Arsenal’s young men destroyed fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspurs with a memorable victory in the first North London Derby of the season.
Lé Boss continued his policy for both domestic cups by utilizing his squad and fielding a weakened team; despite only making eight changes from the side that drew against Sunderland three days before. Carlos Vela was given the role as main striker following his fine run of form, whilst reserve team star Jay Emmanuel-Thomas could only attain a place on the bench:
Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Lansbury, Denilson, Wilshere, Nasri, Rosicky, Vela
Almunia, Sagna, Clichy, Arshavin, Eastmond, Chamakh, Emmanuel-Thomas
The opening exchanges created nothing more than a couple of half chances; though by all football fans viewing this eagerly anticipated spectacle, it was clear to see that Arsenal were on top.
It didn’t take long for Arsenal to enforce this dominance.
Emmanuel Eboue switched play with a splendid pass to Gibbs, who provided a clever ball for surprise inclusion Tomas Rosicky. A quick lay-off to Wilshere, and a blade-cutting cross from our midfield playmaker left Henri Lansbury with nothing more to do than tap the ball into the net. Boom.
Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal
Henri Lansbury ‘15
Arsenal were in front, and deservedly so. Tottenham were being torn apart. Every time they managed to retrieve the ball, it disappeared seconds later, leading to another wave of Arsenal attacks.
Arsenal continued their search for an opportunity to double their lead; and nearly did so after Kieran Gibbs’ clever run found him clean through on goal, only for his progress to be outdone by a wrongly given offside flag.
Arsenal required breathing space; and were reminded by the home side of the threat they posed after efforts from David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko flew either side of Lukasz Fabianski’s goal.
Ten minutes of toying with Spurs commenced, though another half was yet to be played, and a second goal was needed before the Arsenal players could show any signs of complacency.
‘Arry wasn’t ‘appy; reflected by his decision to replace Giovanni Dos Santos & Jake Livermore with the more experienced Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane.
An inspired decision as it turned out.
Three minutes into the second half, Klye Naughton played through Robbie Keane, his pass slicing through the middle of Arsenal’s defence. As everyone looked towards the linesman expecting an offside flag, Keane released a tame shot, yet Fabianski could only palm it on as it bounced into his net.
Tottenham 1-1 Arsenal
Robbie Keane ‘49
Awful goalkeeping, but sadly we’ve come to expect that from the Poland international after a series of high profile mistakes, ultimately costing us a number of points last season.
A disappointing setback against the run of play. Though Arsène’s men regrouped, and continued to take control of the game.
Vela headed over a Rosicky cross, and an Eboue effort was easily saved. The only way Tottenham could seem to create anything was on the break.
Yet it was on the break that Tottenham created a golden opportunity. Lennon darted down the right wing; clean through on Fabianski’s goal, but an impressive Laurent Koscielny challenge denied the England winger.
This time Arsène was not ‘appy; and replaced Tomas Rosicky and Carlos Vela with star attackers Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin.
Chances continued to be made by both sides.
Robbie Keane hit the post – albeit offside – from former Gunner David Bentley’s free kick, and Spurs’ ‘keeper Stipe Pletikosa saved a fizzing Denilson effort.
Though no one could find the winner, and extra-time commenced.
And what a start to fabulous thirty minutes for Arsenal.
Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong pulled down Samir Nasri (or Chamakh as the commentator called him) inside the box and, despite not taking the penalty he won last Saturday due to superstition, Nasri stepped up to the spot and sent Pletikosa the wrong way after hammering the ball to the ‘keeper’s right.
Tottenham 1-2 Arsenal
Samir Nasri ‘91
Gooners everywhere had barely finished celebrating before Steven Caulker brought down all 6 ft 2 of Marouane Chamakh inside the penalty area. Super Samir Nasri again stepped up, and again sent the ‘keeper the wrong way, this time placing it coolly in the bottom-right corner.
Tottenham 1-3 Arsenal
Samir Nasri ‘95
Arsenal had punished Tottenham two times in quick sucession, sound familiar?
Spurs replied well to the goal, creating a number of chances in the vain hope of achieving something from this tie. Yet on 105 minutes, Arsenal would make sure the game was put to bed.
A foul by Kyle Naughton resulted in a free kick for Arsenal, quickly played by Jack Wilshere into the path of Andrey Arshavin; with the Russian driving the ball past Pletikosa and into the net.
Tottenham 1-4 Arsenal
Andrey Arshavin ‘105
Oi Tottenham, shall we make a DVD?