Sunday, 16 March 2014

Rosicky wins Arsenal's first north London derby in seven-years on enemy soil


Arsenal moved back into third place in the Premier League with their first win at White Hart Lane in seven years from a Tomas Rosicky goal.

In a far from flowing performance from the away team, the three points were all that mattered and they were won inside 75 seconds from a fantastic Rosicky strike.

Arsene Wenger made three changes from the team which drew in Germany. Wojciech Szczesny replaced Lukasz Fabianski in goal, Kieran Gibbs returned at left back in place of Thomas Vermaelen and Tomas Rosicky took the place of the injured Mesut Ozil.

Within 75 seconds the Gunners took the lead. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain won the ball in the centre of midfield and played it to the right to Rosicky. The Czech took the ball forward in the right channel and played a one-two with Chamberlain.

It came back to the Czech international who lashed it into the top left hand corner for his second goal of the the season.

From then on it was the home team who had all the possession with Arsene Wenger's men force to play a counter attacking game as Tim Sherwood's team pressed the FA Cup semi finalists.

Tottenham had a couple of chances. Adebayor had a perfect opportunity to get the home side level while in an offside position which wasn't flagged early on and most of the early play in the first ten minutes was in the Arsenal half. But the Gunners defence stood firm.

Santi Cazorla played a perfect ball for Lucas Podolski on the left in the 13th minute which the assistant referee wrongly adjudged the German to be in an offside position when he would have been free to run in on goal.

A minute later Oxlade-Chamberlain had the opportunity to add to the scoreline. He broke away and beat Bentaleb in a foot race. Tottenham's high line meant the Arsenal youngster went one on one with Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal but he scooped the ball wide of the Frenchman's goal.

Two minutes later Giroud was played through the middle and Lloris had to head clear the danger. It was Arsenal who were creating the chances but Tottenham holding the possession.

Arsenal were lucky a turning point in the game wasn't an elbow to the back of Arteta's head by Andros Townsend which allowed the Tottenham man to skip to the byline and cross but none of his team mates were rushing into the six yard box and Arsenal cleared the danger.

Sanga miss-controlled the ball in the 21st minute and dived into a challenge with Danny Rose. He got some of the ball but received a yellow card from referee Mike Dean.

A great ball from Cazorla saw Podolski break the offiside trap.The German pulled the ball back for the an on rushing Oxlade Chamberlain who's shot was deflected for a corner.

At the other end, Adebayor nearly levelled but his chance was wide of Szczesny's far post. Moments later Podolski conceded a free kick on the left of Arsenal's box. Eriksen's free kick was well wide.

A breakaway from Rosicky saw Chadli stamp on the Czech midfielder's foot and the Spurs player was yellow carded for his unfair challenge.

The game was end to end. But the home team had no clear cut shots on goal which forced Szczesny into any super saves.

It was oh so close for Podolski as he benefited from a mistake by Kaboul. The German international's shot hit the side netting from a vicious left footed strike. At the other end a mistake from Gibbs allowed Chadli's their next change. But his effort on goal was well wide. Moments later at the other end, Oxlade-Chamberlain skied a Rosicky cutback high over the crossbar.

With moments to go in the first half, a fantastic dive by Rose after a Sanga challenge didn't impress the referee. Moments later Mike Dean booked Kieran Gibbs.

At half time Arsene Wenger's men had the goal advantage but it was the home side who had dominated possession. It felt like the substitutions were going to be important and could allow either side to win the match.

Two minutes into the second half Szczesny wasn't awarded a free kick for a challenge with Adebayor. It looked hash at first but was probaby the correct decision. Moments later the Polish international dropped the ball at the feet of Chadli from a cross. The Spurs player only had Mertesacker and Koscielny to beat. However the French defender got his body in the way and Arsenal cleared.

The Gunners were living dangerously when Adebayor capitalised on a misplaced header from Mertesacker. The Togo international attacked the Arsenal box and found Townsend but again it was Chadli who couldn't get anything on the cross.

The Gunners could not keep hold of possession and it was noticeable that it was the players who started in Munich who were those with the heaviest legs.

Arsenal's only attacks broke down easily because of their poor hold-up play and the runners couldn't get up with the forward play. Wenger's men where holding their ground and were ensuring what they had they held.

Adebayor had a chance with a header, was called offside for a second and Koscielny intercepted a cross when the former Arsenal player was charging in on the near post.

Wenger made a change with 22 minutes to go, Mathieu Flamini replacing goalscorer Rosicky. While Spurs made a double change Sigurdsson for Chadli and Paulinho replacing Sandro.

After the changes Arteta had a free kick which he floated goalwards but it was headed clear.

An awful Vertonghen challenge on Cazorla saw the Tottenham defender go into the book with 15 minutes to go. From the resulting free kick, Arsenal should have been awarded a penalty when Koscielny was brought down in the box by Vertonghen.

Wenger made his second change when he replaced Podolski with Nacho Monreal with 14 minutes to go.

Mertesacker had Arsenal's best chance of the second half when his shot was saved on the line by Lloris from a Cazorla free kick.

Mike Dean added Flamini's name to his book after the Frenchman hauled down Eriksen.

With eight minutes to go, Sherwood made his final change with Eriksen replaced by Soldado. Wenger followed with his final change of the game with six minutes to go was to bring on club captain Vermaelen. The Belgium international replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain.

An Arsenal breakaway was halted by Tottenham handball. With three minutes to go Arsenal won a throw in close to the technical area. Sherwood threw the ball hard at Sagna and the Frenchman took exception to the gesture. It looks like sparks might fly but Wenger attempted to cool the situation.

Two minutes to go and Adebayor had a chance to bring his club level at his shot was straight at Szczesny.

The referee added four minutes of additional time. Szczesny had an easy save to make from a cross. Giroud won a free kick and then seconds later the Frenchman was penalised for a challenge on Rose.

While Arsenal didn't give the best account of themselves, it was only three points which were needed. The Gunners go to 62 points, four points behind leaders Chelsea who they face next weekend.

The title race is certainly hotting up.

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