Match Report: Arsenal's Santi Cazorla tears ten-man Tottenham apart

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Arsenal 5 Tottenham Hotspur 2: Spaniard sparkles for Arsenal after Adebayor's red card spoils scoring return to his former club

Emirates Stadium

The most frequently drawn fixture in the Premier League era offered the early possibility of another of its famous four-fours until a mist as red as an Arsenal shirt descended on Emmanuel Adebayor, who having scored the opening goal against his old club, was sent off for a ridiculous challenge on Santi Cazorla.

One-nil up at the time, which could easily have been two after their storming start, Tottenham’s unreliable defence never seemed likely to hang on for another 72 minutes. Sure enough, they were three-one down by half-time and when Arsenal scored the next goal as well, the game was well and truly over.

Adebayor’s mad moment made it difficult to assess the teams’ respective strengths. Arsène Wenger has promised Arsenal will finish ahead of their rivals, as they have done every year since his arrival from Japan, and that would be the safest bet. It must have been daunting for Andre Villas-Boas before his first north London derby to note that Arsenal in their worst start to a season for 30 years were still only one point behind Tottenham. Now they are two ahead with every chance of staying there.

What was clear yesterday was that since losing Luka Modric, Spurs have no creative midfielder remotely in the class of Cazorla. Theo Walcott was also excellent and Olivier Giroud, taking his run to four goals in three games with another here, has the self-belief that eluded Marouane Chamakh a year ago. For Tottenham, highest marks went to Gareth Bale, who worked hard and made some fine individual runs, even if Jermain Defoe was rightly furious at him for shooting instead of not squaring the ball to him at 4-2.

As part of Villas-Boas’s bold strategy, Spurs had for once gone into the game with two out-and-out strikers, then found themselves reduced to one within a few minutes of the pair combining for the first goal. The visitors had already put the ball past Wojciech Szczesny, returning after injury, but William Gallas was marginally offside. If one former Arsenal man was to be denied, the other was not; Adebayor was left with a jubilant tap-in after Per Mertesacker allowed Defoe to run off him and shoot, Szczesny only parrying the drive.

Adebayor remains one of only two men – the Scottish winger Jimmy Robertson was the other – to have scored in this fixture for both clubs, but that is not what his day will be remembered for. In the 18th minute, he slid in dangerously with both feet and caught Cazorla above the ankle. The Spaniard fortunately avoided serious injury but there could be no doubt about the colour of card Howard Webb pulled out of his pocket.

It was bizarre that Villas-Boas could claim that was not a turning point. Aaron Lennon, running at the left-back Thomas Vermaelen, had just shot narrowly wide of the far post and Spurs were by far the more dangerous team. But from then until half-time they were thrown onto the back foot, and conceded three times in little more than 20 minutes.

The equaliser in the 24th minute came from Arsenal’s first attack of any significance. Vermaelen had a shot blocked and before Spurs regained possession the ball was worked out to the right and crossed by Walcott for a firm header by Mertesacker. Hugo Lloris, picked ahead of Brad Friedel, kept out two headers from Giroud but in the short period before the interval he was beaten twice more; unluckily as Lukas Podolski’s scuffed shot bobbled into the net off Gallas and unstoppably by Giroud’s clever low sweep of a shot from Cazorla’s run after Webb played a good advantage.

That third goal, Villas-Boas could more reasonably claim, was a decisive moment. At half-time he removed both full-backs, neither of whom had distinguished themselves, and went with three defenders, bringing on Michael Dawson and, further forward, Clint Dempsey.

Dempsey, however, has yet to show any of his impressive Fulham form of last season and Dawson was always likely to have his hands and feet full against the newly confident Giroud. Just before the hour Walcott sent Podolski away on the left for a fine low cross that Cazorla converted with ease. Four-one and the statisticians were looking up the biggest margins of derby victory in recent times (one 5-0 each). Spurs, to their credit, kept pushing forward and Bale picked up Sandro’s headed pass to score with his right-foot. Had he picked out Defoe a few minute later instead of shooting, the visiting supporters would have had even more to cheer.

Wenger was sufficiently concerned to send on the (allegedly) defensive Andre Santos for Podolski, but the Tottenham ten were weary and the rest of the traffic was in one direction. Walcott might twice have crowned his performance with goals, and finally did so right at the death, driving in a pass by the substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. At the final whistle, Arsenal’s players embarked on a lap of honour to celebrate the conquest of north London and the songs, rightly, rang out for Cazorla.

Arsenal  (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny,Vermaelen; Arteta, Wilshere (Ramsey, 72); Walcott (90), Cazorla, Podolski (Santos, 80); Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 86).

Tottenham (4-4-2): Lloris; Walker (Dawson, h-t), Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton (Dempsey, h-t); Lennon, Sandro, Huddlestone (Carroll, 72),  Bale; Adebayor, Defoe.

Referee: Howard Webb

Man of the match: Cazorla (Arsenal)

Match rating:  8/10

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup