Football: Petit puts Arsenal on the way

Premiership: Arsenal and Chelsea take full advantage as Irwin is sent off and Ferguson's men drop two points

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 3

WHITE HART LANE was a cacophony of noise last night with the excitement of four goals, countless near misses and a mid-pitch dust-up all adding to the clamour. But the loudest cheer of all signalled a goal scored more than 200 miles away.

Paul Ince's equaliser for Liverpool sent the small pocket of Arsenal fans tucked into a corner of this ground into raptures. It also handed Arsenal the chance to decide their own destiny. If they can beat Leeds, at Elland Road on Tuesday, and Aston Villa at home on 16 May, and score plenty of goals in the process, they will retain the Premiership.

Easy? No. Achievable? Yes.

"We needed them to slip up to have a chance," said Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, "now it is very tight. We are not favourites, Manchester United have more games and therefore more chances to score goals."

Arsenal scored three last night but could have had plenty more after cutting Tottenham to ribbons in the opening 40 minutes. In the event, however, they were happy to win by any margin.

"We had a great first half, our passing was excellent," added Wenger. "To come in only leading 2-1 was difficult, it should have been 4-0, so we had to be strong mentally in the second half."

Arsenal utterly dominated for 40 minutes with the outstanding Dennis Bergkamp creating goals for Emmanuel Petit, after 16 minutes, and Nicolas Anelka, after 33. Anelka then hit the bar before Darren Anderton sneaked a 43rd-minute free-kick under David Seaman to set up a frantic second period. It was only when Nwankwo Kanu settled the match with a sublime goal five minutes from time that Arsenal could relax.

Nigel Winterburn, however, overdid the celebrations and is to be reported for "inciting behaviour" by Graham Poll, the fourth official. Winterburn taunted Spurs fans and abused a steward, he also seemed to give Poll a mouthful. His actions, while unpardonable in view of Sunday's events in Glasgow, illustrated the tension that surrounds this match.

Arsenal have been irritating their north London neighbours ever since they moved, despite Tottenham's opposition, from Plumstead to Islington in 1913. Arsenal since have won 10 titles to Tottenham's two - the last of which was 38 years ago - and even eclipsed Spurs' crowning glory, the Double of 1960-61, by securing a brace of their own.

A win at White Hart Lane set up the first of those Doubles in 1971 and the importance of last night's match evoked memories of that night, not least for George Graham, the Spurs manager, who was in that Arsenal side. So busy were the streets then that Alan Mullery had had to run the last three miles to the ground.

The streets were much quieter last night, except for a large police presence, but inside the remodelled Lane it was bedlam. It was a night to stand up and be counted, for "stars" to live up to reputations. David Ginola, against Lee Dixon, his old bete noir, looked in the mood, skipping past the full-back in the second minute before whipping in a cross which Tony Adams scrambled away.

After that, however, he was shackled by Dixon and Ray Parlour and it was Bergkamp who took centre stage. After eight minutes, he bustled between Luke Young and Sol Campbell before offering Marc Overmars a mouth-watering opportunity which Ian Walker did brilliantly to deny.

Eight minutes later, with Spurs pushing forward, Bergkamp slipped a pass to Petit who had burst unnoticed through the centre. He looped the ball over Walker and "one-nil to the Ar-se-nal" rang out from the red-and-white corner.

Soon it was two-nil as Bergkamp rolled a pass between Young and Campbell for Anelka to sprint on to. The finish was immaculate and, had it been matched when Bergkamp again released him three minutes later, a repeat of the 6-0 drubbing of 1935 would have loomed. Instead Walker saved Anelka's shot and then watched, relieved, as the Frenchman's header from the subsequent corner hit the bar.

Anderton's goal, from a free-kick won by Ginola, gave Spurs heart while Tim Sherwood's heavy tackle on Patrick Vieira, soon after the break, further increased the tempo. The subsequent melee brought a caution for Petit - Parlour, Young, Anderton and Dixon were also booked. But, while Spurs huffed and puffed, Arsenal created the better chances and, after Overmars missed two, Kanu chipped Young before driving past Walker to clinch victory.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Young, Campbell, Taricco (Sinton, 77); Anderton, Freund, Sherwood, Ginola (Dominguez, 77); Iversen, Armstrong. Substitutes not used: Clemence, Nilsen, Baardsen (gk).

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Keown, Winterburn; Parlour (Vivas, 57), Vieira, Petit, Overmars; Bergkamp (Kanu, 75), Anelka. Substitutes not used: Lukic (gk), Grimandi, Diawara.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions