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Premier League

  • March 3, 2013
  • • 19:00
  • • White Hart Lane, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 36170
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Live Commentary

  • That's all from me folks, it was a quite wonderful game of football wasn't it? I'm Adam Mazrani and thanks for tuning in. See you all next time.
  • As for Arsenal, as disappointing as the defeat will feel, that defeat hardly represents the end of the world in the cold light of day. The Gunners are still within reasonable distance of Chelsea, Tottenham and even Manchester City in second position and with 30 points still to play for, anything is possible for them if they retain some parts of the performance they put on today. The problem for them quite clearly is that in Olivier Giroud, they have a willing striker but ultimately, one that is just not good enough for a side chasing or playing Champions League football.
  • Tottenham fans can rightly be ecstatic that their side has now moved back up into third place, a full seven points ahead of Arsenal. The Lilywhites have also broken a club record today, that's their 12th game unbeaten in the Premier League.
  • There we have it! The final whistle blows and White Hart Lane erupts in delight. Tottenham have defeated Arsenal in the North London Derby thanks to two first-half goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. Arsenal pulled one back in the second half through Per Mertesacker (though it could go down as a Bale own goal), and despite exerting much pressure, it was in fact Tottenham who came closer to scoring the third goal, rather than Arsenal scoring the equaliser.
  • 90' + 7'
    Substitution Aaron Lennon William Gallas
  • 90' + 7'
    Yellow Card Kyle Walker
  • 90' + 6'
    William Gallas is being brought on for Aaron Lennon as Tottenham eat up a few more seconds. We're into added time in added time now.
  • 90' + 5'
    Lloris does brilliantly to claw away Walcott's corner and is that Arsenal's final chance gone?
  • 90' + 4'
    Podolski produces a snap-shot from a Giroud knock down that takes a deflection and flies over the bar and out for a corner. This is so tight.
  • 90' + 2'
    Bale shows good professionalism here by taking the ball into the corner flag. Two of the six minutes are gone now, the Spurs fans can almost taste victory.
  • 90'
    A mammoth SIX minutes of stoppage time has been given here at White Hart Lane. It's hearts in mouths time for the Spurs supporters. Arsenal have renewed hope.
  • 88'
    Substitution Mousa Dembélé Jake Livermore
  • 88'
    Walcott steps up and curls a free-kick, almost Gareth Bale-style, over the wall. It certainly has Hugo Lloris worried but thankfully for Spurs, the ball flies just wide of the post.
  • 86'
    Time is running out for Arsenal here. They need something fast here if they are to going to relieve the pressure on Arsene Wenger, which would surely be overwhelming should they fail to get an equaliser.
  • 84'
    Giroud's just brought mirthless laughter from the Tottenham fans with an audacious effort on the spin that flies miles over the bar. To be fair to the Frenchman, the original touch to bring the dropping ball was brilliant but the final effort was poor to say the least. Dare we say it...but perhaps a certain Robin Van Persie could have tried something like that. Giroud on the other hand, much like at Chelsea a few weeks ago, has toiled up front.
  • 82'
    Rosicky has made an impact for Arsenal since coming on. He's had his injury problems but he still retains that creative edge that for all their pretty passing, Arsenal's current midfielders just lack a touch. Less than 10 minutes to play now and you have to say it's looking like Tottenham are going to move seven points clear of their opponents.
  • 80'
    Big, big chance for Arsenal there. A clever inside run by Theo Walcott takes the attention of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and leaves Aaron Ramsey in acres of space for him to run onto an incisive Rosicky pass. However, the Welshman never looked truly confident and dragged his shot wide of Hugo Lloris. Was that the chance for the Gunners?
  • 79'
    Podolski nearly provides an instant impact, latching onto a brilliantly improvised back-flick from Rosicky. However, his touch is heavy and it allows Lloris to gather easily.
  • 78'
    This is an incredibly attacking line-up now from Arsenal. Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, Cazorla, Wilshere and Rosicky are all on the pitch, as well as Ramsey at right-back. Wenger is certainly going for it.
  • 77'
    Substitution Mikel Arteta Lukas Podolski
  • 76'
    The sting just appears to have been taken out of Arsenal's attack in the last few minutes and perhaps that is why Wenger has now called upon Lukas Podolski, one of the goalscorers in the 5-2 win over Spurs back in November, to replace Arteta for the last quarter of an hour or so.
