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White Hart Lane
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Kick-off 12pmMORE PICTURES
- Steve Bennett
- Jens Lehmann
- Kolo Toure
- Pascal Cygan
- Ashley Cole
- Fredrik Ljungberg
- Patrick Vieira
- Cesc Fabregas
- Jose Reyes
- Robert Pires 68
- Dennis Bergkamp
- Robin Van Persie 82
- Thierry Henry
- Manuel Alminia
- Justin Hoyte
- Mathieu Flamini
- Paul Robinson
- Noe Pamarot
- Noureddine Naybet
- Ledley King
- Erik Edman
- Pedro Mendes
- Simon Davies 68
- Michael Brown
- Frederic Kanoute 76
- Michael Carrick
- Reto Ziegler
- Robbie Keane
- Anthony Gardner 90
- Jermain Defoe
- Marton Fulop
- Jamie Redknapp
Lauren 55 (pen)
By Richard Clarke
Arsenal returned to winning ways on Saturday lunchtime in a North London derby that will surely go down in history.
Arsène Wenger's side got the best of a nine-goal thriller at White Hart Lane that see-sawed all afternoon. It was enough to send them top, if only temporarily, but there was a certain relief to see them back to their fluent best.
There was no sign of the goalfeast ahead in a lively but chanceless opening half-hour. Then Noureddine Naybet hooked in a free-kick from Michael Carrick in the 37th minute to give the home side the lead. However it was level at the break when, deep into injury time, Thierry Henry latched onto Lauren's angled pass, fooled his marker and coolly slotted home.
The visitors had been controlled yet largely toothless until then but they more than made up for it in an incredible second half. Lauren put them ahead in the 55th minute after Noe Pamarot had fouled Freddie Ljungberg. Vieira set himself up to increase the advantage five minutes later.
Jermain Defoe gave Tottenham a lifeline with a stunning strike seconds later but Ljungberg gave Arsenal a cushion once more.
Ledley King's header put Arsenal under pressure again but substitute Robert Pires seemed to have sealed the victory. Frederic Kanoute's goal with three minutes left made for a frantic finale but the visitors held on.
The victory sent them top to the Premiership but Chelsea would have the chance to regain the lead at Fulham a few hours later.
However, for now, it is enough to just savour an Arsenal victory and especially one over their rivals and neighbours
Wenger recalled his familiar line-up despite the Carling Cup heroics from his youngsters in midweek. The bench was full of the stars of that game plus Robert Pires whose place on the left-side of midfield was occupied by Jose Antonio Reyes. Dennis Bergkamp once again joined Henry up front.
The injury list had lengthened by one after Tuesday night's game when Edu limped off with a broken toe. Gilberto (vertebrae), Sol Campbell (calf), Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jeremie Aliadiere (knee) were already ruled out.
A crisp winter's morning greeted both sets of fans as they arrived for a noon kick-off. The atmosphere inside the ground was quite the opposite. These games are always massive occasions in the north of the capital.
And this one started with typical vibrancy. Spurs had the better of a sparky opening. In the fourth minute Jermain Defoe crossed to the far post and Pedro Mendes' volley was saved by Jens Lehmann at the second attempt.
Arsenal began to find their rhythm after that but the next clear chance fell to the home side in the 18th minute. Defoe beat Pascal Cygan on the right-hand byline and aimed a low cross toward the near post.
The sprawling Lehmann thrust out a hand and deflected the ball against Lauren with Robbie Keane in close attendance. The resulting corner came to nothing.
As the half went on, Arsenal exerted more control. They pushed Tottenham back into their own half and started to probe for openings. However they could not test keeper Paul Robinson.
You sensed that Arsenal had drawn much of Tottenham's sting and they were starting to work through the gears towards fluency. So when the opening goal came eight minutes from half time it was something of a surprise.
Carrick sent over a free-kick from the left and Toure's slip allowed Naybet to hook home his shot at the far post.
A minute later it was nearly 2-0. Another free-kick from the opposite side was diverted goalwards by Vieira and Lehmann had to fully extend himself to tip over.
Cygan nodded over the bar in the dying minutes and that seemed to be it for the first half. Henry had other ideas.
The impetus that goal had given them carried on at the start of the second half.
Arsenal should have been ahead within a minute when Ljungberg crossed low to the far post. The whole ground seemed to freeze expecting the referee's whistle but Reyes played on. However the ball got stuck under his feet and he could only prod a lame shot at Robinson.
Two minutes later, the Spaniard sent a corner to the far post and Cygan slid a shot over the bar from close range.
The goal Arsenal were threatening arrived in the 55th minute. Ljungberg wriggled past Noe Pamarot in the area and the French defender hauled him down. Lauren struck home confidently from the spot.
Five minutes later, Vieira, who had come out invigorated for the second half, stole the ball in midfield and strode forward. He had only Robinson to face and when the keeper chose to go right, the captain clipped his shot over him and into the net.
It seemed to be 'game over' but Defoe's stunner hauled Spurs back into the game. He collected a throw-in on the left, turned and breezed past a couple of defenders before curling shot into the top corner. It was probably the best goal Arsenal have conceded this season.
It was fast becoming goals galore and the next arrived in the 69th minute. Fabregas won the ball and exchanged passes with Henry before feeding Ljungberg, who prodded his shot under Robinson.
Again, you thought it was all over. But again Tottenham responded when King nodded in a free-kick at the far post.
'Game on' once more. Well at least until Pires scuttled onto Henry's clever reverse pass and tucked his shot past Robinson at the near post.
Kanoute slid home fourth with three minutes remaining but despite much bluster from the home side in the dying minutes Arsenal deserved to hold on.
Thierry gets the ball rolling with the equaliserHe roars his delightAnd silences the White Hart Lane crowdLauren makes it 2-1 from the spotVieira...3-1The captain celebratesFreddie slams home the fourth4-2 to the Arsenal!Pires rounds off the famous fiveThe Arsenal fans celebrate a famous win
2004/05 FIXTURE LIST
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