Kyle Walker picked the perfect time to score his first Spurs goal – a 30-yard screamer that proved the difference in the first north London derby of the season.
The Sheffield-born full-back’s wondergoal saw us regain the lead on 73 minutes after Aaron Ramsey had cancelled out a Rafael van der Vaart opener in an intense encounter.
This was our third win in six Premier League games against Arsenal and a fourth straight league success this season for a side on top form going into an international break.
It was a blistering hot day in N17, continuing the heatwave of the past week, and it only added to the incredible atmosphere before kick off.
Jermain Defoe was rewarded for his goalscoring performance against Shamrock Rovers in the week with starting place in the derby alongside Emmanuel Adebayor.
The striker had missed last week’s win at Wigan through illness but was the only change from that side, replacing Sandro. Luka Modric moved back into central midfield alongside Scott Parker, with Van der Vaart operating from the right flank.
The match started at a frantic pace as you would expect, and only six minutes were on the clock when the first big chance of the match fell to the home side.
Adebayor led the break against his former club, and although Francis Coquelin got back well to make a key interception, the ball was eventually worked back into the box for Parker, who had time to pick his spot but was foiled by Wojciech Szczesny.
But this was a game that neither team was to dominate, and Arsenal were soon threatening, with Theo Walcott having a shot deflected wide and Robin Van Persie and Per Mertesacker coming close to converting the resultant corners during a spell of pressure around the 15 minute mark.
Gareth Bale then burst away down the left but his ball across was a little behind Van der Vaart, who could only scoop over, before Mikel Arteta flashed a free-kick across the face of our goal.
But it was Szczesny who was the busier of the two goalkeepers and he had to come to Arsenal’s rescue again on 28 minutes, this time blocking Van der Vaart at point blank range.
The visitors were getting into similarly good positions at the other end but not testing Brad Friedel. Gervinho and Walcott were the big culprits left to rue their missed chances when we took the lead five minutes before the break.
Defoe ran at the heart of the Arsenal defence and laid wide to Adebayor whose cross was chested down and volleyed home by Van der Vaart.
The Dutchman has certainly earned the title of Arsenal’s biggest nemesis since arriving in England last year – that’s now his fourth goal in three north London derbies.
And as a sidenote, that goal was the Club’s 10,000th in competitive games!
Bale came close to making it two with a long range shot just moments later as we went into the break a goal to the good.
The same man rifled another strike from distance the other side of half-time before a fellow countryman put Arsenal back on level terms.
We had come under a spell of pressure when Alex Song got to the byline and squared for Aaron Ramsey to rifle home into the roof of the net from point blank range on 52 minutes.
All of a sudden, we had our backs to the wall until, out of nowhere, Van der Vaart and Bale combined to set Adebayor free, although Szczesny was once again equal to the finish with his best save of the match just before the hour mark.
Sandro came on to replace Van der Vaart and sure up our midfield, and we were quickly back in our stride again.
It was the Brazilian who sparked the game’s key moment on 73 minutes. He burst into the box and squared for Modric, who had a shot blocked by Song.
The ball bounced out to young Kyle Walker 30 yards out, and there was only one thought on the full-back’s mind.
It says a lot about his mentality that he opted for a shot that flew past Szczesny almost Danny Rose-style to send the home crowd into familiar raptures and his side back in front.
At the age of just 20, and in the early stages of his first proper season in the first team here, that is a moment that could define the career of the Yorkshireman.
And it gave us the lift needed to go and dominate the remainder of the game. Bale was only inches away from making it three just moments later, while Defoe had a shot saved by Szczesny and put a cheeky chip close in the final stages.
We came under a little more pressure in the five minutes of added time that were shown but held on for another famous derby victory.
It’s a trip to in-form Newcastle when the Premier League returns two weeks from now after the international break.
Spurs (4-4-2): Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto; Van der Vaart (Sandro, 64), Parker (Corluka, 90), Modric, Bale; Adebayor (Livermore, 85), Defoe
Subs not used: Cudicini, Bassong, Giovani, Pavlyuchenko
Goals: Van der Vaart (40), Walker (73)
Arsenal (4-3-3) Szczesny; Sagna (Jenkinson, 68), Mertesacker, Song, Gibbs; Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey; Walcott (Benayoun, 72), Van Persie, Gervinho (Arshavin, 77)
Subs not used: Fabianski, Santos, Frimpong, Park
Goals: Ramsey (52)
Referee: Mike Dean
Att: 36, 274