x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Tottenham spurred on by Arsenal's pain

The Gunners's 4-4 result transforms a resigned atmosphere into one of excitement as substitute Kranjcar scores in injury time to give a 2-1 win over Bolton.

It took a large slice of Schadenfreude to inspire Tottenham Hotspur to rescue a win they had appeared to have thrown away. Just as the game was about to enter stoppage time news filtered back from St James's Park that Newcastle United had completed their astonishing comeback against Arsenal, coming from 4-0 down to draw 4-4.

Suddenly all the pent up frustration that had gradually gripped White Hart Lane, as Bolton had held Tottenham 1-1, was punctured.

In many ways it is a sad indictment that the psyche of so many Tottenham fans is to take pleasure in the misfortune of others, especially north London rivals Arsenal.

It is an attitude which emphasises that, despite the renaissance Tottenham have enjoyed under manager Harry Redknapp, they still suffer from an inferiority complex.

So when they heard that Arsenal had surrendered a 4-0 lead, the Spurs stands erupted in joy when really they should have been spitting feathers.

A draw would have ended Tottenham's outside title hopes and also undermined their Champions League propsects. But all of a sudden, a resigned atmosphere was transformed it one of excitement. Paradoxically it proved infectious.

With the roars behind their backs Tottenham turned on a grandstand finish culminating in substitute Niko Kranjcar hitting a spectacular 30-yard strike into the top left-hand corner.

The Lane went wild and so did Kranjcar, who has been a frustrated on-looker all season. This was just his fifth appearance and first goal.

It was certainly relief for manager Redknapp.

Rafael Van der Vaart - who kept Kranjcar out but eventually suffered injury yesterday - had given Spurs a fifth-minute lead from the penalty spot and it seemed he had sealed matters when he converted another spot kick two minutes later only for it to be taken again because of encroachment.

The Dutchman missed the second attempt and gradually Spurs lost their way. In the 72minute minute the excellent Daniel Sturridge, on loan from Chelsea, equalised and then Bolton threatened to steal it - until that late Arsenal inspired adrenalin rush.

Man of the match: Daniel Sturridge