In what was the game of the weekend, Tottenham came back from two goals down to get their first away victory over their North London rivals Arsenal since 1993. It was also Spurs’ first victory at the new Emirates Stadium. The game ultimately proved to be a story of two halves as Arsenal blew away Tottenham in the first half but the visitors responded in great style scoring three second half goals condemning Arsenal to their second successive home defeat.
The game started in a heated fashion when Samir Nasri’s fine run was halted by his French and ex- Arsenal teammate William Gallas in the opening moments. Apart from a Gareth Bale effort which hardly troubled Fabianski, it was all Arsenal in the first half. Fabregas’ shot across goal just went wide as Arsenal threatened to run riot.
The bubble finally burst as Fabregas’ chip found Nasri, whose first touch was a tad too heavy but the Frenchman recovered well enough to shoot from a tight angle to give Arsenal the lead. Fabregas was also instrumental in Arsenal’s second as he picked out Arshavin on the left who fed Chamakh for his 9th goal of the season.
It was desperation time for Redknapp who introduced the fit-again Defoe in attack at the start of the second half. This proved to be a masterstroke as Defoe headed down a long ball to Van der Vaart who tapped on to the on rushing Bale who slotted home a cool finish. Arsenal, who were clearly under pressure, conceded a freekick 30 yards out when Song ran into Modric. Van der Vaart struck the freekick as Fabregas, at the end of the wall, lifted his arm leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Van der Vaart sent Fabianski the wrong way to level the scores. Game on!
Arsenal responded a barrage of attacks as the game shifted gears. They had the ball in the back of the net but Squillaci was rightly flagged offside. Gomes then denied Fabregas with a one handed save while Squillaci headed over and above.
With 5 minutes to go, Tottenham completed the turnaround. Koscienly fouled Bale and Van der Vaart floated the resulting freekick into the box which was met by Kaboul’s header which left the home fans in stunned silence.
Walcott had a wonderful opportunity to snatch an equalizer in the dying moments but it was Tottenham’s night to be as Arsenal slipped down to third place in the league.