Spurs are new cocks of north as agony goes on for Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Arsenal 1

White Hart Lane

There was a time when this result in the north London derby would have represented a seismic shift of power in this part of the world, or failing that a massive fluke, but not any longer.

After a generation of being subordinate to their local rivals, Tottenham Hotspur under Harry Redknapp are liberating themselves from the yoke of Arsenal's dominance, to the extent that they no longer celebrate derby victories like some kind of independence day. Certainly, in the sunshine yesterday, they lapped up victory at White Hart Lane but it is becoming commonplace: this made it three wins and a draw for Spurs in their last four league meetings with Arsenal.

In the greatest years of Arsène Wenger's reign at Arsenal, Tottenham were an irrelevance to their rival's ambitions of league titles and Champions League football. As it stands today, Spurs are nine places ahead of them in the Premier League and have the kind of depth and experience in their squad that makes them credible challengers for a Champions League place. No one, not even Wenger, is quite sure what Arsenal's feasible targets are this season.

Before they had succumbed to Kyle Walker's winning goal yesterday, the Arsenal fans sang "What's it like on Channel Five?" to the home support, in recognition of Spurs' downgrading to the Europa League. Yet, by the end, even their former striker Alan Smith, a pundit on Sky Sports, had reluctantly proclaimed that he could not see how Arsenal could preserve their record of 15 consecutive seasons in the Champions League.

It is not as if Arsenal were in a desperate state and, at times in the first half and after Aaron Ramsey's equaliser on 52 minutes, they looked like a side who might just match Spurs. But, increasingly, it is Redknapp's team who have the experience and quality to carry them through the difficult times and see out difficult matches.

Wenger left White Hart Lane cursing Rafael van der Vaart's equaliser which he claimed was a handball but, even on the replays, that was by no means definitive. The Dutch striker controlled Emmanuel Adebayor's cross high on his chest near his shoulder to bring the ball down and score. Had he been booked for a deliberate handball it would have been his second yellow of the game.

The pain just keeps coming for Arsenal. The winner was a shot that Wojciech Szczesny should have saved but the ball dipped and swerved in front of him. Earlier, Bacary Sagna had fallen awkwardly after a challenge from Benoît Assou-Ekotto and turned his ankle. He was taken straight to hospital and Wenger proclaimed himself "very worried" about the prospect the right-back had broken his ankle.

The uncomfortable truth is that too many of Wenger's players simply did not exert enough influence on the game, starting with Robin van Persie and extending to the ineffectual Theo Walcott and Gervinho. Redknapp admitted his team found themselves out-numbered in midfield in the first half and that he toyed with the idea of changing it but his side came good eventually in a manner that just seems beyond Arsenal in these big games.

Redknapp owed much to Scott Parker, who bustled around in midfield, making the important tackles that held Arsenal at bay. In the first half, Walcott and then Gervinho missed chances, the second of which, from a cut back from Van Persie, was an atrocious effort that did not even hit the target. Wenger's team had opportunities and the way they are playing they can no longer afford to be so profligate.

Asked afterward whether he thought his team could still win the title, Wenger said it was now about "realistic targets". The problem for him is that old journalistic chestnut, the time when a manager is asked to effectively concede that the title race is run, is now coming earlier and earlier for him. It is only just October and already his team are 12 points behind the leaders. As for Spurs, that opening defeat to Manchester City feels like a distant memory as they rise to sixth place with fourth in their sights if they can win the game in hand.

Their first goal was a sweet, flowing move from Luka Modric to Van der Vaart, to Jermain Defoe and out to Adebayor before the ball was crossed back to Van der Vaart to score at the back post. Neither Sagna nor Per Mertesacker put in a credible challenge. The Dutch playmaker was less impressive when tasked with tracking Alex Song's run around the right flank of the Spurs' defence. His cross to the near post was steered past Brad Friedel by Ramsey and, for a while, it looked like Arsenal might hold on for a point. Szczesny made an excellent one-handed save from Adebayor when the striker went through on goal.

As it turned out, Redknapp brought Van der Vaart off for Sandro to lend greater strength to Spurs' midfield and they stepped up the pace again. Walker's winning goal was another attack that was not properly cleared, eventually falling to the young Englishman, who hit a powerful shot, pretty much straight at Szczesny. Somehow the Arsenal goalkeeper, despite getting his hands to the ball, failed to bring the shot under control and it was past him.

There was a later chance for Gareth Bale to score when Mertesacker allowed the ball to bounce in the area, but the winger put his chance wide of the post. By the end of the game there was a familiar despair etched on Wenger's face and his frustration seemed to be as much about his own team as it was about any perceived injustices.

His refusal to shake the hand of Spurs' coach Clive Allen at the end of the game, and his subsequent refusal to discuss the incident, was the kind of silly stand-off that tends to happen when teams and managers are under pressure. To be fair to Wenger, Allen often has rather a lot to say during games, a characteristic that used to rile Martin Jol when he was manager, never mind opposition benches.

At the moment, however, the Arsenal manager looks a haunted, hunted man. With Arsenal sitting 16th in the table with seven games played it is far from over, but even so it is difficult to know when the potential Wenger believes his team possesses will emerge.

Adebayor watch: how he fared against old club

Before kick-off

Adebayor looks happy and relaxed meeting his former team-mates, warmly greeting the Arsenal team in the pre-match handshake. Even old pal Robin van Persie, with whom he fell out very publicly.

5 minutes

Gallops down the right wing, beating Alex Song, but Adebayor is robbed in the penalty area by Francis Coquelin.

37 minutes

After a quiet half-hour, Adebayor finally gets on the ball, but loses out to Song on the right. Looking peripheral.

40 minutes

Adebayor sets up Spurs' opening goal: he chips a perfect cross to Rafael van der Vaart, peeling off at the far post, and the Dutchman controls well and volleys in.

53 minutes

With Arsenal now level, Adebayor storms through down the middle, but is left two yards offside by a successful Arsenal trap.

57 minutes

Played in by Van der Vaart, Adebayor is clean through on goal with ample time and space. He tries to shoot into the bottom corner, but Wojciech Szczesny brilliantly stops him with a sprawling save.

80 minutes

Adebayor wrestles Song off the ball in the box, but concedes a free-kick before shooting wide.

84 minutes

Harry Redknapp takes Adebayor off for young midfielder Jake Livermore. The Togo striker is warmly applauded.

Substitutes: Tottenham Sandro 6 (Van der Vaart, 63), Livermore (Adebayor, 84), Corluka (Parker, 90). Arsenal Jenkinson 5 (Sagna, 68), Benayoun 5 (Walcott, 72), Arshavin (Gervinho, 77). Booked: Tottenham Van der Vaart, Parker. Arsenal Mertesacker. Man of the match Bale.

Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Tottenham 49% Arsenal 51%.

Attempts on target: Tottenham 8 Arsenal 7.

Referee M Dean (Wirral).

Attendance 36,274.

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.

Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
arts + ents Samuel L Jackson and Michael Madsen have taken part in a reading of Quentin Tarantino’s axed follow-up to Django Unchained.
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit