The North London derby is over, and Tottenham Hotspur move back into third place in the English Premier League with a win over Arsenal. Arsenal started the match on top, and won a few early corners and Tottenham looked like they would have a tough game ahead of them. But Arsenal just couldn’t make the final pass and their only good chance came in the sixth minute when a Jack Wilshere corner found the head of Oliver Giroud. But his header was almost straight at Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Loris and was an easy save for the Frenchman. After the opening ten minutes Tottenham started to settle into the game, but Arsenal kept intercepting their passes and the Tottenham players started to get a bit frustrated and threw in some rash challenges earning themselves a few yellow cards.
But despite Arsenal dominating the opening twenty minutes, Tottenham started to slow down the tempo of the game and possessed in their own half. Then amazingly, Tottenham got themselves in front in the thirty-seventh minute when the Arsenal defense fell asleep and allowed a Gylfi Sigurdsson through ball to reach Gareth Bale. Bale took the ball into the Arsenal penalty area, and beautifully chipped the ball over Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and into the back out the net to make it 1-0. But then incredibly, just two minutes after scoring their first goal, Tottenham got another in an almost identically fashion when a Scott Parker through ball found the run of Aaron Lennon just outside the Arsenal penalty box. Lennon rounded Szczesny, and amazingly passed the ball into the net to make it 2-0. After the second goal, Tottenham started to defend, but Arsenal couldn’t create any chances and the first half ended 2-0.
Both teams started the second half in a very attacking style, but amazingly, Arsenal got their first goal of their match just five minutes in, off a free-kick. Theo Walcott took the free-kick near the corner flag, and the in-swinging cross found the head of Per Mertesaker whose glancing header sneaked into the back post (though replays showed that it glanced off the head of Bale to direct it in). Arsenal looked very likely to equalize, and almost did just minutes after Mertesaker’s goal, when Arsenal right-back Carl Jenkinson put in a low cross but Lloris did well to stop it from reaching Wilshere in the box. But Tottenham did look dangerous on the counter-attack, and should have scored in the seventieth minute when Lennon played Sigurdsson in on goal. Sigurdsson took the ball into the Arsenal box, but instead of chipping it over Szczesny he tried to play Bale in for a second and his pass was intercepted.
But Arsenal just couldn’t find the back of the net, and the flow of the game changed in Tottenham’s favor. Tottenham had another chance to put the game to bed in the seventy-third minute, but Bale’s half-volley was straight at Szczesny – if it had been a foot either side of him it would have been in. In the final minutes of the game Arsenal started to look more dangerous, and a Theo Walcott free-kick went inches wide, but it looked like it just wasn’t their day. The final chance of the match was for Arsenal, but Lloris tipped the in-swinging corner out and the match ended 2-1 after six suspenseful minutes of injury time.
Man of the Match: Gareth Bale