Spurs were held goalless for the third North London derby this season – two in the Premier League – as Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal the win in the second minute and the back line solidly kept the home attack at bay. The home side held nearly 60% of the possession throughout the match, but solid shape at the back for the visitors meant Spurs were left with a handfull of half-chances and not much more. Arsenal led just 72 seconds after the opening whistle as Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain worked a quick break and Rosicky finished strong into the top corner for a shock away lead. Sandro gave the ball away in the attacking half, and with the defense playing up Rosicky and Ox beat them back easily. The Czech worked the ball down the right edge, and cut back in to Ox. The English winger was defended well, but before he was dispossessed he laid back off to Rosicky who cannoned his shot home past Hugo Lloris from a tight angle. Coming just a minute and 12 seconds into the match, the goal is the fastest ever for Arsenal against Spurs. Spurs settled in after the goal, but were left vulnerable on a number of occasions thanks to a very high defensive line put in by manager Tim Sherwood. It resulted in a very open match on both ends.
Tottenham came the closest to an equalizer in the 28th minute, as Andros Townsend on the right edge cut across for a streaking Emmanuel Adebayor, but defended well the Togolese striker couldn’t get a clean look and put it just wide. Their high line earned Spurs 62% of possession in the first half, but could not manage a shot on target. The hosts came out of the blocks firing in the second half, with two wide open chances, but botched them both. The second on 48 minutes was the more clear-cut, with Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny spilling the ball out of net, but Nacer Chadli couldn’t finish as Per Mertesacker threw his body in the way. Continuing to press, Adebayor three minutes later played Townsend in, and the winger cut across to Chadli in front of net but again he couldn’t finish. Adebayor later on 65 minutes got a head to a ball from Chadli but could only put it wide as Laurent Koscielny proved barely strong enough. They peppered the Arsenal area in the final 20 minutes, but couldn’t get anything solid out of it as Mertesacker and Koscielny led the stand. With the win, the Gunners draw level with Liverpool who won earlier today as well, as both pull four minutes back of Chelsea. They also pull nine points clear of Spurs, whose Champions League hopes are all but dashed, seven points out of the final Premier League spot. Arsenal have now beaten Spurs all three times they’ve played their London rivals this season – twice in the league and once in the FA Cup – by a total scoreline of 4-0. LINEUPS: Tottenham – Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Sandro (Paulinho 68′); Townsend, Bentaleb, Eriksen (Soldado 82′), Chadli (Sigurdsson 69′); Adebayor. Arsenal – Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Arteta, Rosicky (Flamini 69′), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Vermaelen 85′), Podolski (Monreal 77′), Cazorla; Giroud. Goals: Rosicky 2′