If any doubts lingered over who was the dominant team in North London then Arsenal’s victory over Tottenham went a long way to clearing any doubt.
Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham
Tottenham took the lead through ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor before the Togo international got himself sent off for a high lunge on Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla. After that the flow of the game went in The Gunners favour and Per Mertesacker levelled with his first goal for the club. Goals from Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud in their first North London Derbies put Arsenal in the ascendency before half time. The brilliant Cazorla added a fourth after the break before Gareth Bale pulled one back for the visitors. You could have been forgiven for thinking Arsenal were going to crumble and throw away yet another 2 goal lead, but they stuck to their task well and Theo Walcott put a gloss on the proceedings with his 4th
North London Derby goal as he made it 5-2 in stoppage time to match the score from last season.
Tottenham took the lead early on in the 10th
minute after Jan Vertonghen’s clipped pass found Mertesacker out of position. Jermain Defoe ran onto the ball and despite his shot being parried by Wojciech Szczesny, Adebayor followed up to give Tottenham the perfect start to the match.
Aaron Lennon nearly doubled Tottenham’s advantage after he picked up Bale’s pass and his low shot only just evaded the Arsenal goal.
Tottenham had undoubtedly started the better side but that was all about to change in an instant in the 18th
minute. Adebayor, never one to shy away from the limelight, made a crude challenge on Cazorla’s ankle to earn him the 4th
red card of his career and the 3rd
given to him by referee Howard Webb.
After the sending off the attacking impetus was all with Arsenal and they got their reward in the 24th
minute after good work from Bacary Sagna and Theo Walcott resulted in the latter crossing to find Mertesacker in the box who produced a terrific header to beat Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal. It was Mertesackers first goal in the North London Derby and he wasn’t to be the only one to break his duck in this particular fixture.
Arsenal nearly made it two, 5 minutes before the break when Sagna crossed for Giroud but the Frenchman could only find his compatriot Lloris’s gloves.
Just 2 minutes after that chance though and The Gunners were celebrating. Arteta and Wilshere attempted to play a one-two on the edge of the area but Wilshere’s return pass was nudged into Podolski’s path by a Tottenham defender. The German international turned and shot and his effort spun off of former Arsenal Captain William Gallas to give Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal made it 3 right on the cusp of half time. Tottenham partially cleared a free kick but only as far as Cazorla who despite being fouled by Sandro got up and pressed on into the Tottenham box and his low cross was perfect as he set up Giroud for his 7th
goal in his last 9 games in all competitions.
After the break Andre Villas Boas tried to shake things up for the away side by bringing off their full backs and moving to three at the back. It didn’t seem to work however as Cazorla made it four on the hour mark. Giroud won a flick on from Szczesny’s goal kick then Walcott played a pass in for Podolski. His low cross was perfect and he put it on a plate for Cazorla to become the third and final Arsenal summer signing to score in their first North London Derby.
11 minutes later Tottenham had a consolation goal. Gareth Bale ran at the Arsenal defence and after no challenge came he unleashed a strong drive into the bottom corner on what is supposedly his weaker foot.
So many times in the past Arsenal have crumbled after conceding a goal like that and there were glimpses that it could happen again. Bale was sent free down Arsenal’s right hand side but he elected to shoot when Defoe was in a much better position than the Welshman.
Despite something of a mini-revival from Tottenham Arsenal secured their victory in stoppage time. A poor pass from Vertonghen was intercepted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who then sprinted in between two defenders before crossing for his England teammate Walcott to make the score line mirror last season’s North London Derby at The Emirates.
It’s a morale boosting win for The Gunners which lifts them up to 6th
in the table, 4 points behind West Bromwich Albion in 4th
. Tottenham meanwhile drop down into 8th
, 2 points behind The Gunners.
Photo by Arsenalpics.com