Premier League - Arsenal hit five in derby triumph

Sun, 26 Feb 15:17:00 2012

Arsenal staged a remarkable fightback to beat Tottenham 5-2 in a dramatic North London derby at the Emirates.

Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2

The Gunners found themselves two down inside 34 minutes with Louis Saha's fourth minute deflected strike followed by an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty.

But Bacary Sagna's 40th minute header reduced arrears and Robin van Persie brought the hosts level three minutes later.

Tomas Rosicky then gave Arsenal the lead, six minutes after the break, before a Theo Walcott brace sealed the points for Arsene Wenger's side.

Spurs' misery was compounded when Scott Parker was dismissed late on for a second bookable offence, ruling him out of next week's clash with Manchester United.

The victory took Arsenal back into fourth, seven points behind Harry Redknapp's side whose slim title hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow as they now trail leaders Manchester City by 10 points.

After their FA Cup exit to Sunderland and Champions League capitulation in Milan in the last week, there was an air of discontent in the red half of North London going into the game and Saha's early goal did nothing to improve the mood of the home fans.

Tottenham broke at pace and Adebayor's pass exposed a large hole in the Arsenal defence although there was a touch of fortune in Saha's goal as his shot took a wicked deflection off Thomas Vermaelen and left Wojciech Szczesny wrong footed.

It was Saha's third goal in as many League matches for Tottenham but Arsenal responded positively with Van Persie spurning a great chance to equalise, poking wide with his weaker right foot from 10 yards, before creating a chance for himself that deflected off Younes Kaboul and went narrowly wide.

Rosicky's flicked header brought a superb one handed save from Brad Friedel before Tottenham extended their lead in controversial circumstances.

A great pass from Luka Modric sent Gareth Bale through on goal and the Welshman went over Szczesny's outstretched hand with referee Mike Dean awarding a penalty.

Replays indicated there was no contact as the flying winger went down and although a clear goalscoring opportunity, the Polish custodian avoided censure.

Adebayor though did not allow the baiting home fans to affect him, as he calmly slotted away the penalty in the left corner on his 28th birthday before the former Gunners striker turned his back to the Arsenal fans to be mobbed by his team-mates.

But few in the ground could anticipate what then followed.

After Van Persie hit the post, Mikel Arteta kept the ball alive and crossed to Sagna who planted a precise header past Friedel.

And the hosts were back on level terms thanks to a wonderful strike from the in-form Holland international. He picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area, bought himself a yard of space and curled a delightful shot past Friedel with his potent left foot.

Redknapp made a double change at half-time, introducing Sandro and Rafael van der Vaart but the visitors were overran in the second-half by a rampant Arsenal.

Friedel had already made a great save from Benayoun before Rosicky scored his first Premier League in over two years to give Arsenal the lead.

The Czech fed Sagna, who had made a great overlapping run, and he continued his run before deftly flicking the cross over Friedel.

Walcott hit a drive narrowly past the far post before the often criticised winger bagged a brace to silence the sceptics, for this afternoon at least.

His first on 65 minutes came after a classic counter-attack with Van Persie holding off Kaboul and Ledley King before squaring to Walcott whose first touch was terrible but his second was delightful, dinking the ball over Friedel and into the net.

Just three minutes later, with his seemingly fragile confidence restored, he added his second and Arsenal's fifth in emphatic circumstances, driving home after a superb chip over the top by Alex Song.

Rosicky, who was superb in the second-half, almost made it six but curled his shot marginally past the far post as Spurs completely lost their shape and they lost a man when Parker was sent-off three minutes from time after a late tackle on Vermaelen.

The final whistle was met with rapturous applause from the home fans and, amidst the European and FA Cup disappointments, this was Arsenal's third consecutive League win and sees them move above Chelsea and into fourth.

Lee Walker - Follow on Twitter @Lee_Eurosport / Eurosport

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