Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0 match report: Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky inflict the ultimate punishment on Spurs

Arsenal take advantage of errors from Sherwood’s men to claim bragging rights in the north London derby and keep Wenger on course to end their nine-year drought without silverware

Emirates Stadium

Arsenal secured north London bragging rights and a place in the FA Cup fourth round with an ultimately comfortable victory over Tottenham this evening, but it was not without cost. The Premier League leaders, already beset by a growing injury list, had Theo Walcott taken off on a stretcher and also had to withdraw Thomas Vermaelen.

Since Walcott was only playing centre-forward as Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bentdner were injured, a plunge into the transfer market by Arsène Wenger seems increasingly likely.

A high-tempo derby that showed Tim Sherwood the scale of the task he faces as he tries to overhaul Spurs’ neighbours was won by goals in the 32nd and 62nd minutes by Santi Cazorla and, after a howler by Danny Rose, Tomas Rosicky.

Wenger has now seen off so many Tottenham managers he is facing ones who used to be playing against his Arsenal team. Few, though have been as adventurous as Sherwood, who deployed twin strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado in an attack-minded formation. And why not attack, given this team (aside from Nabil Bentaleb, who made a full debut) won at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day?

Sherwood’s strong selection was no surprise. Tottenham are engaged in a four-way fight for the last Champions’ League spot, but they are not favoured to win it, and the blame for failure will lie with his predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas. There is also the Europa League, but Sherwood is English, and of a generation to whom the FA Cup mattered. He knew, too, that Spurs have a rich relationship with the competition and winning it would cement his place in the supporters’ affections.

Wenger will have been more ambivalent about the competition; he needs a trophy, but with Arsenal top of the Premier League would much preferred to have fielded an ersatz side. The opposition’s identity made that impossible, and though he made four changes from the side that began Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat of Cardiff City, only Lukasz Fabianski and Serge Gnabry were infrequent members of the first team.

Tottenham began the brighter, taking the game to Arsenal, and should have led after eight minutes. Christian Eriksen, one of those brought in from the cold by Sherwood, seized on an error by Vermaelen and advanced on Fabianski, but the Pole blocked the Dane’s shot with his legs.

The drawback with Tottenham’s intent was that it played to Arsenal’s counterattacking strength, and Walcott twice broke behind their back four. He shot early after 11 minutes, bringing a decent save at full stretch from Hugo Lloris, then watched another effort deflect agonisingly over the bar. From the corner Gnabry also sent a shot skimming above the net.

Tottenham’s retorts were initially directed towards Vermaelen, no longer an imperious presence. Though he expertly dispossessed Aaron Lennon as the speedster threatened to fly by, a tackle on Moussa Dembélé was poorly timed. But Eriksen’s free-kick was wayward and Arsenal resumed thir control.

After Rosicky had shot over, Walcott ought to have scored when released by Cazorla, but a poor first touch narrowed his angle and Lloris saved his shot. It seemed the England man was fluffling his audition for a more prolonged run in his desired centre-forward role, but then came a smart bit of forward play. Gnabry picked up the ball between the lines and, with Walcott’s intelligent angled run taking defenders away, was able to find Cazorla in space on the left. The Spaniard’s finish was clinical.

With that goal the pace eased. Totteham were wary of conceding a second, Arsenal had no need to push hard for one. Walcott shot over and Soldado wide, but the main interest was a simmering feud between Jack Wilshere and Dembélé that will have ensured Mark Clattenburg’s mind did not drift back to Southampton’s ill-judged cricism of him.

Spurs should have levelled early in the second period but, in a moment Arsenal fans enjoyed almost as much as their goals, Adebayor mis-kicked attempting a close-range volley with the goal at his mercy.

As they pressed, Arsenal found more space, and Walcott rounded Lloris on the hour only to find the angle too tight.

Then came Rose’s nightmare. Dawdling in possession on the halfway line, the left-back was robbed by Rosicky, who was just quick enough to stay clear of Kyle Walker before chipping over Lloris.

Though Arsenal later went down to 10 men after Walcott was carried off with what appeared an ankle injury after falling awkwardly while tackling Rose, the game was beyond Spurs.

Clattenburg watch

Twenty-four hours after Southampton's demand that Mark Clattenburg does not officiate their matches after they felt he insulted Adam Lallana at Everton last week – he is alleged to have told him, “you're very different now since you played for England” – the referee was back on duty at the Emirates. How did he do?

Reception

A good match for Clattenburg in that both sets of supporters were far more interested in taunting each other than in abusing the referee. Aside from wails of complaint about decisions that went against their team Clattenburg was ignored.

Key decisions

Tim Sherwood was furious when Clattenburg waved play on after Aaron Lennon went down under a challenge from Thomas Vermaelen, but television pictures proved the Belgian made a good tackle. He also correctly played on after the ball bounced up to strike Santi Cazorla in the area and when Kyle Walker took an exaggerated tumble in the box.

Player interaction

There was no sign of his perceived “chumminess” with players. His most active intervention was to defuse a simmering feud between Jack Wilshere and Mousa Dembélé, which he did like a schoolteacher breaking up a playground argument.

Glenn Moore

Line-ups:

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen (Mertesacker, h-t), Monreal; Wilshere, Arteta (Özil, 75); Rosicky, Gnabry, Walcott, Cazorla.

Tottenham (4-4-2): Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose; Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembélé, Eriksen; Soldad, Adebayor.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Man of the match: Walcott (Arsenal)

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935