The only word to describe the latest north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham is "Wow."
No one expected the kind of high-scoring, wide-open result we saw this afternoon at Emirates. I figured there'd be three or four total goals scored with individual battles canceling out many of the scoring chances.
Instead, we got a game that had more goals combined than any other Tottenham or Arsenal had been a part of—at least in the Premier League.
Tottenham went up an early 1-0 when new Spurs striker Louis Saha took a counter-attack the length of the pitch and took advantage of a one-on-one opportunity with the struggling Thomas Vermaelen. Then, former Arsenal man Emmanuel Adebayor calmly put in an easy penalty kick to put the visiting side up 2-0.
But then Arsenal responded with a vengeance, as Bacary Sagna took advantage of a lapse in judgment by Tottenham defenders not clearing the ball. Then, Robin van Persie made it 2-2 due to—again—poor clearances by Spurs defenders, adding to his league-leading 22 goals coming into the match.
The second half was all Arsenal, as Tomas Rosicky opened with a brilliant touch from Bacary Sagna to make it 3-2 before Theo Walcott, who was in poor form during the first half, put in two goals at the 65th and 68th minute respectively.
It was an absolute field day for Arsenal, as they tightened their grip on a fourth-place spot and all but put an end to Tottenham's title hopes.
How did the players rate out individually? Join me and read on!
Wojciech Szczęsny: 6.5
Slightly poor form in the first half that allowed an early goal to Tottenham's Louis Saha, but he wasn't aided by a bumbling Thomas Vermaelen. Can hardly blame him for the second goal—a penalty kick put in by Emmanuel Adebayor.
But, if the first half was the worst of times, the second half was the best of times. He made several key saves to keep Tottenham down when they were trying to break through the 2-2 draw. The goals by Theo Walcott made sure the Polish international was going to get the win.
Kieran Gibbs: 6.5
Was shown to be out-muscled by Emmanuel Adebayor for the first bit of the match, but played well in his 75 minutes on the pitch. Was cheeky in trying to force the referees to call a penalty, but nothing doing for rarely used left-back.
Thomas Vermaelen: 6.5
At fault for the first goal by Louis Saha, but like most Arsenal players, had a solid second half. Stayed true to the left back of the field, supporting the youngster Kieran Gibbs well.
Laurent Koscielny: 7.0
The most solid of all the defenders. Stayed true to the right half of the field, cast in a supporting role so that Bacary Sagna could assist in possessions.
Bacary Sagna: 8.0
Was outstanding tonight. Played the right sideline with energy, enthusiasm and intelligence and opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 40th minute. Had an assist on Rosicky's goal at the beginning of the second half. Truly great play from the right-back who struggled in the team's first meeting with Tottenham.
Carl Jenkinson: 6.5
He came in for Gibbs in the 75th minute. Did little more than to provide a spell for the young defender, but did it well.
Mikel Arteta: 7.5
All over the field for Arsenal. Played with a lot of energy and his passes were crisp and rarely intercepted by Tottenham players. Beautiful assist on Bacary Sagna's goal in the 40th minute.
Alex Song: 7.5
Dispossessed several Tottenham men when attacks from the opposition were mounting. Was strong in the middle of the pitch and held off several of the visitors' chances late in the match.
Yossi Benayoun: 7.0
The Israeli standout was able to string together several attacks for Arsenal in the second half. Should have gotten a score except for the remarkable goalkeeping from Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel. His setting up of Robin van Persie in the 65th minute to then set up Theo Walcott's first goal was brilliant.
Theo Walcott: 9.0
The first half was quiet for Walcott as he bumbled along the right sideline, but his play in the last 30 minutes of the match sealed this one for Arsenal. Two goals in the matter of three minutes nearly gave Piers Morgan a heart attack over Twitter.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7.0
The Ox did little more than give Walcott the chance to come off in the waning minutes and receive a standing ovation from everyone at Emirates Stadium.
Robin van Persie: 8.5
A brilliant night from the league's top scorer, as he consistently harrassed Tottenham's defenders and found pay dirt in the 43rd minute with the goal that tied the game for Arsenal. His assist on Walcott's goal in the 65th minute showed why he's the reason Arsenal may very well clinch a fourth-place spot and a play-in for next year's Champions League.
Tomas Rosicky: 8.0
The Czech international scored his first league goal of the season, squeezing a beautiful placement by Bacary Sagna into a tight hole and putting Arsenal up in the 51st minute.