Arsenal heap misery on 10-man Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal scored a comprehensive victory over cross-town rivals Tottenham, as an early sending off for Adebayor swung the advantage completely in favour of the home team, who were impressive going forward. With 5 goals scored, and many more narrowly missed, Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, who was watching from the stands would have been left wishing he were on the pitch, and left proud of the performance his former club put forth. With a promotion, although temporary, to the 6th spot in the table, and a shot in the arm for team morale, the Gunners can afford to celebrate tonight.
It was a pulsating start to the match, with both sides beginning well, although Tottenham definitely appeared the more dangerous, with Sandro breaking down most of the home side’s attacks. Former Arsenal man, William Gallas nearly gave the visitors an early lead, but was deemed offside only for another ex-Gunner, Adebayor, to succeed in doing so. A great ball from Jan Vertonghen saw Mertesacker caught out, as Defoe made an excellent run to control the ball and get his shot on target. Szczesny pulled off a decent save that only deflected to the advancing Adebayor, whom Koscielny had left in an attempt to try and catch Defoe, and the Togolese international made no mistake slotting the ball home. 1 – 0 to the visitors in the 10th minute.
There is never a dull moment in North London derbies, and Aaron Lennon nearly added a second for the Spurs, shooting inches wide, before the stadium absolutely burst into life. Their detractor, pantomime villain, Adebayor had just been sent off by Howard Webb for a studs-up tackle on Santi Cazorla. The fact that he had both feet off the ground at the moment of impact did nothing to help his case, and AVB’s men were down to ten, just 17 minutes into the game.
Arsenal’s fortunes were already on the rise, with a couple of promising attacks, and the sending off left them desperately short of a man on the pitch. It didn’t take long for Arsenal to sneak the ball past French keeper, Lloris, as a nice break down the right wing from Walcott saw him float the ball into the middle of the box, where it was headed home comfortably by Mertesacker. 1 – 1 then, in the 24th minute. It was all Arsenal for the next period of the game, with Lloris having to pull off a great save from compatriot Giroud’s header, before watching a Cazorla attempt sail just over his cross bar. Giroud was at it again, sending a header towards goal from merely yards out, which was straight at Lloris, much to the ‘keeper’s gratitude. Almost inevitably, Arsenal did take the lead in the 42nd minute, through another German, Lukas Podolski. Lloris was left feeling considerably unlucky, though, as a shot from Podolski deflected off Huddlestone, and rolled into the bottom left corner. 2 – 1 to Arsenal, and a standing ovation from Thierry Henry.
There was nothing lucky about Arsenal’s third though, as Cazorla put in a brilliant run, in spite of being fouled, and slid a ball into the box, which Giroud finished well in a crowded box, sparking early celebrations from the home fans. It was a grim looking Andre Villas Boas that went into the tunnel at half time, facing the difficult task of asking his ten-man team to overturn a two goal deficit at the Emirates. And as Tottenham emerged from the half time break, AVB’s handiwork was for all to see as Spurs switched to a 3-5-1 formation, replacing both their full backs with central defender Dawson, and midfielder Clint Dempsey.
It was a move that paid off well for Tottenham, as they began the second half much brighter than they had ended the first, earning a couple of corners that were, however, wasted. The numerical advantage was too much for the visitors though, and the three-man defence was caught out in the 60th minute, with Cazzorla being the scorer of Arsenal’s fourth. A neat through ball from Walcott put Podolski in behind the opposition defence, and he squared it to Cazorla who beat Lloris with ease. All hopes of a Tottenham comeback had been extinguished, and the only question that remained was the final margin of victory.
Gareth Bale, who had at times been Tottenham’s lone ranger, capped his performance with a well taken solo goal that beat Szczesny all ends up, although his defenders could have done more to stop the Welshman. The rest of the match saw Arsenal play keep-ball, tiring out the Tottenham players, before Oxlade Chamberlain got the better of a tiring defence to square the ball to Walcott, who managed to get the ball past the outstretched Lloris. 5 – 2 then, the final scoreline, the same as in this fixture last year.