Arsenal 5 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur: Match Report

Clive Rose

Arsenal got off to a poor start, but after Emmanuel Adebayor saw red, they took control and put Tottenham away.

0 - 1 Emmanuel Adebayor 10'
Red Card Emmanuel Adebayor 17'
1 - 1 Per Mertesacker 24'
2 - 1 Lukas Podolski 42'
3 - 1 Olivier Giroud 45'
4 - 1 Santi Cazorla 60'
4 - 2 Gareth Bale 71'
5 - 2 Theo Walcott 91'

Arsenal started off incredibly badly today, Spurs going ahead after ten minutes, but a moment of madness from Emmanuel Adebayor saw him sent off, and from then on, Arsenal took control--in a sloppy Arsenal kind of way--and put Spurs under their thumbs. There are still problems to be ironed out, but if you're worried after a 5-2 win over Spurs, you need to have a snack.

Here's how all the action went down.

Sandro made a couple of hard challenges early, the late one on Jack Wilshere earning a whistle from Howard Webb. Both sides were feeling each other out until Thomas Vermaelen conceded a free kick from the right. Laurent Koscielny headed it away, but only to Tom Huddlestone, whose shot was blocked. William Gallas banged home the rebound, but he was offside.

Two minutes later, though, Spurs wouldn't be offside. Jermain Defoe spun off of Per Mertesacker and was found, clean through. His shot was saved by Wojciech Szczesny, but ball lingered tantalizingly out of his reach, and Emmanuel Adebayor was on hand to poke it home.

0 - 1. Spurs. 10 minutes.

Tottenham were really heating up, and three minutes later, they nearly cut Arsenal open again, Aaron Lennon shooting just wide. Arsenal's lack of pressing was leaving them exposed, especially their high line, and it was becoming a pattern.

Arsenal were finding their way back into the game, though, Jack Wilshere nearly getting Theo in free. Seventeen minutes in, Emmanuel Adebayor, the scorer, went bonkers. He came in really late, really high, and studs up on Santi Cazorla, and Howard Webb, after calming everyone down, sent him straight off. Tottenham were down to ten men. Could Arsenal take advantage?

Arsenal were putting pressure on, winning a corner, and keeping Spurs pinned in their own end. Theo Walcott was trying to find his way around Kyle Naughton, and finally he did, and swung in a cross to Per Mertesacker, and wouldn't you know it? I mean, stranger things have happened, but wouldn't you know it, the big German powered home a header from 12 yards.

Per Mertesacker! I know!

1 - 1! 24 minutes in!

31 minutes in, Theo swung in another cross, and Olivier Giroud's header was saved well by Hugo Lloris. A minute later, Cazorla piled one over the bar from 20 yards. Gareth Bale made a wild, mazy run across the earth to win a corner for Spurs on 35 minutes, but it came to nothing. Arsenal were pushing hard, and 40 minutes in, Giroud hit a point-blank header right at Lloris.

But two minutes later, Arsenal were still pushing hard, and Huddlestone made a mistake, ceded possession, and Podolski was turning. Mikel Arteta almost got in the way, but Podolski's shot got a bit of a deflection, trickled past Lloris, and in at the far post.

2 - 1, Arsenal, 42 minutes. Thierry Henry approved.

Arsenal weren't done for the half. Santi Cazorla came flying up through the middle, rode a challenge, picked himself up rather than staying down, powered around the right back, fired a low cross into the area, and guess who.

Olivier! That's who.

3 - 1, a low shot turned in at the near post past Lloris. 45'. Spurs were melting.

Halftime arrived.

Spurs would make some changes; Clint Dempsey came on for Kyle Naughton and Michael Dawson came on for...Kyle Walker. Tottenham were playing 3-4-1-1. And they made a pretty good start of it, Jermain Defoe having a shot blocked, and then Mertesacker putting the ball out for a corner.

Arsenal, in theory, would have lots of space to work up the flanks--would they take it? Spurs won a couple of corners, and 51 minutes in, Arsenal still hadn't done much with the space on the flanks. Theo went down under a good challenge from Dawson, landing awkwardly on his shoulder, but he was able to carry on after a couple of minutes.

Arsenal started to find their way in, although they weren't pressing very well or pushing up. 57 minutes in, they won a corner, but Spurs were able to escape.

And it came 60 minutes in. Theo chested down in the middle, played Podolski through on the left, and it was simple for the German to slide it across to the arriving Cazorla on the right, who poked it home.

4 - 1. 60 minutes.

Arsenal nearly had a fifth a minute later, but Wilshere and Podolski couldn't coordinate their efforts. Then Giroud shot over from 25. Spurs won a corner on 66 minutes, but it came to nothing, and Sandro finally earned his yellow card.

Theo should've shot on 67 minutes, didn't. Earned a corner. Still: SIGN DA TING

Tom Carroll was ready to come on for Spurs. Aaron Ramsey came on for Jack Wilshere.

Spurs weren't finished; Arsenal gave Gareth Bale way too much space, didn't close him down, and he took advantage, shooting low and beat Szczesny at the far post from 18.

4 - 2. 71 minutes.

And they wanted more; Gareth Bale found himself open down the left and fired a shot towards the far post that went wide and that Defoe couldn't reach. It was too easy for them to open up Arsenal, though, given the man disadvantage. Arsenal would need to tighten up. Ramsey played Theo through up the right on 76 minutes, but Walcott's first touch was really bad, and Lloris collected. Spurs had a corner a minute later, and Defoe whiffed.

The game was getting silly. Arsenal had a good counter opportunity on 79 minutes, but Ramsey made the wrong choice, crossing early, Lloris claiming. Andre Santos came on for Lukas Podolski.

Arsenal settled down a bit, and the clock ticked on. Vermaelen nearly scored, but a tiny Aaron Lennon touch put him off just enough. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on for Giroud, who was well-applauded off the pitch.

Arsenal were trying to see the game out, but were getting a little sloppy. Still, 91 minutes in, Spurs gave the ball away, intercepted by Ox, and he bore down on goal, squaring for Theo at the last second, and Walcott made no mistake.

5 - 2. 91 minutes.

It would be enough. Howard Webb blew the match dead, and for the second time in nine months, the North London Derby ended 5-2 in Arsenal's favor. Break out the coffee.


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