Arsenal produced an error-free performance to beat Tottenham comfortably at the weekend’s Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
After allowing West Ham back into the game last Sunday, Arsenal were fresh from resting a majority of the team mid-week. The game began slowly and there were few clear-cut chances for either side. It looked to be heading towards a goalless draw at half-time but Spurs capitulated within the space of a minute to concede two goals just before the reverse. Van Persie got the first goal after beating Ledley King to Bacary Sagna’s cross – the shot was not the cleanest but Heurelho Gomes could only mishandle the ball into the net. The second came just 11 seconds later as Palacios gave the ball away from the re-start and Cesc Fabregas weaved through the Tottenham players before firing the Gunners into a two-goal lead.
The third goal arrived on the hour mark when Spurs defence fell asleep after Mark Clattenburg allowed play to continue after Eduardo had been fouled. Van Persie took advantage of Tottenham’s sluggishness to get his second of the day. Arsenal coasted after the third goal and could easily have added two or three more. Tottenham’s record against Arsenal is not the prettiest reading for Spurs fans but after comments from Robbie Keane and Ledley King earlier in the week they would have been hoping for those records to be wiped clean. Unfortunately that was not the case as the side from White Hart Lane only had themselves to blame. As a team who are looking to break into the top four in the near future, Harry Redknapp will not have been pleased with what he saw on the football pitch from his players. The defence were at fault for all three goals and only emphasised the gulf of quality between the two north London sides.
Arsene Wenger: ”We took advantage of two opportunities and that changed the game completely – it could have been four or five. We should have scored more. The back five did very well, we didn’t give any chances. It was a shock for them to concede the first goal and we took advantage of the goal.”
Harry Redknapp: “On 42 minutes I felt the crowd were getting on to them, they weren’t creating anything worth talking about, and I felt very comfortable. But it all turned upside-down. We switched off from a throw-in, then gave them the ball back, we’re 2-0 down and the game’s over. We committed suicide, really. All three goals were scandalous, there wasn’t a good goal amongst them. Giving Fabregas the ball from the kick-off was Sunday morning football.”
The result marked Arsenal’s 1000th point under Arsene Wenger’s management, and although they may not have won any trophies since 2005, yesterday’s performance showed that Arsenal are still a class above their local rivals.
Arsenal temporarily moved to second in the table, before Manchester United’s victory over Blackburn. It will be a result that will have pleased Arsene Wenger, who has been particularly quiet in the run-up to this game. It has paid off though with his players doing the talking on the pitch. The Gunners were not playing their usual free-flowing frenetic football but then this was the local derby which nobody ever wants to lose.
A great save by Heurelho Gomes in the first half-hour showed Tottenham’s intent on proving themselves worthy of taking part in the encounter. With just minutes to go till half-time Redknapp would have been planning an up-beat team talk. But it never came to that as sloppy defending allowed Arsenal to take the lead after King was slow to react and Gomes did himself no good in trying to stay as Spurs No 1 goalkeeper. The second goal was even worse from a Tottenham point of view and would have left Redknapp reeling at his players’ lack of composure. Seeing the half out after conceding the late goal was vital to Spurs’ confidence and credibility but a careless pass by Palacios allowed Fabregas to hit Tottenham with the killer blow.
Although West Ham managed to recover from being 2-0 down against Arsenal last weekend the same can not be said of the team in white. The Emirates is not the easiest of stadiums to travel to and although Spurs had little travel time they were unable to provide any comeback after half-time. The third goal accentuated Tottenham’s idleness at the back, the defenders were waiting for the referee’s whistle which never came and it allowed van Persie to latch on to Sagna’s pass. It will be a derby day which Harry Redknapp and his players will want to forget. There are no easy games in the Premier League but Spurs will want to be getting back to winning ways against Sunderland next weekend. Next up for Arsenal is a home fixture against AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday in the Champions League, with a win qualifying them to the next round.
It was a red derby day in London as Arsenal reap the rewards of poor Spurs defending.
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham – van Persie 42, 60, Fabregas 43
Arsenal (4-3-3): Almunia – Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy – Diaby, Fabregas, Song – Arshavin (Eboue 78), van Persie (Ramsey 86), Bendtner (Eduardo 37)
Tottenham (4-5-1): Gomes – Bassong, Corluka (Hutton 86), King, Assou-Ekotto – Bentley, Huddlestone (Bale 55), Jenas, Palacios, Keane (Pavlyuchenko 65) – Crouch
Arsenal – Tottenham
6 – Corners – 2
18 (12) – Shots (on target) – 7 (5)
10 – Fouls – 10
1 (0) – Yellow cards (Red) – 1 (0)
4 – Offside – 3