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Unforgettable night!

Posted on 14 April 2010  - 12:00

What a game, what a goal, what a result, what a night! It's impossible to put into words the significance of this win.

Unforgettable night!

What a game, what a goal, what a result, what a night! It's impossible to put into words the significance of this win.

Just days after the disappointment of an unexpected FA Cup semi-final defeat came the result of the season so far bar none.

Our first league victory over our arch rivals since November 1999. One that keeps our quest for a top four finish well and truly on track - not to mention one that puts a severe dent in Arsenal title hopes.

And what a way to do it! Summed up by without doubt THE goal of the season so far from 19-year-old Danny Rose on his debut at this level.

Gareth Bale, deserved reward for his recent form, made it 2-0 just after half-time, and after Nicklas Bendtner's late strike made it an unbearably tense finish, victory was ours!

How manager Harry Redknapp managed to pick up the pieces from the gloom of Sunday afternoon is a question that will go down in folklore, but young Danny was one of five inspired changes he made from the Wembley defeat.

Back came the mercurial Ledley King to skipper the side for the first time since he limped off the field at Wigan on February 21.

Younes Kaboul came in at right-back for the injured Vedran Corluka, Roman Pavlyuchenko started in place of Peter Crouch, and Benoit Assou-Ekotto replaced the stricken Niko Kranjcar with Bale moving forward to the left wing.

There was an early scare when Sol Campbell got his body on the end of a Samir Nasri corner and the ball was heading for the bottom corner of Heurelho Gomes net, needing Assou-Ekotto to block on the line.

The fact that our first meaningful attack ultimately resulted in a goal - and what a goal - would have therefore done wonders for our confidence (understatement of the season!).

Kaboul broke forward from right-back on the overlap just before the 10 minute mark and put in a low ball to near post with Pavlyuchenko waiting to finish.

A good block by Thomas Vermaelen denied the Russian but not the corner kick.

It was swung in by Bale, punched clear seemingly to safety by Manuel Almunia and, in a flash, it was in the back of the net.

An undoubtedly nervous Rose had hardly touch the ball when he found it dropping to him out of the floodlights and the clear North London night sky.

Yes, nerves would have been jangling, but only an individual with the most unwavering confidence would have had the audacity to attempt a volley on his debut in that situation.

And only a player of the most outstanding ability would have been able to catch the ball so cleanly that it fizzed at such pace past an aghast defence and unmoved goalkeeper that it nearly took the net off on impact.

And the roof of the stadium nearly came off when those inside it realised what they had just witnessed - a moment both fans and certainly young Danny will savour for many a year.

However, after that, it was all about digging in until half-time with Arsenal intent on getting back on level terms and enjoying the lion's share of possession.

But this we need extremely well with the reassuring presence of captain King leading the line under at times intense pressure.

And so the plethora of visiting attacking threat hardly breached our back-line, with Nicklas Bendtner skimming a low shot wide and Gael Clichy crashing a shot into the side-netting in the only first half forays of note from the Gunners.

We may have even doubled our lead five minutes from the break when Luka Modric ran onto Pavlyuchenko's in-field ball on a rare counter-attack and skipped through a couple of challenges before Almunia saved well at his feet.

But overall, we would have been pleased to get into half-time with our lead still in tact and with a battle of biblical proportions expected for the second half.

Well, let's just say this was made somewhat easier when, out of nowhere, we found ourselves with a two-goal cushion just two minutes in!

Having successfully defended another Arsenal attack, Tom Huddlestone played one of his sublime cross-field balls out to Jermain Defoe who got it under control before playing a ball surely no-one else in the stadium saw.

A ball in behind a seemingly prepared defence to find Bale of all people, who had popped up in the middle of goal with a chance to slide home and score the most important goal of his young career to date.

That he did - his first since September 2007 and only the fourth of his Spurs career - and he could hardly believe it himself!

So it was then that the hard work, grit, and dogged defending began as we set out our stool with two banks of four committed in every challenge and determined until the final whistle.

The last thing we wanted to see were the likes of Theo Walcott and the fit again Robin Van Persie emerge from the bench.

Our outfield players had been doing all the defending until the final 10 minutes when it was goalkeeper Gomes' time to shine.

The Brazilian, who had had hardly a save to make until this point, pulled off a string of absolute wonder-saves to keep Arsenal at bay.

Twice from Van Persie - one a volley on the turn from 10 yards, the other an extremely well hit free-kick from 20 - and once from a Campbell header kept our cherished two-goal cushion in tact until four minutes from time.

There was little he could do when Walcott finally breached our back line and played a ball across the face of goal that Bendtner tapped home.

Few nails would have been left on the fingers of Spurs fans - even before the fourth official held aloft notification of a further four minutes of added time and agony as we reached 90 minutes.

Visions of a chance substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen miskicked 12 yards out some 20 minutes earlier would have come flooding back.

But he can sleep easy tonight. We all can! Never before has a final whistle been greeted with such ecstasy, and with every good reason.

We'll enjoy this...even though we've got to do it all again against Chelsea on Saturday!

But this already unforgettable season just keeps becoming more memorable by the game - what will happen next!?


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Rose (Bentley, 46), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Defoe (Gudjohnsen, 68), Pavlyuchenko (Crouch, 88)
Subs not used: Alnwick, Bassong, K Walker, Livermore

Arsenal (4-3-3): Almunia; Sagna (Walcott, 53), Campbell, Vermaelen (Silvestre, 20), Clichy; Denilson (Van Persie, 68), Nasri, Diaby; Eboue, Rosicky, Bendtner
Subs not used: Fabianski, Eastmond, Merida, Eduardo