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Spurs 2-1 Arsenal - Report From The..
SPURS 2-1 ARSENAL - REPORT FROM THE LANE...
Posted 03 March 2013 9:19pm
Two goals in two first half minutes paved the way for a magnificent derby day victory over Arsenal as we climbed back into third place in the Premier League and opened up a seven-point advantage over our North London rivals.
Gareth Bale struck his 20th goal of the season in our colours and Aaron Lennon added a quick-fire second as we hit Arsenal with a double almost against the run of play in the first half, while the visitors' 51st minute header from Per Mertesacker proved nothing more than a consolation.
While it was never a classic derby by recent standards, it's just the result we were looking for to maintain our great form…12 Premier League matches unbeaten and just one defeat in 16, while the victory was our third 2-1 win over Arsenal in the last five meetings here, with the other two games ending in draws. It also means we are just two points behind second-placed Manchester City in the table, with the Sky Blues playing Aston Villa tomorrow night.
Andre Villas-Boas made two changes to the side which won at West Ham on Monday, with Gyfli Sigurdsson and Benoit Assou-Ekotto coming in to replace Lewis Holtby and Steven Caulker, with Bale once again enjoying an advanced central role with Emmanuel Adebayor.
By North London derby standards it was a fairly quiet opening to the game with the visitors enjoying the better of the early exchanges. It was seven minutes in before either goalkeeper was called into action, Hugo Lloris comfortably saving Olivier Giroud's header from Jack Wilshere's corner and Giroud was again thwarted three minutes later. This time, Santi Cazorla's pass over the top found the French striker in on goal but as he pulled the trigger, Jan Vertonghen's lunging block saved the day.
Arsenal dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes and were making the most of their extra man in midfield, however slowly but surely we got a foothold in the game. On 21 minutes, Sigurdsson clipped a ball into Bale who would have been through but just couldn't take control of the pass, while Assou-Ekotto unleashed one of his famous rockets from 30-yards out from a half-cleared Bale corner, only for Mertesacker to block.
And then came the goals…two in 126 seconds to be precise! And they were carbon copies of each other. The opener on 37 minutes was scored by Bale, who this time did collect Sigurdsson's through ball and beat Szczesny with a cool finish before Scott Parker and Aaron Lennon combined in identical fashion, Lennon latching on to Parker's delightful ball to round the Arsenal keeper for 2-0 and send the majority of the Lane into delirium as we headed into the break two goals to the good.
But that advantage was halved with the first chance of the second period on 51 minutes. Parker fouled Ramsey wide on the left near the touchline, Theo Walcott clipped in the resulting free-kick and as Mertesacker and Bale rose for the ball, it flicked off into the net past Lloris. And Nacho Monreal then lashed a left-foot shot just wide as Arsenal began the second half on the front foot.
It was so nearly 3-1 on the hour mark after a wonderful move from back to front. We played the ball out of defence to Mousa Dembele breaking through the middle, he laid it out wide to Assou-Ekotto who fizzed a low cross to the far post which Bale, on his trusted left foot, put over the bar.
Jermain Defoe entered the fray on 67 minutes, replacing the injured Adebayor for his first appearance since picking up an injury at West Brom on February 3 and he was immediately in the action as we again missed a golden opportunity. Collecting Bale's fantastic pass down the right flank, he cut inside to Sigurdsson who was in on goal but as he squared it for Bale, he didn't quite get enough purchase on his pass and Thomas Vermaelen was able to clear as Bale waited to tap home at the far post. And when the ball fell to the Welshman again on 74 minutes on the edge of the area, he could only volley straight at Szczesny.
Arsenal had a great chance to level on 80 minutes when substitute Tomas Rosicky found Ramsey coming in from the right in plenty of space but his shot was deflected wide by a marvellous last-ditch block from Assou-Ekotto. Walcott then tried his luck with a 25-yard free-kick which drifted just wide.
Six minutes of stoppage time were added on by referee Mark Clattenburg and Michael Dawson threw himself in the way of Lucas Podolski's effort in the 94th minute, but to be fair we weren't exactly hanging on in the end and while there was tension in the air, that turned to sheer delight when the final whistle blew.
Spurs (4-4-2): Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Gallas 90+7), Parker, Dembele (Livermore 88), Sigurdsson; Bale, Adebayor (Defoe 67). Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Naughton, Holtby, Carroll.
Arsenal (4-5-1): Szczesny, Jenkinson (Rosicky 60), Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal; Walcott, Arteta (Podolski 77), Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey; Giroud. Substitutes (not used): Mannone, Koscielny, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho.
Goals: Spurs - Bale 37, Lennon 39; Arsenal - Mertesacker 51.
Yellows: Spurs - Adebayor 19, Vertonghen 29, Walker 90+6; Arsenal - Ramsey 30.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.