  • 73'
    Bale really does only need a second to make an impact doesn't he? The Spurs corner is cleared well enough by Arsenal but eventually the ball drops to the Welshman who fires in a full-throttle volley that would have ripped the net were it placed anywhere other than straight down Wojciech Szczęsny's midriff.
  • 71'
    Into the last third of the game now and it still feels like anybody's game. Arsenal have looked likely to equalise but at the same time, Tottenham have looked extremely capable of scoring the third and sealing the three points. Lennon's just jinked his way into the box but his shot is well blocked by Vermaelen out for a corner.
  • 69'
    Spurs should be 3-1 up! Defoe gets into the action for the first-time, running the channels and drawing the Arsenal defence out with him. The England man then picks out Gylfi Sigurdsson who advances in on goal and looks all but set to seal the game, only to take a heavy touch that sees him choose to pass instead of shoot, allowing Mertesacker to clear. From the very next attack, Defoe finds himself with the sort of chance he has put away for years only to drag his effort wide of the post. Spurs coming back into it now.
  • 67'
    Substitution Emmanuel Adebayor Jermain Defoe
  • 65'
    Adebayor's gone off injured, replaced by Jermain Defoe, who himself is only just returning from a lay-off. Arsenal very much have the momentum with just under 30 minutes to go here. Can Defoe prove to be the difference?
  • 64'
    The two captains almost come to blows. Emmanuel Adebayor goes down injured, much like Santi Cazorla did in the first-half before Tottenham's second goal. Much like Spurs did, Arsenal refuse to kick the ball out and instead play on, eventually winning a free-kick of their own. Michael Dawson takes offence to the lack of sportsmanship shown by the opposition but as Vermaelen appears to be reminding him, Spurs were hardly quick to kick the ball out themselves in the first half.
  • 62'
    Arsenal really pushing for the equaliser now and they camp themselves on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area with some wonderful one-touch midfield play. Santi Cazorla is at the heart of everything and he shows great vision to pick out the onrushing Ramsey from right-back. However, the chance is wasted when the Welshman's cross can only be nodded over by Walcott.
  • 60'
    Substitution Carl Jenkinson Tomas Rosicky
  • 60'
    Tomas Rosicky has come on for Carl Jenkinson, who has been quietly impressive this afternoon. That means that Aaron Ramsey, who has been a prominent figure in this second-half, will move to right-back. Ramsey up against Gareth Bale? It's a gamble from Arsene Wenger to say the least.
  • 59'
    What was I just saying? An Arsenal attack breaks down and Moussa Dembele has the freedom of White Hart Lane to charge forward, pick a pass out to Assou-Ekotto who squares a delicious ball across the face of goal that picks out Bale. However, with the goal at his mercy, Bale appears to lean back and skies the ball over the bar on his left-foot when a right-footed finish may well have found the net. Could that be a turning point?
  • 57'
    We've got a break in play now due to an injury suffered by Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman is OK though and that's given everyone a chance to draw breath. Spurs just need to keep their heads a little here. The more Arsenal come forward for the equaliser the more space they'll have on the counter-attack.
  • 55'
    On second viewing, it looks as if that Arsenal strike may just go down as a Gareth Bale own goal. The Gunners will not care one jot however. They're back in this game now and this second half has been set up perfectly.
  • 53'
    Arsenal really have the bit between their teeth now and have gone close to finding the equaliser three times in a matter of minutes. First Nacho Monreal rips a half-volley that flies past a sprawling Hugo Lloris. The Spurs goalkeeper then shows brilliant anticipation to swoop in and take the ball off the feet of Ramsey when the Welshman looked set to tuck home. Finally, Cazorla almost sends Theo Walcott clear but the Gunners frontman just can't collect the ball well enough to take it in his stride.
  • 51'
    Assist Theo Walcott
  • 51'
    Goal Per Mertesacker
    GOAL!!! Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal! The Gunners are back in it and of all people, it's Per Mertesacker who cleverly nods home! Aaron Ramsey does superbly well on the Spurs left to win a free-kick. Theo Walcott stands over it and curls in a wicked delivery that Mertesacker does quite brilliantly to stoop and head home for only his second goal for Arsenal, both against Tottenham this season.
  • 49'
    Arsenal have failed to get any real possession since the start of the second-half. In fact it's Spurs who look the hungrier at this moment in time. Worrying times for Arsene Wenger.
  • 47'
    Atmosphere just seems a little flat around White Hart Lane at the moment. You get the feeling Arsenal need to score quickly if they are to rescue this game. Sigurdsson tries a curled effort from just inside the box but it flies over the crossbar.
  • 46'
    Arsenal kick us off again. No changes made by either side at the break though that will surely change before too long from Arsenal's side if the scores stay the same.
  • Can Arsenal do anything to help turn the tide? Well taking advantage of the mountain of ball-time they seem to be getting down Tottenham's left-hand side, particularly against the dodgy-looking Benoit Assou-Ekotto would be a start. The delivery has been poor too often from the Gunners. On the bench, Arsene Wenger can call upon Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but things are looking grim for the under-pressure Frenchman at the moment. Defeat here would leave his side seven points behind their rivals in the race for the fourth and final Champions League place.
  • On both goals Arsenal's captain Thomas Vermaelen has a lot to answer for. It really was very poor defending from a defender of his supposed calibre. Take nothing away from the finishes by Bale and Lennon though, which were quite superb.
  • As for Spurs, well let's not forget that they were 2-0 up against Arsenal at the Emirates this time last year and went on to lose 5-2 but this feels rather different. This time it's at White Hart Lane and of course, Arsenal do not have Robin Van Persie to rescue them. Indeed, the more the Gunners come forward, the more the game will just open up for the pace of Bale and Lennon to take advantage of.
  • It's half-time here at the end of the breathless 45 minutes of football and Arsenal have it all to do. They've played reasonably well and at times have looked capable of opening the Spurs defence up at will. However, it's that old Achilles heel for the Gunners as two poor defensive lapses have allowed Spurs to score with their only two strikes on goal of the half.
  • 45'
    Two minutes of stoppage time here and Arsenal, having looked on top of matters here look totally devoid of all confidence at the moment. They don't quite deserve to be 2-0 down but if you don't take your chances and defend the way they did for both goals, you can have no complaints.
  • 43'
    White Hart Lane is absolutely bouncing. The atmosphere after both goals was simply crackling, the loudest I've certainly heard at the stadium in a long time. You can't exactly say it's been deserved as Arsenal have made most of the running this half but the Gunners simply haven't made the most of their opportunities and you simply cannot defend with such a high line against the likes of Bale and Lennon, particularly if you're going to give players total freedom to pick their passes into him.
  • 39'
    Goal Aaron Lennon
    GOAL!!!! Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal!! Arsenal have completely fallen apart here and now find themselves 2-0 down. Cazorla goes down and it looks as if the Gunners expect the referee to call the game back for the Spaniard to get medical attention. However, Spurs don't hesitate at all as Scott Parker threads in a ball that completely deceives Vermaelen, allowing Aaron Lennon to race onto it, round Szczesny with ease and roll in to send White Hart Lane into delirium.
  • 39'
    Assist Scott Parker
  • 37'
    Assist Gylfi Sigurdsson
  • 37'
    Goal Gareth Bale
    GOAL!!!!! Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal! Guess who? He's done absolutely nothing so far in this game but Gareth Bale only needs a second to change a game and he's just done it again. Sigurdsson, another one who has failed to impress so far in this game, cuts through the Arsenal defence with a wonderful pass that splits them wide open, leaving Bale one v one with the goalkeeper. He could easily panic but given the form he is in, no chance as he cleverly dinks the ball with the outside of his foot into the net.
  • 34'
    There hasn't been a real goalscoring chance of note that you can think of in this half. The wide positions have seen a lot of the action but the delivery from both sides has left much to be desired it has to be said. The pace remains absolutely remarkable though. How long can both sides keep this up?
  • 32'
    Superb play from Arsenal once again as some quickfire passing between Cazorla, Wilshere and Walcott sets Jenkinson haring away from Assou-Ekotto down the right flank. However, the right-back is perhaps just a little too quick for his team-mates as his fizzing delivery fails to find a red shirt.
  • 30'
    Yellow Card Aaron Ramsey
  • 29'
    Yellow Card Jan Vertonghen
  • 29'
    Both Vertonghen and Ramsey have just gone in the book for what you'd call "professional fouls". First the Belgian trips over Olivier Giroud when the Frenchman looked set to run clear before Ramsey pulled back a flying Aaron Lennon, whose pace has looked Tottenham's most prominent threat so far.
  • 27'
    Claims for a penalty here as a Tottenham corner is cleared only to bounce back into the box for Adebayor to run onto before being felled by Carl Jenkinson. However, referee Mark Clattenburg says no penalty and that looked the right call.
  • 25'
    Gareth Bale's supposedly had the least amount of touches of all 22 players on the pitch at the moment. Spurs do really need to involve him in the game more. In fairness to Arsenal everytime the Welshman has got the ball they've surrounded him and done well to snuff out any potential threat.
  • 22'
    The atmosphere has just been dampened at White Hart Lane and Arsenal are picking holes in the Spurs midfield at will at present. Cazorla finds himself in acres of space and picks a pass for Walcott to run onto. The Gunners top scorer just about evades the challenge of Kyle Walker but can't quite get the ball under his control and the chance is lost.
  • 19'
    Yellow Card Emmanuel Adebayor
  • 19'
    That was ludicrous from Adebayor. You'd have thought after the red card he was awarded at the Emirates earlier this season he'd have learned not to make challenges like that. The ball is fizzed into the big striker but his touch is poor and the ball runs away, into the path of Ramsey to nick it clear. However, the Welshman had not counted on Adebayor who flew in with a scything challenge. That was a very deserved yellow card for the Tottenham striker.
  • 17'
    Cries of anger from the stands at White Hart Lane as Thomas Vermaelen crunches in on Parker. The challenge is fair though and suddenly Wilshere finds himself away with a turn and swivel. However, with options left and right, the England midfielder's through ball is overhit.
  • 15'
    Spurs are now getting their foot on the ball a little more and they need to. The Gunners were threatening to overwhelm them slightly with their midfield passing. Gareth Bale hasn't got in the game at all so far but that can change in an instant.
  • 13'
    The pace has dropped a little. From 200 miles per hour to 180. Breathing's overrated.
  • 11'
    Arsenal have just threatened again and they really have made an impressive start here. Some more wonderful midfield interplay between Wilshere, Arteta and Ramsey sees the Welshman sent through on goal and momentarily it just looks like he'll get to the ball before Lloris only for the Spurs goalie to make himself big and clear the ball to safety.
  • 9'
    This match is so open, it's difficult to keep up. Arsenal have just gone close to going ahead again when a searching ball from Cazorla is beautifully taken down by Giroud. However, when the Frenchman looked set to pull the trigger, Dawson stepped in to rescue his side once again and the shot was scuffed safely into the hands of Lloris. The visitors have been the better side so far, it has to be said.
  • 7'
    Half a chance for Giroud there. Wilshere curls in an Arsenal corner that the Frenchman gets his head to. However, the ball is slightly behind him and he can only direct his effort straight at international compatriot Lloris. Almost immediately, Spurs break away at pace through Kyle Walker who somehow finds himself in the Arsenal box only to see his cross cleared. What a start this is!
  • 5'
    Arsenal have just calmed matters down a little here and have managed to string a few passes together. Giroud is also proving a handful up front and his flick on is almost perfect for Theo Walcott to stride onto but Dawson stays strong and clears.
  • 4'
    This match has started at an absolutely riveting pace. Arsenal are not being given any time on the ball whatsoever and the Tottenham fans are loving every single second of it.
  • 2'
    The Spurs fans are in full voice here and they think they've just missed a sitter when Michael Dawson throws himself at an inswinging Bale free kick only to miss the ball altogether. However, the England defender had just strayed offside.
  • 1'
    Tottenham kick us off here.
  • The players have just come out to an absolutely raucous atmosphere at White Hart Lane. This should be an absolute cracker. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint!
