When we beat the old enemy 5-2 in February we did it on our own with a brilliant, passionate second half that blew Spurs away. This time we needed a reckless moment from Adebayor to rescue us from what was shaping up to be another poor performance.
For the first 17 minutes we were second best and Spurs should’ve been 2-0 up. Mertesacker was guilty of slack play when he allowed Defoe’s movement to flummox him and when Szczesny parried his shot, Adebayor reacted quicker than Vermaelen to tap in the loose ball.
Shortly afterwards more hesitancy saw Defoe and Bale combine well and the Welshman found Lennon, who dragged his effort inches wide with Szczesny beaten. Alarm bells were ringing.
We were completely lost defensively, unable to cope with two fast, tricky wide players and the movement of Defoe and Adebayor. Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to play two up front and go for it was proving to be an astute one which Arsenal had no answer to.
Luckily for us Adebayor then went in late and high on Cazorla, catching the little Spaniard with his studs and earning a deserved red card. The game changed immediately because although Spurs’ defensive shape was still intact, they could no longer keep the ball when it was cleared and Arsenal started to enjoy total dominance.
Thanks Ade, you nasty scumbag. We needed that
Cazorla and Giroud went close before Mertesacker headed in a Walcott cross. Then a fortunate ricochet off Huddlestone allowed Podolski a shot at goal which struck Gallas and trickled apologetically into the net. We were getting all the luck.
That being said, we had now found our rhythm and were working Spurs hard as they chased seemingly endless passes, trying to counteract our man advantage. Wilshere and Walcott looked good once again, but it was Cazorla who caught the eye, especially when he put in a low cross for Giroud’s clever finish right on halftime.
Spurs brought on Dempsey and had a go in the second half, but on the hour mark Podolski found Cazorla on the counter and it was 4-1. The killer goal, surely.
This being Arsenal, we let Spurs back into it on 71 when Bale was allowed time and space to fire home a terrific 20 yarder. What followed was 10 minutes of nervousness from the home side as Spurs went for broke. If Bale had given Defoe an easy tap in instead of going for glory it could’ve been 4-3. Ditto if Defoe hadn’t miskicked from five yards out following a corner.
But Arsenal weathered the mini-storm and Wenger brought on the Ox to run at the tiring backline. In injury time he fed Walcott to put the icing on the cake and allow the home fans to enjoy two 5-2 wins over their rivals in the space of a year. Incredible!
Wenger was keen to stress that we don’t know what would’ve happened if Adebayor hadn’t been sent off, but on the evidence of the opening 17 minutes it was more likely that Spurs would’ve run out 5-2 winners instead of Arsenal.
I feel a bit silly writing a mainly critical report after a 5-2 win over our bitter rivals, but I can’t shake the feeling that nothing has changed. We are not suddenly a brilliant side — we just papered over the cracks that were glaringly evident in the first 17 minutes.
Personally last season’s 5-2 win was much more enjoyable. Of course I am pleased we won, but today doesn’t feel as magical because deep down I know we are going nowhere as a club and our squad has been on the decline for the past few years with no sign of change on the horizon. Indeed, today’s Man of the Match was Walcott and it sums us up perfectly that he will probably be allowed to leave in a few weeks. Where is the ambition Arsenal?
So we leapfrog Spurs in the table, but can we stay ahead of them? I can’t see it. We only started playing today as Adebayor trudged off the field and that’s worrying. Maybe this will revive our season as it did in February, but the difference this time around is that we don’t have van Persie.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.