Full Match Report to follow…
Arsenal recorded a historic comeback in today’s North London derby after coming from behind to win 5-2 at the Emirates thanks to an impressive all-round attacking display that finally added the cutting edge Wenger ingrains into the side.
It started tough for the Gunners after they fell behind early in the third minute to a freak Louis Saha goal after his shot took a massive deflection off Vermaelen’s boot. Then things went from bad to worse for Wengers men when Bale dived in the box and Adebayor converted from the spot.
Arsenal pushed hard to get back in the game but weren’t rewarded until a game changing 5 minutes close to halftime when Sagna pulled a goal back with a well timed header in the box before Van Persie netted a sensational equalizer from outside the box.
Arsenal picked up where they left off after the break with a well taken Rosicky goal from a dangerous Sagna cross, then Walcott sealed the deal with a quick fire brace just after 60 minutes.
Wenger said on the encouraging 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.
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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.
The game was simply sensational and a well earned victory for the Gunners after a tough couple of weeks. That’s three wins on the trot in the Premier League now, and the most encouraging thing from this result is that we retain fourth place on goal difference as Chelsea won convincingly 3-0. There are some big matches coming up such as Liverpool away next weekend so hopefully both Vermaelen and Rosicky recover by then, and it’s a great opportunity to continue their momentum in the league.
We have to hail Wenger for his faith in Walcott today, he looked again out of depth and ominous for large chunks of game lacking confidence and finesse. But luckily the Frenchman re-framed from withdrawing the Englishman as he killed of the game with two fantastically taken goals which will go a long way in restoring his confidence after it has taken a battering in recent weeks.
Check out the full highlights below:
Full Match Report to follow…