Five-star Gunners win thriller
By Peter O Rourke. Last Updated: 13/11/04 1:50pm
Arsenal got back to winning ways in The Premiership with an amazing 5-4 victory over Tottenham in a pulsating North London derby at White Hart Lane.
Both side's defences had games to forget as The Gunners held off a brave challenge from Tottenham to earn the bragging rights in North London.
Spurs started brightly getting in among the Arsenal players to deny them any time on the ball.
Pedro Mendes had the first noteworthy chance of the game on five minutes when he volleyed Jermain Defoe's cross straight at Jens Lehmann.
The home side continued to call the tune and Defoe almost created a chance for strike partner Robbie Keane on 18 minutes when he broke down the right past Pascal Cygan and crossed for Keane in the box only for Lehmann to divert the ball away from the Irishman.
Arsenal were slow to get into their stride and it was not until the 31st minute that they had their first sight of goal when Dennis Bergkamp sliced his shot horribly wide from the edge of the box.
Tottenham broke the deadlock on 37 minutes with Noureddine Naybet grabbing his first goal for the club.
Michael Carrick's free kick found its way to the unmarked Naybet at the back post and the defender took the ball on his chest before volleying home past Lehmann.
Lehmann denied Spurs a second goal a minute later when Vieira deflected Reto Ziegler's free kick.
Cygan had a half chance on 41 minutes when he rose highest to meet Bergkamp's free kick, but he could not direct his header on target.
Arsenal caught Spurs with a sucker punch right on the stroke of half time with Henry beating the offside trap to run onto Lauren's clever pass before slotting his shot coolly past Paul Robinson to give Arsenal a crucial equaliser.
The visitors came out for the second half in determined fashion and Jose Antonio Reyes missed a glorious chance to give them the lead three minutes into the second half when King failed to clear Freddie Ljungberg's cross presenting the ball to the Spaniard right in front of goal, but he could only shoot straight at Robinson after getting the ball stuck under his feet.
Cygan had another chance to score on 52 minutes when he got on the end of Reyes's corner, but he could only volley his shot over the crossbar.
Arsenal did grab the lead three minutes later with Lauren scoring from the penalty spot after Ljungberg had been felled in the box by Noe Pamarot.
Spurs had been the makers of their own downfall with the ball being knocked out of Robinson's hands by King as he prepared to clear upfield in the build-up to the penalty award.
The home side gifted Arsenal a third goal when Naybet lost the ball to Patrick Vieira allowing The Gunners skipper to race clear and lift the ball over Robinson for his first goal of the season.
Tottenham refused to give in and reduced the arrears a minute later with Defoe picking up the ball up from Erik Edman and as the Arsenal defence stood off him he ran unchallenged to the edge of the box before producing a stunning shot into the top corner to give the home fans some hope.
Arsenal restored their two-goal cushion on 69 minutes with Cesc Fabregas sending Ljungberg clear on goal with a brilliant reverse pass on the edge of the box and the Swede slotted the ball under Robinson to give Arsenal some breathing space.
Tottenham dragged themselves back into the contest five minutes later with King beating three Arsenal challengers to Carrick's free kick to power a header past Lehmann.
Arsenal netted a fifth nine minutes from time with substitute Robert Pires grabbing the fifth to continue his remarkable record of scoring against the men from White Hart Lane.
Henry won a tackle with Edman and fed his French compatriot who brilliantly beat Pamarot with his quick feet before sliding the ball under Robinson from an acute angle to restore the two-goal cushion again.
Again Tottenham refused to throw in the towel and substitute Fredi Kanoute pulled a fourth goal back two minutes from time with a controlled volleyed finish from Edman's cross after Henry had carelessly gave the ball away to the Swedish defender in midfield.
Spurs threw everything into attack in the dying moments in a bid to get an unlikely equaliser with substitute Simon Davies firing their last chance wide from the edge of the box.
Click here for Tottenham v Arsenal player ratings
|Team Name||Tottenham Hotspur||Arsenal|
|Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||6||7|
|Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||3||4|
|Total Fouls Conceded||20||11|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||35||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|