The battle for supremacy in North-London took a roller-coaster ride as Arsenal produced a stirring come from behind victory to triumph 5-2 after going 0-2 down after the first half-hour. Goals to Bacary Sagna, Robin van Persie, Tomas Rosicky and a superb brace to Theo Walcott sealed all three points as the gunners retained fourth spot and finally secured bragging rights in North-London after the last four matches against their North London rivals had ended in three defeats and one draw.
While defence did look shaky in the opening minutes, it is relieving to see Arsene have the option to finally select a first-choice back-line. After the gunners settled, defence was solid and too finally see our natural full-backs overlap and attack down the flanks was a welcome sight and paid dividends through the ever reliable Bacary Sagna who nabbed an assist and also a goal of his own. Hopefully the injury to Vermaelen isn’t too serious as we go into the run-in towards the end of the season.
In terms of midfield special plaudits must go to Tomas Rosicky, who has surely secured a regular first-team spot ahead of Welshman Aaron Ramsey. His surging runs up-field and creativity are evident with the Czech contributing immensely to most of Arsenal’s free-flowing attacks. Was directly involved in the build-up of two of Arsenal’s goals and should be looking forward to much more game-time for the gunners in the coming weeks. His goal to put the gunners in the lead was probably the most deserved of the bunch.
Looking at attack special mention must go to both Robin van Persie and particularly Theo Walcott. We know what the Dutchman is capable of and his assist for Walcott’s first and his own spectacular solo effort was another chapter to his incredible form this season, but for Walcott to come back from being completely anonymous and poor in the first-half and score a spectacular brace was very much inspiring, also considering the amount of flak he has been getting for a string of poor performances in recent weeks.
The win provides a solid platform going into next weeks clash against Liverpool, who are also on a high after securing victory in the Carling Cup final through a penalty shoot-out. The key now is to keep consistent and play with the same sort of passion we did today. Hopefully its onwards and upwards from here!
on the performance…
Arsenal are alive more than anybody thought before the game. Today we gave a performance that on the spirit side, the technical side, the drive of the whole team, on the style of the game we want to play everything was perfect despite a very bad start. I felt in the first five minutes Tottenham started well, after that it was all us for 85 minutes.
We were always on top of the game. We were 2-0 down but refused to lose the game and kept going no matter what happened. Once we were back to 2-2 you could see that if we maintained the pace, we would win the game. We had a good balance between offence and defence, between creativity and going into the space behind the defenders and good maturity.
We had a great spirit. I must say the way we want to play football depends on the pitch and this was the first time in three games that we played on a football pitch that is really a football pitch. That helps as well.
on Theo Walcott’s display…
The crowd was starting to get on his back and you wonder if [it won’t] do him a favour by leaving him on. But I felt that he has the qualities that, considering the rest of the team, are highly needed. He is a player who can be straight and go behind the defenders – nobody else is like that. He is a very direct player, he can sometimes miss a first touch but considering the balance of the team I thought it was important to keep him in the side.
on the defence…
I felt we were a bit nervous at the start and when we slowly became calmer the two centre backs were outstanding. They had an outstanding game today but I felt they started a bit nervy.
For the first goal we were caught on the counter attack and the second was not a penalty. We played against a team with Saha, Adebayor, Gareth Bale, Modric – you cannot dream they do not get any chance at all in the 90 minutes.
on finishing above Tottenham…
It is still possible. I felt even before the game that it was possible if we keep our consistency. Everyone in the Premier League can lose points. They have a difficult schedule, and we have a difficult schedule, but if we continue to play like that, why not?
on Tottenham’s substitutions…
They felt flooded in the middle of the park and couldn’t get to the ball. They tried to stop us from dominating the midfield but it didn’t stop us. I felt we were technically faster and superior in our passing.
on injuries to Rosicky and Vermaelen…
Unfortunately we had some bad news for Rosicky today, and Vermaelen as well. Vermaelen has an ankle problem, and Rosicky a back problem. I don’t think they will be available for Wednesday, whether they are available for Saturday is a big doubt.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Rosicky Benayoun
Van Persie (c)
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.o: Was not too blame for the first two goals as Arsenal’s defence were visibly nervous in the opening exchanges, leaving him exposed. Was rightly left on the pitch as Bale made the most of virtually no contact to gain a penalty, but afterwards had relatively little to do as Arsenal’s defence settled.
Bacary Sagna | 8.0: Great performance from the experienced French full-back as he got Arsenal’s comeback going with a thumping header and also grabbed an assist after a great overlap. Dealt with the threat of Bale very well also. Great to see the natural full-back return to Arsenal’s line-up.
Laurent Koscielny | 7.5: Kept Adebayor under wraps for most of the match and looked very solid denfensively. His positioning was usually spot-on and continues to be Arsenal’s most consistent defender this season.
Thomas Vermalen | 5.5: It looked to be a shaky performance form the Belgian in the opening exchanges as he was often found out of position. Improved in the second-half, but will want to return to his usual solid self in the coming weeks.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.0: Defensively the young Englishman was caught out of position on too many occasions, particularly when the centre of defence was under the pump. On attack looked much more at home and looked comfortable when in possession of the ball.
Alexandre Song | 7.5: The Cameroon midfielder was perhaps to eager to help in attack in the opening exchanges, leaving the back-four exposed on a few occasions. Managed to slip back into his primary role and pressured Tottenham’s play-makers with good effectiveness. His chip over the top for Walcott’s second shows the creative ability of Song on attack. A beautiful assist.
Mikel Arteta | 7.0: His link-up play was great and dictated play in the Arsenal midfield with his wide array of safe distribution. Great awareness to immediately cross the ball back into the box for Sagna’s first after Van Persie struck the post moments before.
Tomas Rosicky | 9.0: The performance from Rosicky was mesmerizing and he deservedly was awarded man of the match. His rare ability to surge up-field with the ball and pick a pass did wonders for Arsenal’s build up play and he deservedly got a goal. Should be Arsenal’s starting attacking midfielder after this performance.
Theo Walcott | 8.0: Was completely down and out in the first half, but came out in the second to thunderous applause as the Englishman secured a brilliant brace that put the tie out of Tottenham’s reach. Now just has to consistently produce good performances.
Robin van Persie | 8.5: An excellent performance from the Dutchman and was unlucky not to score more after hitting the woodwork. Showed his class with a superb 20 yard curling shot that left Friedel for dead and also produced a great assist for Walcott’s first.
Yossi Benayoun | 6.5: Was overshadowed by his Arsenal team-mates, but his tireless work-rate did his reputation no harm. Forced Friedel into a great save after trying to slot the ball in the far right corner.
- Notable substitions
No notable substitutions