Arsenal Still Kings of London After Humbling Tottenham Hotspur 5-2
Spurs were the heavy favorites going into this match, with Arsenal in the news for the wrong reasons.
There has been talk in recent weeks from a section of the media and even of Arsenal fans that Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, ought to be sacked and that this Arsenal team is not good.
Four minutes into the match, it looked like the critics were closer to having their wish granted after a defense-splitting pass, high on the left flank from former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor, who found his strike partner Louis Saha, whose shot took a deflection from Thomas Vermaelen past the scrambling Arsenal goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczęsny, to give Spurs the early lead.
It was a bright start from a team that has been on form since early in the season and has played some of the best football of this season. The rivalry between the two clubs meant that Spurs fans took special delight in this goal to the dismay of the home fans.
Arsenal, though, showed resilience in their willingness and commitment to attack, a strategy that kept Spurs at bay, and it looked as though the next goal would be Arsenal's.
Fate, however, had a different idea.
It was 32 minutes on the clock when Luka Modrić slipped Gareth Bale through the Arsenal back two and into the Arsenal penalty area only for the onrushing Arsenal keeper to bring him down apparently, only it wasn't so.The only leeway for the match referee, Mike Dean, for awarding the resultant penalty kick, which Adebayor duly converted, would be that he saw the incident from behind, since even real-time viewing of the situation from the front showed clearly that Bale hadn't been touched by either of the two defenders or Szczęsny.
It was a blatant dive.
The protestations from Arsenal players were to no avail as Dean stuck to his guns. What was baffling, though, is that no card was shown to Szczęsny, which should have been the case if adjudged really guilty as Dean seemed to think.
With just about 10 minutes to go in the half, Arsenal were two goals down. The gloom thickened at the Emirates.
But as in the case of the first goal, Arsenal players stuck to their game plan, committing men forward in search of a goal.
It came in the 40th minute via a Bacary Sagna header off a chip from Mikel Arteta at the edge of Spurs' penalty area, after an effort from Robin van Persie had hit the post and bounced away for Arsenal to pick up the scraps.
Suddenly, Arsenal had a foothold in the game, and better, as three minutes later, van Persie himself was on hand to curl in a beauty from the edge of the Spurs box, an effort that left Brad Friedel with no chance at making a save.
With two minutes to go until halftime, Arsenal were level and the gloom had transformed to sheer delight from the home fans.At the half, the only question was what would happen next.
Arsenal fans would not wait long to find out. The side were up by a Tomas Rosicky goal six minutes after resumption and from thence it was all Arsenal.
Spurs looked like the Arsenal before the game and Arsenal like the Spurs the critics knew before the match.
The most maligned Theo Walcott would grab a brace to seal victory for Arsenal and take them back above Chelsea into fourth place on the Premiership table.
If there was any wonder before the game who this year's kings of North London (or even the entire London) are, it was answered in an emphatic manner.
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