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Arsenal   3 - 0   Tottenham

Cesc Fabregas (right) and Robin van Persie celebrate
Fabregas (right) added a second within seconds of Van Persie's opener

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal emphatically swept aside claims from Tottenham that they were ready to challenge the supremacy of their north London rivals with a convincing victory at the Emirates.

The game turned inside 11 seconds shortly before the interval as the Gunners struck twice to set up a victory that gave manager Arsene Wenger 1000 Premier League points since his arrival at the club in 1996.

It also ended any hopes Spurs may have harboured of ending a winless league sequence against Arsenal that now stretches back 20 games.

Boss Harry Redknapp would have been satisfied with how his side had coped with Arsenal's threat until they imploded spectacularly as half-time approached.

We committed suicide - Redknapp

Robin van Persie reacted quicker than Ledley King to meet Bacary Sagna's cross in the 42nd minute, but Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes should have done much better than fumble the ball over the line.

And worse was to follow for the visitors straight from the kick-off when Wilson Palacios gifted possession to Cesc Fabregas, who ran through the heart of a static defence to beat Gomes.

Any lingering optimism that Redknapp's side could follow in the footsteps of West Ham and claw back a two-goal lead against Arsenal was snuffed out by more crass defending that saw the hosts add another on the hour.

Referee Mark Clattenburg played a clever advantage after Benoit Assou-Ekotto had fouled Eduardo and, while Spurs inexplicably waited for a whistle that was never going to come, Sagna set up Van Persie for his second from eight yards.

Robbie Keane had insisted, perhaps unwisely given the timing, that they now had a squad capable of competing with their neighbours. But it soon became clear that the absence of suspended Jermain Defoe, injured Aaron Lennon and long-term casualty Luka Modric had robbed Tottenham of a crucial cutting edge.

Arsenal had absentees of their own with Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky again sidelined, but they coped with their losses more convincingly than Spurs.

PHIL MCNULTY'S BLOG

The vast swathe of empty spaces in the visitors' section, well before the final whistle, told the story of another day of derby disappointment for their half of north London.

And, as the Gunners performed their passing party pieces in the closing stages - when Eduardo should have added a fourth - Spurs's misery was complete as defender Sebastien Bassong pulled up with a hamstring injury.

Wenger recalled Manuel Almunia in goal with Lukasz Fabianski sidelined by a thigh injury and Vito Mannone relegated to the bench while Spurs gave starts to Peter Crouch and David Bentley.

The former Arsenal man, so often a marginal figure in his Spurs career, appeared over-eager to prove a point in the early stages and was fortunate to be spared by the leniency of referee Clattenburg.

He escaped a yellow card for deliberately handling a clearance and then received only a lecture when a late lunge left defender Thomas Vermaelen requiring lengthy treatment.

Spurs keeper Gomes has been dogged by inconsistency - as he was to subsequently prove - but he showed his best side when he saved superbly from Fabregas after 20 minutes when Andrey Arshavin's effort deflected invitingly into his path off King.

We should have scored more - Wenger

Arsenal were forced into a change two minutes later when Nicklas Bendtner, who had made a bright start, signalled to the bench that was struggling with an injury and limped off, to be replaced by Eduardo. Wenger later said Bendtner can expect to be out "for a while".

The away side were surviving in relative comfort and even threatened to prosper as the Emirates crowd started to show signs of frustration, but they gifted Arsenal control of what had been a tightly contested game in a minute of madness shortly before the interval.

Slack marking from a throw-in allowed Sagna to cross for Van Persie to beat King and steer in a near-post finish which left question marks over Gomes, who allowed the ball to squirm through his grasp.

As the Emirates basked joyously in the breaking of the deadlock, matters became considerably worse for Spurs as Palacios was robbed straight from the kick-off by Fabregas, who waltzed through unchallenged to fire a composed shot low past the exposed Gomes.

The gap between the goals was timed at 11 seconds - and in that space of time, the destiny of the three points was decided.

Spurs needed to find a way back into a game in which they had self-destructed, and Bentley almost provided hope with a long-range free-kick turned over the top in acrobatic fashion by Almunia.

Robin van Persie scores Arsenal's first goal
Van Persie's opening goal exposed Spurs' defensive frailty

Then, as if to confirm their defensive incompetence of the first half was by no means an accident, Spurs switched off fatally once more as Arsenal extended their lead with a third goal on the hour.

As the linesman flagged for a foul by Assou-Ekotto on Eduardo, Spurs defenders stood around obligingly as referee Clattenburg played a splendid advantage. Sagna took advantage with a ball into the box that was bundled home by Van Persie.

Keane was hauled off to a reception liberally sprinkled with mockery as Redknapp took the desperate measure of introducing Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Arsenal were revelling in the time and space they were being afforded and Eduardo was guilty of squandering an opportunity to make it four when he shot wide with only Gomes to beat after being released by Fabregas.

