Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Advantage Spurs after derby win

Gareth Bale continued his goalscoring form as Spurs claimed North London bragging rights

Tottenham moved seven points clear of Arsenal in the race for a Champions League spot with a 2-1 win in a pulsating north London derby at White Hart Lane.

Gareth Bale slipped behind a static Arsenal back four and slotted past Wojciech Szczesny to put Tottenham 1-0 up before Aaron Lennon breezed past the flat back line moments later, latching on to Scott Parker's pass before beating the Arsenal goalkeeper from close range.

Per Mertesacker pulled one back for the Gunners in the second half, but a mix of wasteful passing around the box, and excellent displays from Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson, stopped Arsene Wenger's men from finding their way through again.

Arsenal controlled the opening stages of the game and Santi Cazorla cut out the Tottenham back four with a jaw-dropping 40-yard pass to play Olivier Giroud through, but Vertonghen did just enough to put the Frenchman off.

Spurs were on the back foot, but they managed to take the lead through man of the moment Bale. The Welshman latched on a clever pass from Gylfi Sigurdsson and stabbed the ball past the on-rushing Szczesny.

Just 140 seconds later it was 2-0. Parker picked the ball up on the half-way line, Arsenal backed off, and he threaded a wonderful ball through to Lennon, who rounded Szczesny and tapped the ball in to the empty net.

Whatever Wenger said at half-time to his players, it worked. The away side came flying out of the blocks in the second half and they pulled one back six minutes in. Mertesacker, so often criticised for his failings at the back, leapt in front of Bale and glanced home Theo Walcott's corner from the near post.

Arsenal continued to press. Walcott, now playing centrally, headed over, Jack Wilshere danced around the edge of the Spurs box and Nacho Monreal fired a powerful shot just wide of Hugo Lloris' goal.

Emmanuel Adebayor was carried off on a stretcher after suffering an injury and he was replaced by Jermain Defoe. A portion of the Arsenal support responded by taunting Adebayor about the 2010 gun attack on the Togo team bus at the African Nations Cup. "Shot in Angola, it should have been you."

Arsenal continued to control the game, but with 20 minutes to go Spurs hit them on the break through Sigurdsson, who got in behind the Gunners back four, but decided to square the ball when he should have shot at goal.

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