For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats go to the stats tab. Manager reaction below and press conferences above
Arsenal claimed derby glory at Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in six Barclays Premier League attempts with a 1-0 win to reignite their title bid. Returning to Barclays Premier League action on the back of contrasting cup fortunes v Everton and Bayern Munich, Arsenal enjoyed the perfect start against their north London rivals when Tomas Rosicky blasted a spectacular opener at White Hart Lane after only 72 seconds on Sunday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski passed up chances to increase Arsenal’s lead and, although the hosts enjoyed the better of a frantic second period, they could find no way through the defence of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Mesut Ozil's midweek hamstring injury cleared the way for Rosicky to start and he emphatically capitalised with just over a minute played. Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was operating in central midfield as he did against Bayern, broke up play to feed Rosicky to his right. In trying to collect a return pass, he miscontrolled but the ball fell perfectly into the Czech playmaker's path and a blistering half-volley whistled into the top far corner.
In the 15th minute, Oxlade-Chamberlain skipped around Nabil Bentaleb and was granted a clear path to goal by Spurs’ high line, but he dragged an attempted chip wide.
Andros Townsend, making only his second league start for Spurs since November, drove to the byline to clip across the face of goal before Oxlade-Chamberlain was once again off target in the 27th minute after Podolski had created the opportunity.
Emmanuel Adebayor, who scored twice the last time that Arsenal won at White Hart Lane in the league in September 2007, got in front of Mertesacker to prod Kyle Naughton's cross past a post for Spurs. But Arsenal retained the greater attacking threat, a fact underlined when Podolski outmuscled Younes Kaboul to lash into the side netting.
Tim Sherwood, who threw his jacket to the floor in a rage when Oxlade-Chamberlain had broken free, sent Spurs out with renewed vigour for the second period and some haphazard goalkeeping from Wojciech Szczesny almost brought them level.
Szczesny dropped two crosses in quick succession, the latter dropping to Nacer Chadli, whose shot blocked on the line by Laurent Koscielny. The Belgium midfielder came close again in the 53rd minute, missing out on the decisive touch when Adebayor allowed Townsend to flash a dangerous ball across the Arsenal goalmouth.
Spurs were in the ascendancy and looking to bombard the Arsenal box from wide areas. Koscielny had to be on his mettle once more, harrying Adebayor into heading wide. Koscielny's colleague Mertesacker was denied by Hugo Lloris’s outstretched hand at the other end in the 78th minute before their defensive alliance ensured Arsene Wenger's side closed to within four points of leaders Chelsea with a match in hand.
Seven points behind Manchester City having played three matches more, Spurs’ top-four ambitions appear slim.
Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood: “We were better than them. We played well and created chances today. We played on the front foot and defended together. No one can say we deserved to lose that game. No one tries to miss chances, if you're in there to miss them, I can't complain.
"We can't just do that in north London derbies. If the players give me that between now and the end of the season, no problem, we'll be where we need to be.
"The result for Arsenal will paper over a lot of cracks, they were outplayed today and they've got to admit that. We've outplayed Arsenal today, and they're title contenders.
"We played better today, a lot better than we have recently. We deserved to win that game, not lose it. We've had three defeats, which is obviously very disappointing, but I can't fault them on that performance.
"We just want to try and accumulate as many points as we can between now and the end of the season. We go away to Benfica then we've got a big game against Southampton here and we need to bounce back in the Premier League.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “It makes the next game [v Chelsea] very interesting. The win for Liverpool at Man Utd, and the fact that Man City won yesterday, it makes it very interesting.
"From time to time, it's important to know you cannot always be super-dominant in a season. And to win games when you're not is important. We absorbed a lot of pressure from Tottenham today.
"We scored an early goal, so we were protecting our lead and we didn't take advantage enough of our counter-attacks, especially in the first half. As long as you don't score the second goal you are under pressure. Tottenham played well, they had a very good game, and defensively we needed to be special.
"If you look at the clear-cut chances, we had better chances. They had a lot of possession today, a lot of domination. I agree we didn't have our usual possession, and that's down to their effort and commitment. But, as well, you have to give credit to our defensive quality."
|23 Mar 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|30 Mar 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|07 Apr 2014||v Sunderland (H)|
|12 Apr 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|19 Apr 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|26 Apr 2014||v Stoke (A)|