Gunners take derby spoils
Arsenal have bragging rights in North London
By James Riach. Last Updated: 02/11/09 10:54am
Van Persie: Scored twice
Arsenal secured an emphatic 3-0 win over North London rivals Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium.
Spurs will be disappointed after a frantic last few minutes at the end of the first half all but ended their hopes of a derby win, with Arsenal scoring twice in quick succession.
Bacary Sagna was allowed plenty of time to cross from the right touchline on 42 minutes as Robin van Persie got across the front of Ledley King to poke the ball past Heurelho Gomes.
Just 11 seconds after the restart, Cesc Fabregas doubled the lead after pick pocketing Wilson Palacios and then surging past King to slide the pall past a helpless Gomes.
The win was ensured on the hour mark when Van Persie grabbed his second of the game after Spurs failed to play to the whistle - referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on when Eduardo went down and Sagna crossed for the Dutchman who tapped into an empty net.
Unfortunately for Harry Redknapp, three of his most attacking talents were unavailable as Luka Modric and Aaron Lennon were injured and Jermain Defoe suspended - so the Spurs boss chose to match Arsenal's formation and play Peter Crouch up front on his own and Robbie Keane on the left.
The plan worked well initially, with the home fans starting to get restless in frustration until the two goals in as many minutes just before the interval.
Spurs did not create much themselves but limited their rivals to half-chances, aside from when King's tackle on Andrey Arshavin fell for Fabregas with most of the goal to aim for. Even then Gomes threw himself to his left to save the effort and grab the rebound from Nicklas Bendtner's toes.
Keane's pre-match comments suggested Spurs' squad was as good as Arsenal's, although their gameplan relied on stifling Wenger's side through hard work and punting the ball forward to Crouch.
Former Arsenal winger David Bentley, predictably jeered throughout, typified the work ethic. He snapped at heels on the right flank and was fortunate not to receive a booking when he cynically tripped Thomas Vermaelen, with referee Clattenburg happy to keep his cards in his pocket during a feisty opening.
Clattenburg was referee during Arsenal's last defeat, seven weeks ago at
Manchester City when Emmanuel Adebayor kicked Van Persie. Despite dropping points since, Arsenal have shown massive improvement since that match and eventually they came good against Spurs.
The match totally turned just before the break, with Van Persie firstly giving Spurs a warning after Benoit Assou-Ekotto's error. The Cameroon full-back gifted possession to Fabregas on the edge of the area, with the Arsenal skipper weighting a pass through to Van Persie, who had Gomes to beat but scuffed his finish wide.
Arshavin then had an effort deflected over by Vedran Corluka after cutting in from the right - but the hosts were not made to wait long for the opener.
Sagna's cross from the right, after being allowed time to steady himself, was met by Van Persie and crept in at Gomes' near post after the Dutchman got across King.
The second came 11 seconds after Spurs kicked off. Wilson Palacios tripped over himself and Fabregas took charge, bursting through challenges from the Honduras international and Tom Huddlestone. The Arsenal skipper then skipped around King and planted his finish coolly past Gomes.
It emerged during the interval that the Spurs bench complained to stewards about the behaviour of Arsenal fans near the dug-out.
In the second half Arsenal looked to extend their lead. Eduardo, a replacement after Bendtner picked up an apparent groin injury, was sent through by Fabregas and Gomes stood up well to save.
Sebastien Bassong cleared off the line from Abou Diaby, then the third came after an intelligent advantage played by Clattenburg.
Eduardo had been floored by Assou-Ekotto, the assistant referee flagged for a foul but Clattenburg allowed Sagna to continue after most had stopped. Sagna's cross went through the barrier formed by Gomes and King, with Van Persie tapping in.
All Spurs had to show for their efforts was a Bentley free-kick which was saved, while Crouch was booked for throwing the ball away in frustration.
Eduardo should have added another when he broke the offside trap but his finish went just wide. Bassong picked up a hamstring injury in stoppage-time as Arsenal counter-attacked.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
Sat 31st Oct
Arsenal3 - 0Tottenham
Portsmouth4 - 0Wigan
Bolton0 - 4Chelsea
Sunderland2 - 2West Ham
Fulham3 - 1Liverpool
Everton1 - 1A Villa
Stoke2 - 2Wolves
Burnley2 - 0Hull City
Man Utd2 - 0Blackburn
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Ham United||5||7|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||5||5|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||5||4|