Derby delight for slick Spurs
Spurs claimed their first league win over Arsenal for 11 years to step up their top-four challenge.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 15/04/10 12:51pm
Tottenham claimed their first league win over Arsenal for 11 years to step up their Champions League challenge and potentially kill off Arsenal's title hopes.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp made a surprise selection by handing a Premier League debut to Danny Rose and just 10 minutes in, the 19-year-old midfielder gave Spurs the lead with a stunning 25-yard volley.
The hosts were firmly in control when barely a minute after the restart, Gareth Bale tucked away his first goal since September 2007 - also against the Gunners.
Fit-again Robin van Persie came on for his first appearance in five months and inspired Arsenal to a late rally, which saw Nicklas Bendtner pull one back in the 85th minute.
But Spurs hung on to bounce back from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat by Portsmouth and go back within a point of fourth-placed Manchester City.
And that left Arsenal six points off league leaders Chelsea with just four games remaining in the title race, leaving their north London rivals with little chance of ending their five-year wait for silverware this season.
Spurs were lifted by the return of skipper Ledley King from a thigh injury and showed little sign of tired legs from Sunday's extra-time defeat.
Much of the pre-match focus was on Sol Campbell's return to White Hart Lane and the former Tottenham captain's every touch was predictably greeted with a chorus of jeers.
But the ex-England defender almost silenced the home fans with a minute on the clock only for his goalbound header to be cleared off the line by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Michael Dawson made a crucial tackle on Tomas Rosicky as he was pulling the trigger 10 yards out.
Arsenal's early promise ended, however, when debutant Rose smashed home his contender for goal of the season.
Manuel Almunia punched a corner out of the box but it fell to Rose, whose thunderbolt return screamed over Almunia's head, with the Spanish keeper having only just regained his footing.
Moments earlier, Thomas Vermaelen had blocked Roman Pavlyuchenko's close-range shot and Arsenal's problems deepened when the Belgian defender limped off to be replaced by Mikael Silvestre.
The goal knocked the wind out of Arsenal's sails but they slowly clawed their way back into the match.
Bendtner was teed up by Rosicky but, despite only being 12 yards out and having time on the ball, he scuffed a poor shot towards keeper Heurelho Gomes.
Panic reigned in Arsenal's defence when Silvestre gave Luka Modric a glimpse of goal with a careless touch but Almunia blocked and then Campbell came to the rescue.
Spurs replaced Rose with David Bentley at half-time and it took just a minute for the Champions League hopefuls to extend their lead.
Jermain Defoe did well to hold off Emmanuel Eboue and pick out Bale with a beautifully-weighted through-ball, and the in-form Welsh wideman steadied himself before stroking it into the bottom corner.
Defoe and Pavlyuchenko were then scrambling frantically to take advantage of hesitancy in the visitors' defence as Spurs pushed for a third.
Van Persie return
Bendtner dragged a shot narrowly wide of the left post and, in the 68th minute, the Danish striker was joined up front by Van Persie.
The Dutch striker forced a fine reflex save from Gomes and the Brazilian then punched clear three successive hanging balls amid a mass of bodies.
Better was to come from Gomes, however, as he made a magnificent stop from Van Persie's free-kick before turning a Campbell header onto the crossbar.
But he was powerless to prevent Arsenal pulling one back with five minutes left as Van Persie fed Theo Walcott to square for Bendtner to slide in his ninth goal in 11 games from six yards.
The Gunners poured forward in search of an equaliser but Spurs held out for a famous victory over their north London rivals.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||6|
|3||Shots off Target||9|