Tottenham Hotspur 0 Arsenal 1
(Rosicky 2)

Tomas Rosicky took all of 72 seconds to sink Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Sunday afternoon kick off. Aware that Liverpool had won at Old Trafford earlier in the day and seeing that Manchester City had beaten Hull, Arsenal came into this North London derby in the knowledge that even a draw would not be good enough for the Gunners to sustain their title challenge. That was all the more important givens that Chelsea had lost at Villa Park on Saturday evening. Arsenal next head for Stamford Bridge in another vital game for Arsene Wenger’s side. They will be heartened to have held out against a thorough examination by Spurs, and another similar defensive outing will be crucial against next opponents Chelsea.

” It gets us a bit closer to Chelsea and makes the game next week even more interesting. We are now back to four points, we have a game in hand and we have played two away games on the trot because Swansea was postponed so we have five games at home. We’ll see, it makes the next game a very big one,” said Wenger.

” The next game will have a vital importance. I believe as well we came out of three games, Everton, Bayern and today where mentally every time you have to be absolutely focused. That’s where I think our defenders have done extremely well because there is no ordinary moment in a game like that and they managed to keep their focus up completely for 90 minutes in every single game,” he continued.

Barely two minutes had elapsed when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain broke through from midfield. He found Rosicky out on the right and continued his run into the Spurs’ half. Rosicky raced away getting a fortunate deflection from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return pass, and with a thunderbolt of a right footed shot beat Hugo Lloris from an acute angle.

It was just the start Arsenal needed, and sent a shocked silence over the home crowd. Without the services of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil, the Gunners knew that they would have to adapt in very challenging circumstances. Thankfully Kieran Gibbs was back in defence alongside Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertersacker and Bacary Sagna, and that unit held firm.

Spurs were denied time and space in the last third and Wojciech Szczesny was rarely troubled in the first half. In fact, Oxlade-Chamberlain should have doubled Arsenal’s first half lead when he broke out from Nabil Bentaleb’s challenge. At pace, the England man bore down with only Lloris in his sights, and Podolski bearing in from the left. Oxlade-Chamberlain attempted to chip the Spurs’ keeper but scuffed his effort which almost fell into Podolski’s path, but Spurs survived.

Szczesny had hardly been called upon, but moments into the second half, a touch of the nervous kind almost cost the Gunners. Having failed to hold onto a cross, the under pressure Szczesny glanced at referee Mike Dean, but no foul was given. Soon after Nacer Chadli took advantage of Szczesny’s inability to hold onto another cross, and having rounded the ‘keeper, Chadli saw the well positioned Koscielny block in front of his open goal.

Emmanuel Adebayor was making his presence felt, but in this mood for aerial dominance, Mertersacker and Koscielny were not going to be beaten. One header of note from the former Arsenal player drifted wide of Szczesny’s upright, and a shot from range which the Poland keeper held. It may not have been the best ever Arsenal performance, but they will take the three points and move on to the short trip to Stamford Bridge where another vital London derby awaits. For now, Wenger will savour another win.

” It is a huge result. We were under pressure to win before the game because of course it was a very important game. After that it was a mixture, our early goal a little bit influenced too much the way we played because we missed the second goal and after that we wanted to protect the lead. Sometimes we were under pressure, Tottenham played well you must say. For me they were absolutely up for it and we needed some special resilience to get away with it. As long as we didn’t score the second goal of course it was a very tight game. But in the end for us it’s three massive points,” noted Wenger.