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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 60,106) 26th February 2012 - Kick off 13:30 Ref: M Dean

Arsenal Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham

Arsenal 5

B Sagna (40)
R van Persie (43)
T Rosicky (51)
T Walcott (65, 68)

ft

Tottenham 2

L Saha (4)
E Adebayor (pen 34)
S Parker (S/O 87)

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Glorious Gunners win classic

Arsenal hit back to prevail 5-2 in North London derby

Last Updated: 26/02/12 4:06pm

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Arsenal and Tottenham served up a capital classic at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal and Tottenham served up a capital classic at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal produced a superb fightback to come from 2-0 down and hammer Tottenham 5-2 at Emirates Stadium in a pulsating North London derby.

Man of the match: Robin van Persie. There were a number of star performers but Van Persie gets the nod as he was a constant threat and scored the crucial equaliser. Goal of the match: Van Persie's strike to make it 2-2 was exceptional, as he twisted away from Niko Kranjcar and Scott Parker to get the ball on his left foot and then curled a stunning finish into the top corner. Moment of the match: Spurs changed things at half-time but it made no difference and, after Tomas Rosicky scored to put Arsenal 3-2 ahead, there was no way back. Save of the match: Brad Friedel pulled off a couple of superb stops, including a fantastic instinctive save from Rosicky's header in the first half. Talking point: When referee Mike Dean ruled that Wojciech Szczesny had fouled Gareth Bale, should he have given a red card as well as a penalty?

Defensive deficiencies were exposed on both sides but it was the Gunners who repeatedly carved open their opponents to lift the gloom after recent disappointments and climb back to fourth place in the Premier League standings.

It looked like the day would belong to Spurs when Louis Saha's deflected effort after just four minutes put them in front.

Emmanuel Adebayor then scored from the penalty spot against his old club after the referee ruled that Gareth Bale had been brought down by Wojciech Szczesny.

However, Arsenal responded in inspired fashion, with Bacary Sagna powering home a header to reduce their arrears and Robin van Persie curling in a sumptuous equaliser before half-time.

Harry Redknapp made a couple of changes at the interval in an attempt to shore up his midfield, but the remarkably open pattern of play continued and it was not long until Tomas Rosicky fired Arsenal ahead from close range.

Theo Walcott added a fourth following a fabulous break in the 65th minute, and another fine finish from the winger three minutes later sent the crowd wild with excitement.

Spurs never threatened a late rally and their misery was complete when Scott Parker was sent off for a second bookable offence, ruling him out of the clash with Manchester United.

Shambolic

It looked like being so different after four minutes when Arsenal's shambolic defending from Milan resurfaced.

Former Gunners striker Adebayor, celebrating his 28th birthday, played the ball into a gaping hole for Saha to run into, with Thomas Vermaelen's lame block only succeeding in deflecting the Frenchman's shot over the stranded Szczensy.

The home side fought back, Kieran Gibbs seeing a dubious penalty appeal rejected and Parker getting away with an accidental handball.

It was breathless stuff and Szczensy beat away another Spurs effort before Van Persie wasted a glorious chance to level when he drilled wide after his initial shot was blocked.

He went even closer six minutes later with a drive that deflected into the sidenetting, his resulting corner seeing Brad Friedel acrobatically tip over Rosicky's header.

Arsenal were beginning to dominate but more risible defending almost saw Spurs double their lead on the break, Szczensy denying Adebayor and Kyle Walker sending the 25-yard rebound just over the crossbar.

Parker, who was everywhere, was booked after clattering into Van Persie moments after being denied a free-kick of his own, with Luka Modric also carded for dissent.

Laurent Koscielny immediately followed for upending Niko Kranjcar, Tottenham immediately surging upfield to win a controversial 32nd minute penalty.

Gareth Bale was under all sorts of pressure from Gibbs but threw himself to the floor under what looked no contact from Szczensy.

Adebayor kept his cool to rub salt into the wound but wisely chose not to celebrate.

It could have been 3-0 before half-time had Bale chosen to pass rather than drill a shot too close to Szczensy and Spurs were made to pay when Arsenal sensationally hit back before half-time.

The first goal came five minutes before the break, Van Persie desperately unlucky to hit the post before Mikel Arteta swept the ball back in and Sagna powered home a header.

Van Persie then sent the Emirates into raptures, pouncing on a loose Benoit Assou-Ekotto clearance, and turning on to his left foot before curling deliciously beyond Friedel.

Tails up

Redknapp responded by throwing on Rafael van der Vaart and Sandro at half-time for Saha and Kranjcar but Arsenal's tails were up and only another fabulous Friedel save from Yossi Benayoun's precise shot prevented them completing the comeback.

Benayoun then caught Walker with a tackle that forced the full-back off and he was barely back on when Rosicky made it 3-2 in the 51st minute, playing a one-two with Sagna before poking in the latter's deflected cross.

Tottenham finally got a foothold but it was Arsenal who were now dangerous on the break, Walcott drilling inches wide, while Sandro was completely off the pace, rightly booked for tripping Van Persie.

As in the first half, the Gunners scored twice in three minutes to kill the game.

It was a brilliant counter-attack that brought the 65th minute fourth goal, Benayoun releasing Van Persie, who held off Ledley King and Younes Kaboul before squaring for the onrushing Walcott to clip the ball over Friedel.

It was Tottenham's defence that was now all over the place and Kaboul played Walcott onside, the winger racing onto Alex Song's pass and finding the bottom corner.

"Harry for England", the Arsenal fans chanted ironically before Rosicky almost made it six after a one-two with Walcott and Parker was shown a second yellow for treading on Vermaelen's toe two minutes from time.

ArsenalTeam StatisticsTottenham Hotspur
5Goals2
21st Half Goals2
8Shots on Target5
8Shots off Target6
7Blocked Shots0
7Corners5
16Fouls12
0Offsides2
3Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards1
83.4Passing Success75.8
27Tackles33
70.4Tackles Success66.7
56.9Possession43.1
59.7Territorial Advantage40.3
489Total Passes368
23Total Crosses15
162Lost Balls167
69Recoveries69
57.21st Half Poss.42.8
56.92nd Half Poss.43.1

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 12 32
2 Southampton 12 26
3 Manchester City 12 24
4 Manchester United 12 19
5 Newcastle United 12 19
6 West Ham United 12 18
7 Swansea City 12 18
8 Arsenal 12 17
9 Everton 12 17
10 Tottenham Hotspur 12 17
11 Stoke City 12 15
12 Liverpool 12 14
13 West Bromwich Albion 12 13
14 Sunderland 12 13
15 Crystal Palace 12 12
16 Aston Villa 12 12
17 Hull City 12 11
18 Leicester City 12 10
19 Burnley 12 10
20 Queens Park Rangers 12 8

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