Spurs couldn't handle Arsenal's skill or the atmosphere.
Although they led 1-0 in four minutes and 2-0 in 34, Spurs were never in control of the game.
Most Gooners were apprehensive about Sunday's derby. A few thought Arsenal would win, many would have taken a 1-1.
Before the game, Bob Wilson said, "I'll take a 0-0."
But the score was Arsenal 5 Spurs 2.
Arsenal needed that. They really needed that.
Five goals, three points, fourth place, above Chelsea on goal difference. The atmosphere at 3-2 was white-hot.
We know that football is unpredictable.
Where did Arsenal's five goals come from? Where did Tottenham’s collapse come from?
A handsome 5-2 victory from 2-0 down.
But how did Arsenal score five goals after not scoring at all against Sunderland or Milan?
My pet theory has been modified : Every football match contains the previous match, unless it's a North London derby.
The Saha goal, the Ade penalty?
First goal came in 3.54 minutes.
Gooners feared an early goal and here it was, a typical HarrySpurs attack, a big fast zigzag move, Adebayor drew Koscielny wide on the left, Saha was always going to shoot with his left foot, waited for the Ade's crossfield pass to reach him, Gibbs was asleep, not doing his job, not covering until it was far too late, Saha's shot flicked off Vermaelen’s heel, looped over Szczesny.
Arsenal 0 Spurs 1.
Defence ripped to shreds inside four minutes.
I thought : Spurs are very direct. Whereas Arsenal don't play direct, don’t train direct, can't defend against direct.
That quick break opened up Arsenal’s dodgy defence with alarming ease. But Van Persie hit a tremendous shot that deflected off Kaboul and went wide. Friedel tipped over a Rosicky header, Szczesny saved at the feet of Adebayor, Walker hit a rebound over the bar, Rosicky and Benayoun, surprise ｓ ｅｌｅｃｔions, were linking well, looking to earn new contracts.
Then Modric hit a defence-splitting pass into Gareth Bale’s explosive run and Bale dived over the keeper’s arm.
Never a penalty!
But Bale, a notorious diver, conned Mike Dean and Ade made it 2-0 from the spot.
Mike Dean can't be sure. That penalty call is like an l.b.w -if the umpire isn't 100% sure, he can't give a batsman out. If Mike Dean isn't 100% sure, he can't give that penalty. And he couldn't be sure.
Arsenal 0 Spurs 2 in 34 minutes.
The Spurs method is all about how you use pace, how you support pace, when you sprint, where you sprint. But it's often helter-skelter, depending on momentum as much as a finessed final ball.
When Walcott nudged a ball to Van Persie, his shot hit the post. But when Walcott broke away in 36 he had no confidence, passing too early to RVP, who was surrounded. Why didn’t Walcott draw a defender towards him? He bottled it, passed the buck.
Then Sagna scored his first goal in a home game for Arsenal with a header from Arteta’s left foot cross in 42. Sagna’s always been good in the air and diver Bale, the nearest Spurs player, just stood and gawped as Sagna pulled a goal back.
It might have been 3-1 but for strategic foul by Arteta on the breaking Bale, who was threatening to slice Arsenal open again. Arteta knew the ref would book him but it was worth it.
The goal for 2-2 a minute later was a self-made strike by Van Persie, who sent a wicked left foot shot into the corner for his 29th goal in all comps.
2-2 at half-time.
By then, Spurs had lost, had realised Arsenal were better, able to move the ball too quickly for them.
Sky pundit Glenn Hoddle said, “For me, it’s not a penalty.”
Phoning from the stadium, my mate Kelvin said, “I can't believe how bad Walcott is. Worst I’ve ever seen him.”
Second half, Harry bottled it. He used two subs at half-time to tighten the game up, That didn't work and he had removed all his attacking threat. Madness!
He took off Saha and brought on Van der Vaart, who can't run and was invisible. And he replaced Kranjcar with the belligerent Sandro.
In 51 minutes it was 3-2.
Vermaelen won the ball, to Song, to Gibbs, back to Song to van Persie, crossfield to Rosicky, to Sagna on the overlap. Rosicky played it wide to Sagna, then nicked onto the cross to score at the near post. His first goal in 50 Premier League games.
After two years without a goal, Rosicky was the best player in the pitch.
Football is unpredictable- that’s why we love it.
In 57, Walcott fired just past the post, a decent effort. He hasn’t scored a home league goal since December 2010. Thanks Martin, for that stat.
Arsenal broke upfield via Van Persie, who had Walcott 70 yards behind him. Walcott twigged eventually and started to run for RVP's pass, miscontrolled the ball, then scored with a dink over the keeper.
So Arsenal, who had been 2-0 down in 35 minutes, were now 4-2 up in 65.
But some paranoid Gooners were thinking : We’ve been here before.
Then Song found Walcott with a great pass and Friedel didn’t come out, making it easy for Walcott to shoot across him for 5-2. This time his control and execution were exemplary.
At 5-2, the fans sang,"Harry for England!" but in a teasing way, not a malicious way.
So Arsenal won by three goals to jump above Chelsea into fourth. They beat Spurs and Chelsea on the same day. Super Sundays don't come much better than that.
On his own, Adebayor is useless and the second half proved that.
His value is running fast to keep up with Bale or Saha, giving the ball to them, or getting it from them. That’s all he can do. He hides,falls over, grins, walks, hides again. Second half, Adebayor didn’t want the ball.
Scott Parker was sent off, second yellow, misses Man United game next week. Gervinho got five minutes, coming on for Benayoun. Second half, Bale never had a kick and did nothing in defence Modric, with no runners to hit, just vanished as belief drained from Spurs.
"We buckled, and that's not like us," said Harry.
Truth was, Ledley King could not cope with such a lively attack, Assou-Ekotto had a nightmare, and the whole Spurs team folded under pressure.
Experienced pros Rosicky, Benayoun and Arteta kept Arsenal in the game in the first half, after they lost one goal to a fluke and another to a dive.
Spurs led 2-0 but they never controlled the game at any stage, so it pendulumed nback to 2-2. Nico Kranjcar was a passenger, Harry realised he'd picked the wrong team but they imploded after his changes.
The fighting comeback of Arsenal was almost as remarkable as the implosion of Spurs.
Could be a big turning point for both clubs.
Next week Arsenal are at Anfield, while Spurs play Manchester United without Scott Parker.
Bottom line: Van Persie will stay if Arsenal reach Champions League.
There are no top class defenders any more.
You’ll have noticed that all the great defenders became pundits.
On the BBC, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson say : You can't defend like that. Martin Keown and Lee Dixon always tell us that defenders aren't doing it right.They are correct!
When it was 2-2, Sky pundit Gary Neville said, "This is why our clubs haven't done well in the Champions League. You can't defend like this in the Champions League."
Feb 27, 2012