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Olivier Giroud scored his third goal in as many Premier League matches as Arsenal overcame Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on Sunday.
Giroud tapped in midway through the first half to give Arsene Wenger's side a narrow victory over their north London rivals in a contest that they dominated for large periods.
Arsenal made two changes to the side that beat Fulham 3-1 last week, Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere coming in for Bacary Sagna and the injured Lukas Podolski, while new signing Mathieu Flamini – in his second spell with the club – was named on the bench.
Erik Lamela was among the Tottenham substitutes, although fellow new additions Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen were not included in the squad.
Arsenal seized the early momentum almost immediately and twice came close to going ahead in the opening five minutes. Santi Cazorla forced Hugo Lloris into a fine save with a curling free-kick before shooting narrowly wide from another set-piece shortly after.
The hosts' dominance looked to have come to an end as Tottenham began to dictate the game and press forward. However, Andre Villas-Boas' men were undone on the counterattack after 23 minutes, Giroud meeting a low near-post cross from Theo Walcott to prod home from point-blank range.
Arsenal wasted no time in attempting to add to their lead, Walcott again causing problems as he burst free down the right wing only to be denied by another athletic save from Lloris.
Aaron Ramsey fired over from distance on the half-hour mark before Lloris had to be fleet of foot to race out of goal and win the ball after Walcott had again broken through the Tottenham backline, while at the other end Andros Townsend was the only player to force Wojciech Szczesny into a routine save in the first period.
Flamini's comeback came earlier than expected for Arsenal, the Frenchman thrown into the action two minutes before the interval after Jack Wilshere was forced off through injury.
Arsenal's superiority waned somewhat after the break, although Spurs still struggled to create meaningful chances, Nacer Chadli sending a free-kick way over the bar in the early stages of the second period.
The visitors’ lack of creativity was nearly punished again by Giroud, the France international denied by compatriot Lloris, who produced a superb finger-tip save to deflect the striker's left-footed shot wide of the post.
Lamela was introduced midway through the second half, the former Roma man brought on for Townsend, while Brazilian midfielder Sandro was also thrown into the fray after Etienne Capoue was taken off on a stretcher with an ankle injury.
Spurs had their best chance of the game moments later as Szczesny kept out a vicious volley from substitute Jermain Defoe from the edge of the area, with Roberto Soldado's follow up blocked by Giroud.
Giroud almost turned provider as Arsenal launched another excellent counter, the 26-year-old pulling back for Walcott, only for Lloris to keep the deficit to one goal with another fine stop.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I always praised our spirit and they proved me right today. At times especially in the second half technically we dropped a level, but overall, to sum it up, their goalkeeper was their best player and we had plenty of chances but I concede that we did hang on in the end because we just wanted to keep the score. There were less goals than usual but still a very interesting derby."
"We know it's a special rivalry [for the fans], but we got the three points first, but it's a very special game for everybody here. I believe the confidence factor showed through the players and when they have the right attitude for this club it's very, very important. Giroud in my opinion is a very strong centre-forward and he has shown that."
"You will see what we will announce to you. If we sign somebody I promise we will be very quick to announce it....maybe we will have a good surprise for you. I believe ideally we still want strength in the squad because of long-term injuries and you always want more quality, but we are working very hard and let's give us time until tomorrow at 11pm."
Tottenham Hotspur head coach Andre Villas-Boas: "I think [in] the first half they had good chances. It was always a competitive game with chances for both teams. We kept on trying to get the equaliser, drawing was never going to be enough, but they had that clinical ability to score.
"[There was] great spirit from the players to approach the game in such a courageous way, to expose Arsenal in the second half."
“[Etienne Capoue] is being x-rayed now, it doesn't look too good.
"We wish [Gareth Bale] all the best, he's left us with great memories from last season, which I think every Tottenham fan cherishes, but he has moved on and we move on as well."
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|22 Sep 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|28 Sep 2013||v Swansea (A)|
|06 Oct 2013||v West Brom (A)|
|19 Oct 2013||v Norwich (H)|
|26 Oct 2013||v Crystal Palace (A)|