  • This game could depend on how Arsenal's shaky backline deal with Tottenham's potentially electric attacking trio of Bale, Adebayor and Lennon. However, the Gunners rather surprisingly have the best defensive away record in the league this season and if they can somehow keep the shackles on the likes of Bale, then the visitor's superior looking midfield of Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey and Cazorla could take hold of affairs at White Hart Lane.
  • This from our man Wayne Veysey at White Hart Lane: "The atmosphere is building at an expectant White Hart Lane ahead of a north London derby that could have major ramifications for this season's Champions League places. The players have just returned to the dressing rooms to make final preparations following the warm-ups. Man-of-the-moment Gareth Bale was all smiles as he chatted with fellow Wales international Aaron Ramsey in the tunnel."
  • So where will this game be won and lost? Much has been made in recent days of the clash between the two former Southampton fliers with Gareth Bale up against Theo Walcott. Both have 18 goals to their name this season and both have a penchant for scoring against each other's clubs. Look out for Adebayor too. The man from Togo has had a poor season but if there is one game where you can usually guarantee him to show up for, it is a North London Derby, particularly since his acrimonious move away from Arsenal in 2009. Let's not forget that Adebayor gave Tottenham the lead at the Emirates back in November, before recklessly being sent off minutes later. Arsenal would go on to win by a 5-2 scoreline yet again. What impact will he have this afternoon?
  • As for Arsenal, well contrary to popular belief, the Gunners have actually been in good league form. Their 2-1 win over Aston Villa last week was their third in succession and lifts them to within touching distance of the top four. The club's confidence has been hit by the cup defeats to Blackburn and Bayern Munich but in the Premier League at least, the Gunners have been showing signs of increasing momentum ahead of today's crucial match.
  • However, haven't we heard something like that before? It was of course this time last year that Harry Redknapp's Tottenham side travelled to the Emirates a full 10 points ahead of Arsenal. Indeed, after going 2-0 up on 34 minutes, the gap was a mammoth 13. However, the Gunners staged a remarkable comeback to win 5-2. Spurs never recovered and Arsenal would eventually pip them to third place. Redknapp's team would not even make the Champions League despite their fourth-placed finish due to Chelsea's surprise success in the competition and within weeks, the manager was also gone, along with key midfielders Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart. Are things any different under Andre Villas-Boas? We'll find out a little more this afternoon.
  • So, just what does this game mean besides local bragging rights? Well, Tottenham finally look set to make the breakthrough and finish above Arsene Wenger's Arsenal in the Premier League. The Lilywhites are currently in fourth place, four points ahead of their opponents from N5 at the moment in the race for a place in next season's Champions League.
  • Arsenal meanwhile make only one change from the side that sneaked a win over Aston Villa last week, with Abou Diaby failing to recover from a knock that saw him limp off in that game. That means Aaron Ramsey, a goalscorer in Arsenal's last trip to White Hart Lane, comes into midfield alongside Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere. Theo Walcott, who has scored three times in his last two matches against Spurs, is accompanied by Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla in the Gunners' front three.
  • So Tottenham make two changes from the team that won late on at West Ham on Monday night, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Gylfi Sigurdsson starting in place of Steven Caulker and Lewis Holtby. Emmanuel Adebayor, who is the record goalscorer in North London Derbies, starts up front even though Jermain Defoe is now fit again. Oh and you won't be surprised to know that a certain Gareth Bale also starts. Of course he does.
  • Let's get straight into the team news: ottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Dembele, Parker, Lennon, Bale, Sigurdsson, Adebayor. Subs: Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Defoe, Holtby, Livermore, Carroll. Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla, Giroud. Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Gervinho. Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
  • Hello and welcome to Goal.com UK's play-by-play coverage of the North London Derby at White Hart Lane between Tottenham and Arsenal. The last six clashes between these two sides have seen 33 goals scored overall, so expect a cast-iron 0-0 draw. Only kidding, this well and truly should be a cracker. I'm Adam Mazrani, and I'll be taking you through proceedings here.
  • Hello and welcome to Goal.com UK's play-by-play coverage of the North London Derby at White Hart Lane between Tottenham and Arsenal. The last six clashes between these two sides have seen 33 goals scored overall, so expect a cast-iron 0-0 draw. Only kidding, this well and truly should be a cracker. I'm Adam Mazrani, and I'll be taking you through proceedings here.