Report: Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham
Either side had talked the talk beforehand but it was Arsenal who walked the walk on derby day with a delightful 3-0 proving there is indeed daylight between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The victory took the total number of Premier League points earned by Arsene Wenger to 1,000, but the Frenchman will be more pleased to see his side restore order in form after last week’s traumatic draw at West Ham.
Two rapid-fire goals at the end of the first half from Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas took the game away from Spurs, and Van Persie added another after the break to seal the Gunners’ 60th league win over their local rivals and extend their unbeaten run against them in the league to a full decade.
Up until that point, Tottenham had made a good job of containing Arsenal, allowing them plenty of possession but denying them chances to get behind their back line.
That resolve lasted until the 42nd minute when Bacary Sagna was allowed time to cross for Van Persie at the near post, and the Dutchman got ahead of Ledley King to steer the ball past Heurelho Gomes, who could not get a strong enough hand to it.
That goal may have been a blow for Spurs, but from the subsequent kick-off they were masters of their own undoing. Wilson Palacios was far too casual in the centre circle, allowing Van Persie to steal the ball off him. It fell to Fabregas, who ghosted past challenges from Palacios and King before firing a terrific low finish past Gomes to register a crushing second goal just 11 seconds after the opener.
Tottenham’s humiliation in their neighbours’ back yard was completed when Van Persie was gifted his eighth goal in his last nine matches on the hour mark. Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled Sagna on the wing, but the Frenchman stayed on his feet leading referee Mark Clattenburg to wave play on. Everyone else stopped except for Sagna, who once more had all the time he needed to pick out a cross that evaded Gomes and gave Van Persie the simplest of tap-ins.
Nicklas Bendtner had started alongside Van Persie in the Arsenal attack but was forced to withdraw after 37 minutes with a groin strain.
Eduardo da Silva came on in the Dane’s place, and spurned some decent opportunities. After beating a flat-footed Spurs back line, the Croatia striker had his shot blocked by the onrushing Gomes.
Soon afterwards he was presented with a similar opportunity, only to be caught in two minds between lobbing Gomes and finishing past him, and in the end trickled an effort wide.
Spurs, lacked penetration and struggled to threaten Arsenal throughout the game. The only time the returning Manuel Almunia was forced into a save was when he tipped a free-kick over the bar from former Gunner David Bentley.
After Spurs captain Robbie Keane’s comments earlier in the week that the Tottenham squad is stronger than Arsenal’s, this result reiterated just how much work Harry Redknapp and his players have to do to catch up with their rivals at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road.