0) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, February 10, 2001

Referee: R Harris

Manager: Unknown


Attendance: 38,011

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2890
























Match Report

Henri condemns Town to fifth consecutive defeat

A second half goal from Substitute Thierry Henri condemned Town to a fifth consecutive defeat at hands of Arsenal.

Ipswich, playing with a very makeshift defence due to the absences of McGreal, Hierdarsson and Wilnis, by no means embarrassed themselves though, against one of the more illustrious teams in the division. The team put in a brave performance that would have been well worthy of point, and for much of the game it looked as if that is what we would get. As it turned out, Henri managed to finally beat Wrighty, much to the relief of the home fans. Ipswich started the game with a new look formation. George Burley, who had obviously read my match preview, took my advise, and gave Martijn Reuser his second Premier League start of the season, and played him on the left of midfield. Scowcroft moved up front, which meant Alun Armstrong was the player to miss out. His absence from the bench also seemed a bit of a mystery. A flat back four consisted of Croft, Bramble, Venus and Clapham. The first half saw Arsenal looking the more dangerous of the two teams, but the North Londoner's were thwarted each time by Richard Wright, who was in inspired form. The England hopeful pulled off a string of stunning saves that would have impressed Tord Grip, Eriksson's assistant, who was watching in the stands. With Town under pressure, Wrighty made great saves from Wiltord, Lauren and Bergkamp. When Ipswich did move forward, they did so with their usual slick-passing manner, but were unable to create any real clean-cut chances. Reuser was perhaps the pick of the Town players, he raced forward every time he had the ball, and despite playing on the left, seemed to be popping up all over the pitch. Indeed, it was the Dutchman who came who came closest for Town in the first period. He latched onto a Scowcroft pass, beat the last defender, but couldn't fire his shot in before Seaman had safely gathered the ball. It was a relief to still be 0-0 at half time though, and it was mainly down to Wrighty. The pacy Arsenal attack looked too much for the makeshift defence, and it only seemed a matter of time when they would score. To add to our ever-increasing woes, Gary Croft picked up an injury, and was replaced by Wayne Brown. But as it turned out, Ipswich begun brightly in the second half, and actually put the Gunners under a bit of pressure. It seemed we had well and truly weathered the Arsenal storm, and our thoughts were briefly turned to the possibility of snatching a victory. Town should really have taken the lead with a well-worked move. Reuser crossed to find Stewart unmarked, and with only Seaman to beat. It was the sort of chance Stewart normally scores with his eyes shut, but seemed he to make contact with the ball without actually shooting. The ball rolled safely to a grateful Seaman. Had we taken that chance, it could have been a different outcome, but increasingly now, we are failing to take our chances, and it was one we would rue, as shortly afterwards, Arsenal took the lead against the run of play. In the 68th minute, A quick pass from Bergkamp caught the Ipswich defence square, and substitute Henri raced through clear on goal. Unfortunately Wright could do nothing to save Town this time, as the Frenchman slotted the ball in the left corner. It was another tough pill for Town to swallow, as it had come at a time when Town were looking the slightly better team. In the remaining twenty minutes, Town rallied for an equaliser, and piled forward, but this also made us more vulnerable at the back. Wright made another brilliant save from Pires, scooping the ball away from the midfielder's feet, as he looked set to score. We had a few hilarities from the ref, who seemed intend on stamping his authority on the game. On a couple of occasions when Town had won free kicks, he picked the ball up and marched forward, even though Town were content to take the kicks from further back. It seemed a strange thing to do, and certainly wound the home crowd up. With three minutes remaining Magilton nearly scored with a free kick, but he could get no power in with his header, and it proved to be our last attempt on goal. It was a very relieved Stadium when referee Harris blew his whistle. Ok, we have lost again, but I believe Town came out of this game with much credit. This is one of the hardest fixtures of the season, and a depleted Town team put a decent showing. Arsenal have quality players all over the pitch, and are chasing hard for a Champion's League place. But they were very thankful at the end, to have won by a single goal. We were close to earning ourselves a well-deserved point, and that would have felt so much better, leaving Highbury with something to show for our efforts. But things rarely go for you when you are in a losing streak, and the players will have to pick themselves up again. If Town continue to play in this manner, the results will pick up again, there is no doubt about that, and if we can get a few players back from injury, things should start to look rosy again very soon.

From The Terrace

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