December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce at Emirates Stadium
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Oliver Giroud scored his fourth goal in five games as Arsenal beat their fierce arch-rivals Tottenham 1-0 in the north London derby at the Emirates.
Theo Walcott set up Giroud for the only goal in the 23rd minute as the Gunners won their fourth successive game in all competitions.
In turn they ended Spurs’ four-match winning run as the Lilywhites conceded their first goal and suffered their first defeat of the campaign – and they will wait anxiously to discover the seriousness of Etienne Capoue’s leg injury, after the French midfielder was stretchered off in the second half.
Arsene Wenger made three changes to the Arsenal side that had beaten Fenerbahce at the Emirates in midweek, with Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny all coming into the rearguard. Meanwhile, Andre Villas-Boas named the same Spurs side that had beaten Swansea in their previous Premier League outing.
Arsenal were on top in the first 10 minutes, with Santi Cazorla going close with two free-kicks, the first being saved by the diving Hugo Lloris and the second narrowly missing the bottom left corner.
However, Spurs grew into the game and enjoyed a good spell of possession while looking dangerous on the flanks.
Nacer Chadli had a couple of opportunities to run at Jenkinson and sent an ambitious effort at Wojiech Szczesny from the left of the box while, on the other side, Kyle Walker got to the by-line and pulled the ball back for Roberto Soldado, whose shot was blocked.
Yet it was the Gunners who took the lead midway through the first half as Tomas Rosicky fed Theo Walcott, who raced in behind Danny Rose and crossed for Giroud, who finished at close range.
Walcott, who had previously been quiet, burst through again moments later, shooting from a narrow angle and forcing a save from Lloris at his near post.
At the other end, Andros Townsend came inside off his right wing and tested Szczesny, but Arsenal went up the other end and created another chance as Giroud and Walcott combined to tee up Ramsey, who fired wastefully over from 12 yards.
Moments later, Walcott raced onto a through ball and Spurs’ hearts were in their mouths as Lloris flew out of his box to make a vital sliding challenge, getting a crucial toe on the ball when a mistimed challenge would have left him in hot water with the referee.
Wenger was forced into a substitution shortly before half-time as Mathieu Flamini appeared for the second Arsenal debut of his career, replacing Wilshere, who was suffering from stomach cramps – and the Frenchman appeared to a standing ovation at the Emirates.
Soldado had become an increasingly isolated figure in Spurs’ 4-3-3 system, and there was little change after the break – although he went down just inside the box claiming a push from Koscielny.
That appeal was turned down, infuriating Villas-Boas – and Arsenal nearly doubled their lead on the break as Cazorla advanced and fed Giroud, whose deflected shot was brilliantly saved by Lloris.
The Frenchman had to be alert again in the 71st minute after Michael Dawson advanced into midfield and lost the ball, with the goalkeeper rushing off his line to beat Walcott to a through ball.
Villas-Boas had introduced Jermain Defoe and he soon had to survey his bench again as Etienne Capoue suffered a nasty-looking leg injury in a challenge with Cazorla.
The Frenchman was stretchered off while receiving oxygen, being replaced by Sandro, while Erik Lamela came on for his debut in place of Townsend.
Tottenham nearly equalised immediately as Defoe forced Szczesny into a fine save, and Soldado’s follow-up was then blocked – the Spainiard shouting for handball – before Walker fired wide.
At the other end, Walcott was denied by the excellent Lloris, and Walker reacted the reach the loose ball just ahead of Gunners substitute Nacho Monreal, who had only just taken to the field in place of Rosicky.
Arsenal had to withstand some late pressure but they held their nerve and kept clearing their lines until the final whistle to win the derby.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere (Flamini 43), Rosicky (Monreal 78), Walcott (Sagna 90), Cazorla, Giroud
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose, Capoue (Sandro 75), Paulinho, Dembele (Defoe 69), Townsend (Lamela 75), Chadli, Soldado