Tottenham simply indulged in damage limitation until the final whistle - but many of their aspirations have now been placed in context, after they failed to seriously test an Arsenal team they believe they can beat to a place in the Premier League's top four.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

"It was the kind of game where both teams lacked fluidity in the first 25 minutes. 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 away and during a difficult period of the game they kept us in it. But any mistakes and your opponent can take advantage of them, and we did that. It was a shock for them to concede the first goal and we took advantage of the goal.

"Our club deserves a lot of credit - a derby is a very different game no matter how good you are, but it shows we can prepare and turn up for the game every time."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:

"On 42 minutes I felt the crowd were getting onto them, they weren't creating anything worth talking about, and I felt very comfortable. I'm looking up at the clock with three minutes to half time and thinking we've done our job. I could see us certainly getting a big result. 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.

"We've not hit a blip - we got beaten by Arsenal today but we've got 19 points and we'll still be right up there at the end of the season."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham FT
(HT 2-0)
  • Van Persie 42
  • Fabregas 43
  • Van Persie 60

    Arsenal

    Substitutes

    Tottenham

    Substitutes

    Ref: ClattenburgAtt: 60,103
    ARSENAL
    TOTTENHAM

    Possession

    • Arsenal 56%
    • Tottenham 44%

    Attempts on target

    • Arsenal 12
    • Tottenham 5

    Attempts off target

    • Arsenal 6
    • Tottenham 2

    Corners

    • Arsenal 6
    • Tottenham 2

    Fouls

    • Arsenal 10
    • Tottenham 10
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:24 The match has reached full-time.
    • 90:00+2:08 Foul by Alexandre Song Billong on David Bentley, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Wilson Palacios, William Gallas makes a clearance.
    • 90:00+1:07 Thomas Vermaelen challenges Roman Pavlyuchenko unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Bentley crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 90:00+0:52 Da Silva Eduardo is ruled offside. Alan Hutton takes the free kick.
    • 88:21 Francesc Fabregas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wilson Palacios. Benoit Assou-Ekotto restarts play with the free kick.
    • 87:22 The official flags Gareth Bale offside. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • Correction - 85:02 Substitution Aaron Ramsey comes on in place of Robin van Persie.
    • Correction - 85:02 Substitution Alan Hutton joins the action as a substitute, replacing Vedran Corluka.
    • Correction - 85:02 Emmanuel Eboue fouled by David Bentley, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 85:02 Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 85:02 Substitution Aaron Ramsey is brought on as a substitute for Robin van Persie.
    • 85:02 Substitution Alan Hutton is brought on as a substitute for Vedran Corluka.
    • 85:02 Foul by David Bentley on Emmanuel Eboue, free kick awarded.
    • 84:27 Peter Crouch takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 83:41 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line, Heurelho Gomes makes a comfortable save.
    • 82:12 Corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line to the near post, Vassiriki Diaby has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 81:29 The ball is delivered by Vedran Corluka, save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 80:48 The referee blows for offside against Emmanuel Eboue. Direct free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 80:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by David Bentley. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 79:39 Unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Wilson Palacios results in a free kick. The ball is sent over by Francesc Fabregas, Da Silva Eduardo takes a shot. Comfortable save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 77:13 David Bentley takes the free kick.
    • 77:13 Substitution Andrey Arshavin leaves the field to be replaced by Emmanuel Eboue.
    • 77:13 Booking The referee shows Thomas Vermaelen a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 77:10 Unfair challenge on Vedran Corluka by Thomas Vermaelen results in a free kick.
    • 75:01 Roman Pavlyuchenko takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 73:47 Effort on goal by Robin van Persie from long range goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 73:10 Peter Crouch takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 69:24 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas, Heurelho Gomes makes a comfortable save.
    • 68:06 The referee gives a free kick against Andrey Arshavin for handball. Sebastien Bassong takes the direct free kick.
    • 66:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Benoit Assou-Ekotto by Francesc Fabregas. Benoit Assou-Ekotto restarts play with the free kick.
    • 66:09 Shot from just outside the penalty box by Da Silva Eduardo misses to the left of the target.
    • 64:34 Substitution Robbie Keane goes off and Roman Pavlyuchenko comes on.
    • 63:54 Peter Crouch takes a shot. Comfortable save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 63:29 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale by Alexandre Song Billong. Free kick taken by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
    • 62:30 The referee blows for offside against Robbie Keane. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 61:36 Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 61:36 Booking The referee shows Peter Crouch a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 61:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Peter Crouch on William Gallas.
    • 59:38 The assist for the goal came from Bacary Sagna.
