A second-minute rocket from Tomas Rosicky was enough for an otherwise unconvincing Arsenal to beat Tottenham 1-0 in the north London derby at White Hart Lane.
Tim Sherwood had plenty riding on his team’s performance having publicly castigated his players and they contrived to concede after only 70 seconds, Rosicky sending a sensational drive into the far corner from the edge of the box after the ball bounced nicely off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and into his path.
Tottenham’s early vulnerability – exposed once again when Oxlade-Chamberlain raced clear from Nabil Bentaleb at the half-way line, only to dink a miserable effort well wide of the goal when Hugo Lloris came off his line – even provoked Sherwood to rip his gilet from his torso and cast it to the floor in disgust.
Arsenal almost self-destructed at the start of the second half when Wojciech Szczesny made two handling errors, only for Nacer Chadli to fail to convert on either occasion, the second criminally so as he had a near open goal to aim at before seeing his shot blocked.
Sherwood’s frustration would not abate as Arsenal vastly underperformed yet clung on for a vital win which puts them joint second with Liverpool, four points shy of leaders Chelsea having played a game less. Tottenham remain in fifth and are seven points adrift of a Champions League place.
2' - GOAL! Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal! Tomas Rosicky scores an absolute screamer just past a minute! Arsenal hit on the break and after the ball bounces to him on the edge of the box, Rosicky unleashes a fearsome drive to find the far corner.
16’ - CHANCE FOR ARSENAL! Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain skips away from Nabil Bentaleb in midfield and charges down on goal. Lloris comes off his line but the Arsenal man tries to scoop the ball over the keeper and fails miserably. Poor.
29’ - CHANCE FOR SPURS! A great cross from Townsend to the near post but Mertesacker does enough to put the striker off and he can’t find the target with a flicked effort.
36’ - CHANCE FOR ARSENAL! Kieran Gibbs plays a ball around the corner for Podolski and he brushes off Kaboul before slamming a shot into the side netting.
47’ - CHANCE FOR SPURS! Wojciech Szczesny races off his line to stop Adebayor controlling the ball on the edge of the box and spills it under pressure, but Chadli can’t finish!
48’ - CHANCE FOR SPURS! Now Szczesny makes another mistake! He flaps at a cross allowing Chadli to take possession but incredibly the winger can’t slot the ball home despite having a near open goal. He is denied by a stunning block from a defender.
77’ - SURELY A PENALTY?? Vertonghen has his arms around Koscielny’s neck as the free-kick comes in but referee Mike Dean doesn’t spot it.
79’ - CHANCE FOR ARSENAL! Koscielny gets his head to a Cazorla free-kick but the ball then drops nicely for Mertesacker, who sees his firm low drive kept out by a fine save from Lloris.
Arsenal had only one shot in the whole second half.
This was Arsene Wenger’s 999th game in charge of Arsenal.
Tomas Rosicky's goal (1:10) was the fastest ever in a Premier League match between Spurs and Arsenal, and is Arsenal's fastest goal in the Premier League this season.
Only Liverpool v Newcastle (126) has seen more goals than Arsenal v Tottenham (126) in Premier League history.
Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 32 Premier League north London derbies (Feb 2009).
Do Arsenal have enough left in them to win the title race? Despite their victory, this was a tired performance from an Arsenal side who created little in the final third and looked short of inspiration. While Liverpool continue to thrill, Arsenal, level on points, look rather more lethargic. Will their exploits on multiple fronts prove detrimental? The FA Cup is a more likely source of silverware.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Per Mertesacker (Arsenal): Rosicky produced the moment of the match but no one was as vital to Arsenal as their popular centre-back, who made clearance after clearance to help keep Spurs at bay.
Tottenham: Lloris 6, Naughton 5, Kaboul 6, Vertonghen 5, Rose 5, Sandro 6, Townsend 7, Bentaleb 5, Eriksen 6, Chadli 5, Adebayor 5. Subs: Paulinho 6, Sigurdsson 6, Soldado N/A.
Arsenal: Szczesny 5, Sagna 6, Koscielny 8, Mertesacker 8, Gibbs 7, Arteta 6, Rosicky 7, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Podolski 5, Cazorla 5, Giroud 5. Subs: Monreal 6, Vermaelen N/A, Flamini 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#THFC 0-1 #AFC - North London derby ends almost as soon as it begins as Rosicky wins it after a minute and then... well, not much else.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tomas Rosicky
- Hugo Lloris
- Wojciech Szczesny
- Nacer Chadli
- Nabil Bentaleb