Premier League: Rating the Tottenham Hotspur Players Against Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur kept up their strong Premier League form while exacting a measure of revenge over North London rivals Arsenal with a 2-1 win on Sunday.
The Gunners started brightly but were unable to find a way through Tottenham's sturdy defense. Spurs made them pay with with not long remaining in the first half, with goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in the space of two minutes.
Per Mertesacker reduced the deficit, but Andre Villas-Boas' team held firm. Back up to third in the table, how did the men of White Hart Lane rate in their derby performances?
Goalkeeper and Defense
Hugo Lloris (6.75)
The Frenchman was largely untested. On those occasions he was, Lloris was suitably composed and ably swept up any attacks the defense in front of him had not dealt with.
Kyle Walker (7.75)
One of Walker's best defensive performances this season, the right-back was alert and (largely) positionally sound. When Arsenal got into his area he responded decisively, quickly winning the ball before a dangerous situation could arise.
Michael Dawson (7.75)
Dawson showed his value once again with a staunch showing at the heart of the Tottenham defense. The center back won some big tackles that helped set the tone in not allowing the Arsenal attack through. Aerially, Dawson's command was never in question.
Jan Vertonghen (8)
Vertonghen grew in stature as the game progressed, winning several key challenges at points when Theo Walcott and others threatened to find space. The Belgian's timing in the tackle was impeccable (even his booking was a well-judged foul). Some good runs forward alleviated the pressure on his teammates at times when Arsenal were enjoying the better of possession.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (6)
Assou-Ekotto was occasionally left isolated and other times had to come inside to cover, unwittingly leaving the left exposed. Walcott and Aaron Ramsey had chances on this flank as a result. It was a tough afternoon's work for the full-back, but he was solid enough overall.
The defender came on for the last few seconds in a superfluous substitution.
Aaron Lennon (7)
Lennon's best performance since Manchester United in January. The winger showed great determination to make the run that led to his goal. Elsewhere, he was one of Spurs' most dangerous attacking outlets, causing Nacho Monreal no shortage of problems with his mazy dribbling.
Mousa Dembele (7.5)
Dembele showcased his defensive attributes with a disciplined display, putting in a terrific shift shielding his defense. The central midfielder intelligently chose when to stick and when to leave his station to help out a teammate. It all meant Dembele was sacrificed as an attacking concern, but it was a necessary and very worthy sacrifice.
Scott Parker (7)
With players around him (on both sides) napping after Tottenham's opener, Parker made the most of yards of space around him when the ball came his way. The center midfielder drove forward and picked out Lennon's (who had also been alert) great run for Spurs' second. Parker worked well in conjunction with Dembele, chasing Arsenal down and offering himself as a passing option when he could.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (7)
Sigurdsson was rewarded with a lively cameo against West Ham with a start here, and he played well. The pass he picked out for Gareth Bale's opener was beautifully timed. His impact otherwise was somewhat marginal, but he was a helpful nuisance Arsenal struggled to deal with at times as he popped up in space on the left.
Livermore came on for an injured Dembele to help shore Spurs up in the last few minutes.
Gareth Bale (7)
Spurs in-form man kept up his great goalscoring run with a clinical finish after getting on Sigurdsson's through-ball. For all intents and purposes Bale was playing as a striker in a 4-4-2. He had difficulty getting into the game prior to his goal, but thereafter caused problems for Arsenal and continued to put the yards in even in his quieter moments. The Welshman was caught flatfooted for the Gunners' goal though.
Emmanuel Adebayor (4)
A complete non-concern, Adebayor's only contributions for Spurs were of the negative kind. Fears of a semi-repeat of his last North London derby appearance were raised by a first half booking for a late tackle. After the interval he lost Per Mertesacker in the penalty area, allowing the German the space that led to Arsenal's goal.
Jermain Defoe (6.5)
Defoe was the complete opposite of Adebayor, looking to get on the ball as soon as he replaced his injured teammate. A great run from the right, heading cross-field, led to Defoe setting up Sigurdsson for a good chance. The striker did not see much of the ball in the last 20 minutes, but kept running and was commendably lively in comparison to the lethargic Adebayor.