    • 59:38 GOAL - Robin van PersieArsenal 3 - 0 Tottenham Robin van Persie scores a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham.
    • 57:54 Corner taken by David Bentley from the right by-line, Thomas Vermaelen manages to make a clearance.
    • 56:36 Handball decision goes against William Gallas. David Bentley has an effort direct from the free kick, save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 54:39 Substitution Gareth Bale is brought on as a substitute for Tom Huddlestone.
    • 52:04 Da Silva Eduardo produces a drilled left-footed shot from 12 yards. Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
    • 49:35 Drilled right-footed shot by Vassiriki Diaby. Blocked by Sebastien Bassong.
    • 48:47 Unfair challenge on Robin van Persie by Wilson Palacios results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Robin van Persie.
    • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:02 The first half comes to an end.
    • 44:43 Corner from the left by-line taken by Francesc Fabregas, Heurelho Gomes makes a fantastic save.
    • 42:42 The assist for the goal came from Robin van Persie.
    • 42:42 GOAL - Francesc FabregasArsenal 2 - 0 Tottenham Francesc Fabregas scores a goal from just inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham.
    • 41:52 The assist for the goal came from Bacary Sagna.
    • 41:52 GOAL - Robin van PersieArsenal 1 - 0 Tottenham Robin van Persie finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham.
    • 40:55 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Wilson Palacios, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 40:14 Free kick awarded for a foul by Robin van Persie on Sebastien Bassong. Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes the free kick.
    • 39:37 Jermaine Jenas fouled by Vassiriki Diaby, the ref awards a free kick. Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes the free kick.
    • 39:04 Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 38:32 David Bentley delivers the ball, comfortable save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 36:16 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robin van Persie, Heurelho Gomes makes a comfortable save.
    • 36:05 Substitution Da Silva Eduardo replaces Nicklas Bendtner.
    • 35:46 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Vedran Corluka gets a block in.
    • 32:31 Andrey Arshavin produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.
    • 30:18 Unfair challenge on Wilson Palacios by Vassiriki Diaby results in a free kick. David Bentley takes the free kick.
    • 28:55 Shot from close range by Robin van Persie misses to the right of the target.
    • 27:39 Robbie Keane has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
    • 22:01 The assistant referee signals for offside against Robin van Persie. Heurelho Gomes takes the free kick.
    • 21:45 The official flags Peter Crouch offside. Alexandre Song Billong takes the free kick.
    • 21:27 The ball is swung over by David Bentley, save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 19:52 Shot from 18 yards by Andrey Arshavin. Blocked by Ledley King. Shot by Francesc Fabregas. Fantastic save by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 18:03 Wilson Palacios fouled by Nicklas Bendtner, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastien Bassong restarts play with the free kick.
    • 16:24 Robin van Persie fouled by Sebastien Bassong, the ref awards a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 14:44 Unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Benoit Assou-Ekotto results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Robin van Persie.
    • 13:15 Effort on goal by Andrey Arshavin from 20 yards. Save made by Heurelho Gomes.
    • 11:02 The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
    • 9:18 Effort on goal by David Bentley from 35 yards went harmlessly over the goal.
    • Correction - 7:33 David Bentley challenges Thomas Vermaelen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 7:33 David Bentley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen. Free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 6:29 Francesc Fabregas takes a inswinging corner.
    • 6:10 Andrey Arshavin has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Vedran Corluka gets a block in.
    • 3:39 David Bentley is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
    • 3:01 David Bentley takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Bacary Sagna.
    • 1:22 Effort on goal by Nicklas Bendtner from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 0:08 Wilson Palacios challenges Bacary Sagna unfairly and gives away a free kick. Francesc Fabregas delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing.
    • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    31 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

    Home Team Score Away Team Time
    Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham R
    Bolton 0-4 Chelsea R
    Burnley 2-0 Hull R
    Everton 1-1 Aston Villa R
    Fulham 3-1 Liverpool R
    Man Utd 2-0 Blackburn R
    Portsmouth 4-0 Wigan R
    Stoke 2-2 Wolverhampton R
    Sunderland 2-2 West Ham R

    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 31 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Chelsea 11 20 27
    2 Man Utd 11 12 25
    3 Arsenal 10 19 22
    4 Tottenham 11 4 19
    5 Liverpool 11 9 18
    6 Man City 9 7 18
    7 Aston Villa 10 5 18
    8 Sunderland 11 3 17
    9 Stoke 11 -2 16
    10 Burnley 11 -10 15
    11 Fulham 10 0 14
    12 Wigan 11 -9 13
    13 Everton 10 -3 12
    14 Bolton 10 -5 11
    15 Birmingham 10 -4 10
    16 Wolverhampton 11 -7 10
    17 Blackburn 10 -13 10
    18 Hull 11 -16 8
    19 West Ham 10 -4 7
    20 Portsmouth 11 -6 7

    see also
    'Suicidal' Spurs appal Redknapp
    31 Oct 09 |  Football
    Bendtner faces four-week lay-off
    31 Oct 09 |  Arsenal
    Saturday football as it happened
    31 Oct 09 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    31 Oct 09 |  Football



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