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Spurs fight back for win at Gunners


Rafael van der Vaart

Rafael van der Vaart

Rafael van der Vaart

Tottenham completed one of the most amazing comebacks in north London derby history to end their 17-year wait for a win at Arsenal and deny their arch-rivals top spot in the Barclays Premier League with a 3-2 triumph.

The Gunners romped to a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to brilliant goals from Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh as William Gallas' return to the Emirates Stadium looked set to end in defeat.

But Gallas had the last laugh as Gareth Bale pulled a goal back and Cesc Fabregas inexplicably handled Rafael van der Vaart's free-kick to allow the Dutchman to level from the penalty spot before Younes Kaboul headed home a dramatic winner five minutes from time.

Heurelio Gomes hit the self-destruct button after nine minutes. Fabregas' chip split the Tottenham defence, but Nasri's touch into the penalty area was just too heavy, which should have allowed Gomes to come off his line to collect. However, the Spurs keeper hesitated and failed to gather the ball on the penalty spot, which then bobbled wide.

Nasri was alert to tuck his shot back from the tightest of angles between Benoit Assou-Ekotto and the far post.

Arsenal finally went 2-0 ahead after 27 minutes. A swift counter-attack saw Fabregas feed Andrey Arshavin on the left, and his low centre was turned in by Chamakh, his ninth of the season.

Spurs pulled a goal back five minutes after the restart. Assou-Ekotto launched a long pass up field and van der Vaart tapped to the on-rushing Bale, who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

Alex Song then barged Luka Modric to give away a dangerous piece in a similar position for Spurs.

As van der Vaart struck the free-kick, Fabregas and Chamakh, on the end of the wall, both lifted their arms, leaving referee Phil Dowd with little option but to point to the spot. Van der Vaart sent Lucasz Fabianski the wrong way to equalise.

Spurs, though, turned the game on its head with five minutes to go when Laurent Koscielny fouled Bale on the near touchline. Van der Vaart floated the free-kick into the penalty area, where Kaboul headed home.