By Richard Clarke
If Arsenal have been ailing in recent days then this was just what the doctor ordered.
There is nothing like a derby victory to soothe the soul.
Arsène Wenger's side had spent much of this week searching theirs after deeply disappointing defeats at Bolton and Fulham.
This afternoon they were always in charge against the old enemy after Emmanuel Adebayor stormed through in the 20th minute to slot home the opener. The beanpole striker would go on to have an excellent game.
Three minutes before the break, Tomas Rosicky was brought down by Pascal Chimbonda and Gilberto scored from the penalty.
Tottenham were better after the restart but the contest was effectively over 18 minutes from time when Robin van Persie was brought down in the box and Gilberto, once again, slotted home from the spot.
Arsenal have now had eight Premiership games at Emirates Stadium - four have finished 1-1 and four have finished 3-0. This was certainly the sweetest victory so far.
Wenger made six changes from the side beaten at Fulham on Wednesday. Going through the exit door were: Thierry Henry (sciatic nerve), Philippe Senderos (suspended), Mathieu Flamini (calf), Alex Song, Justin Hoyte, and Alex Hleb.
Coming in were: Emmanuel Adebayor, Tomas Rosicky, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Eboue and Cesc Fabregas.
It was the first North London derby to be played at Emirates Stadium and, consequently, an already special occasion was afforded uniqueness. You could feel this was a different kind of game.
Arsenal had the early pressure. Van Persie and Ljungberg ran the channels well and fluttered dangerously around the Tottenham penalty area. However the best chance of the opening 15 minutes fell to Steed Malbranque who stabbed a shot wide after Dimitar Berbatov had cut the ball back from the byline on the left side.
The home side continued to have the whip-hand but, if anything, their early fire had just about died down by the time Arsenal took the lead in the 20th minute. Kolo Toure won the ball in the centre and floated a long pass for Adebayor to stroll through the centre and score. Tottenham complained that the Togolese striker was offside. Replays proved he was level and therefore legal.
By way of celebration Adebayor ran to the bench and hugged Henry. Earlier in the day the injured captain had denied newspaper reports that he was unhappy at being left out of the side for this game.
A minute after the goal, Ljungberg scuttled through on the right and slashed a shot over. That flank was proving to be Arsenal's main offensive outlet. Fabregas stumbled in a shot just before the half hour and, in the 32nd, Djourou nearly turned in Van Persie's low, curling free-kick. Both originated down the right.
The second goal arrived three minutes before the break. Adebayor won the ball on the right. Ljungberg and Fabregas worked it inside for Rosicky. The Czech midfielder skipped into the area but was felled by Pascal Chimbonda as he bustled through. In the absence of Henry, Gilberto took the spot-kick. Paul Robinson went the right way but the Brazilian's placement was perfect.
Spurs swapped Malbranque for Jermaine Jenas after the break. They needed to do something as Arsenal had looked in total control for the first 45 minutes.
The visitors were certainly a more lively proposition in the early stages of the second half.
In the 55th minute, Hleb replaced the limping Rosicky. A couple of minutes later Lehmann could only parry a long-range effort from Jenas and Aaron Lennon could not convert from close range.
It would be Tottenham's only real chance of the half. Robbie Keane started to make a nuisance of himself around the area as the visitors enjoyed their best period of the game. But, as it turned out, Lehmann would not be overworked.
Eighteen minutes from time, Ljungberg's long ball over the top saw Van Persie squeeze between Ledley King and Jenas. The latter brought him down and referee Graham Poll pointed to the spot. This time Gilberto sent Robinson the wrong way.
The goal sucked the life out of Tottenham. Baptista came on and caused then concern. Four minutes from time Theo Walcott replaced Adebayor. Quite right the striker received a standing ovation.
He had done his job superbly this afternoon - as had his entire team.
- Rosicky 55
- Silva Goal! Goal! Yellow Card
- Persie 80
- Adebayor 87 Goal!
- Walcott 87
- Baptista 80
- Hleb 55
- Assou-Ekotto 46 Yellow Card
- Malbranque 46
- Tainio 80
- Lee 46
- Jenas 46 Yellow Card
- Defoe 80