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By Ben Pearce
Saturday, November 17, 2012
It was a repeat of Arsenal’s victory over Tottenham at the Emirates last season as the Gunners triumphed 5-2. We take a look at how each of the players performed.
WOJCIECH SZCZESNY 6/10
Saved Jermain Defoe’s initial effort but could do nothing about Emmanuel Adebayor’s follow-up. Beaten again by Gareth Bale’s accurate finish in the second half – but he won’t mind.
BACARY SAGNA 6/10
Caught out badly for the opening goal as Jan Vertonghen’s simple ball over the top sprung the defence, allowing Jermain Defoe a clean run on goal, but grew in confidence throughout the game.
PER MERTESACKER 8/10.
Levelled the scores, meeting Theo Walcott’s cross with an excellent header past Hugo Lloris. Should have got closer to Gareth Bale as the Welshman scored in the second half, but by then it was virtually a consolation goal.
LAURENT KOSCIELNY 7/10.
Relatively quiet game. Read the play well and made some useful interventions.
THOMAS VERMAELEN 7/10
Looked like a weak point before the game and had to trip Aaron Lennon to stop him early in the first half. However, Emmanuel Adebayor’s dismissal took the pressure off him and he was able to enjoy the occasion, nearly getting a goal after racing forward towards the end.
MIKEL ARTETA 8/10
Played the simple passes to stretch the Lilywhites and ensure that that the hosts took full advantage of their visitors’ numerical disadvantage.
JACK WILSHERE 8/10
Like Arteta, he was outshone by other team-mates but was a key cog in the Gunners’ triumph.
SANTI CAZORLA 10/10
Victim of a dangerous challenge from Emmanuel Adebayor, which earned the Spurs man a red card, but clearly did not suffer any ill effects. Worried Lloris with a swerving 30-yard effort in the first half and then dazzled Spurs down the left-hand side to set up Olivier Giroud’s goal, losing his feet but getting up to deliver a deadly cross. Deservedly got on the scoresheet after the break, ghosting in to meet Podolski’s cross at close range. Classy and clinical - a majestic display.
THEO WALCOTT 10/10
One of the stars of last season’s 5-2 victory over the Lilywhites, the England winger set up the equaliser, beating his man on the right side and hanging up a cross for Mertesacker to head home. Played intelligently in the second half after Tottenham withdrew their full-backs, drifting between central and wide positions to keep Spurs’ defenders on their toes. Played a key role in the fourth goal, dropping into a central position to free Lukas Podolski, who crossed for Cazorla to finish. Got his goal late on after excellent work from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
LUKAS PODOLSKI 9/10
Put Arsenal ahead with a low deflected effort in the first half and then delivered the cross for Cazorla which put the Gunners 4-1 up.
OLIVIER GIROUD 9/10
Denied a headed goal by a tremendous save from Lloris in the first half but hit the Gunners’ third goal, finishing at close range after fine work from Cazorla on the left. Departed late on to a standing ovation.
AARON RAMSEY: 7/10
Came on to add fresh legs, and kept Arsenal driving forward until the final whistle.
ANDRE SANTOS: 5/10
Arrived late to the party, just in time to enjoy the celebrations.
ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: 5/10
Had very little time to make an impact but showed his trickery on the right wing in the final moments.
HUGO LLORIS 6/10
Started only his second league game of the season. Had no chance with Mertesacker’s header and then showed brilliant reactions and athleticism to tip a Giroud effort around the post. Also had little chance of stopping Luka Podolski’s goal, which was deflected off William Gallas, or Olivier Giroud’s close-range strike before the interval.
KYLE WALKER 3/10
Ponderous on the ball at the start and, when he tried to be more proactive, made the wrong decisions. All symptomatic of a loss of confidence. Should have done much better for Arsenal’s third goal, when Santi Cazorla fell on the edge of the box but was allowed to find his feet again and cross for Giroud. Replaced at half-time as Villas-Boas switched to three at the back.
WILLIAM GALLAS 4/10
Thought he had scored against his former club in the ninth minute but the strike was rightly disallowed for offside. His day rapidly got worse after that. Simply not the player he used to be.
JAN VERTONGHEN: 5/10
Ball over the top created the opening goal, but was part of a rearguard that conceded five goals. Clearly tired at the end and was left for dead as Arsenal substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain raced away from him and set up Theo Walcott for the fifth and final goal.
KYLE NAUGHTON: 3/10
Given a big opportunity in a huge game and struggled to handle Theo Walcott, most notably when the winger beat him on the outside and delivered the cross for Mertesacker’s headed equaliser. Substituted at the interval.
AARON LENNON: 6/10
Given the important responsibility of taking advantage of Arsenal’s weak spot at left-back, and showed signs of getting on top of Vermaelen. But Adebayor’s dismissal forced him onto the back foot for the rest of the game.
Given a tough task from the start in Andre Villas-Boas’ 4-4-2 formation, and it only got harder when Spurs were reduced to 10 men. Typically aggressive and committed but didn’t always get the ball and was arguably fortunate to avoid a booking in the first half as the little fouls added up. Eventually booked in the 65th minute.
TOM HUDDLESTONE 5/10
Calm on the ball at the start but was guilty of terrible marking, allowing Mertesacker a free header in the box as Arsenal equalised in the first half. He was also unable to cut out the through ball for the Gunners’ second goal shortly before half-time.
GARETH BALE 7/10
Struggled to impose himself for 70 minutes but then scored yet another derby goal out of almost nothing, picking the ball up in the hole, running at the Arsenal rearguard and firing home with his right foot from 20 yards. Nearly raised the temperature at the Emirates moments later with a trademark run down the left, but his cross-cum-shot flew across the goalmouth.
EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR 2/10
In the right place at the right time to open the scoring against his former club, having also netted a penalty in the same fixture last season. But Tottenham’s hero quickly turned into a villain after a nasty studs-up sliding tackle on Santi Cazorla earned him a straight red card and left his team with 10 men for 70 minutes – with predictable consequences.
JERMAIN DEFOE 6/10
Set up Tottenham’s opening goal, getting in behind the Arsenal defence and latching onto Vertonghen’s ball over the top before forcing a save from Szczesny, which Adebayor finished. But his strike partner’s dismissal meant he returned to the role of being a lone front man, and he struggled to carry a threat for the remainder of the match. Might have done better with a difficult volleyed chance 13 minutes from the end, which would have made it 4-3.
MICHAEL DAWSON (SUB): 7/10
Superb sliding tackle stopped the flying Walcott from getting around the outside the defence – and Spurs conceded only one goal when he was on the field.
CLINT DEMPSEY (SUB): 5/10
Dropped from the starting XI, he entered the fray at half-time and worked hard, but Spurs are still lacking a link man in the No10 role.
TOM CARROLL (SUB): 6/10
Replaced Huddlestone and did not look overawed by the occasion. Neat and tidy as usual.