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).

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015