Tottenham Set Record With Win Over Arsenal In Premier League


Tottenham remain undefeated in the League since early December and have created a new club record of 12 Premier League games without a loss. The win over Arsenal in a fast and furious north London derby takes them back into third place two points ahead of Chelsea and opening up a gap of seven points over fifth placed Arsenal.

Tottenham Hotspur 2  Arsenal 1

Scorers: Bale, Lennon       Mertesacker

Team: Lloris; Wallker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Gallas), Parker, Dembele (Livermore), Sigurdsson; Bale, Adebayor (Defoe)  Subs: (unused) Friedel, Carroll, Naughton, Holtby

Captain Michael Dawson led by example [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

Andre Villas-Boas’ team selection showed two changes from the side which defeated West Ham at the beginning of the week. Benoit Assou-Ekotto returned at left back with Jan Vertonghen moving into central defence to partner Michael Dawson. Gylfi Sigurdsson started on the left of midfield in place of Lewis Holtby. Jermain Defoe having recovered from injury was among the substitutes.

Arsenal made the quicker start to the game with early pressure as both sides tested each other out. Hugo Lloris held a header from a corner after 6 minutes. Lloris, Dawson and Vertonghen had to be alert to early pressure with the latter putting in a vital tackle as Giroud broke into the area. After the opening minutes when Arsenal dominated possession, Spurs started to put their passing game together and took greater control as both sides looked to attack quickly. With the defences holding  a high line, there was plenty of space behind them for forwards to run into.

Emmanuel Adebayor was booked after 18 minutes for a rash challenge but on 20 minutes, a cross from Sigurdsson was just too high for the advancing Gareth Bale who had taken up a central role. It was end to end play and with 25 minutes played Aaron Lennon caused Arsenal problems as he darted into the area. Neither team managed to create a clear goal scoring chance but when it came it was so simple.

After 36 minutes, Bale won a header in midfield, knocking the ball down to Sigurdsson who played a perfectly timed pass through the defence to Bale who collected the ball and with only Szczesny to beat, Bale put it to the goalkeeper’s left. Tottenham had grabbed the early initiative.

Having crafted such a simple goal, Spurs did it again, two minutes later. This time Scott Parker collected the ball on the left inside his own half. He progressed towards the Arsenal area before playing a through ball behind the defence where Lennon was running on to take it round the goalkeeper and slot into an empty net. Could it get any better for Tottenham? Two well worked goals in 2 minutes 20 seconds.

Tottenham’s first priority was to see the game out to half-time. They’d learned from previous mistakes and held their two goal advantage at the interval.

Arsenal started the second half determined to get back into the game but after two minutes Tottenham could have increased their lead. A run and cross from Bale went over Adebayor but reached Sigurdsson on the left but his shot went over the bar. Arsenal continued to press and Spurs gave away a free-kick to the right of their area. Mertesacker got in front of everyone to glance the ball low beyond the diving Lloris.

Arsenal were back into the game and had a shot wide and then Lloris took a low cross, diving at the feet of two Arsenal players. The best chance of a goal, however, fell to Bale with an hour played. A run through the middle from Mousa Dembele released Assou-Ekotto on the left. He played a perfect cross over the defence, finding Bale at the back post but with an empty net but he put his shot over.

Vertonghen was at his best, looking more comfortable in central defence, putting in a good tackle to stop a dangerous Arsenal attack. Tensions were running high with so much at stake in the game and when Adebayor went down injured and the visitors played on, Dawson earned himself a lecture from the referee for his protests. Defoe replaced Adebayor who was stretchered off and brought greater movement and threat to the forward line.

With twenty minutes left, Tottenham should have sealed the win when they had three clear scoring opportunities inside three minutes. On 69 minutes, a beautiful pass from Bale released Defoe who broke on the right. His cross found Sigurdsson who got behind the defence but with only the goalkeeper to beat he opted to square the ball rather than shoot. No Spurs player was up with him allowing Arsenal to clear the danger.

A minute later, Parker on the right found Defoe who went on towards the area but his shot went wide. Two minutes on, Parker found Lennon who went into the area but his shot was blocked for a corner. From the corner, the ball was cleared to Bale whose shot from the edge of the area was straight at the goalkeeper who held the fierce drive. Anywhere else and it would have been a goal.

Ramsey had a great opening for Arsenal when he broke free on the right but his drive across goal was deflected wide by a recovering Assou-Ekotto. The final minutes were a battle as Spurs endeavoured to hold their lead while Arsenal strove for an equaliser. Walcott had a shot wide from a free-kick and a shot by Podolski was deflected for a corner. Under pressure at a late corner with everyone up, Lloris punched clear and Spurs held out to take the deserved three points.

Every member of the Tottenham team played their part as Spurs march on with their season’s objective very much alive. It’s Anfield next in the Premier League which will be a big test for their resolve after the small matter of the Europa League tie against Inter Milan at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham have had a great week with two well deserved wins in derby games. Their run of 12 Premier League matches undefeated, a new record for Tottenham with 8 wins and 4 draws takes them into third place in the League. Andre Villas-Boas realised the importance of the win over Arsenal, saying in his BBC television interview that it was for the fans. The supporters really enjoyed and appreciated the success over their north London rivals in a game which could have so much importance on the season’s final outcomes.