Arsene Wenger made no surprise selections for Arsenal. Walcott and Podolski on either side of Giroud, with Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta behind them. Vermaelen was again favoured at left back. AVB went for both Adebayor and Defoe up front.
Arsenal began confidently and Tottenham were intent on breaking up play, Wilshere getting clattered by Sandro in the opening five minutes. Spurs were keeping a high defensive line, and Walcott could have punished them but was slightly offside. The left back position continued to be our weak link, and Vermaelen’s foul on Lennon led to Gallas putting the ball in the net, but he was rightly offside. We were not so lucky minutes later when both Spurs strikers were allowed all the time in the world. Defoe’s shot was palmed by Szczesny into the path of Adebayor for a tap in.
Arsenal were starting to find space and create chances before Adebayor was sent off for a terrible studs up challenge on Cazorla. Gallas and Bale complained but when they see the replay they will see that it was a clear red card. So Arsenal had 70 minutes against the 10 men of Tottenham to turn it around.
It took less than five minutes for Walcott to show his class and find Mertesacker in the box and the German produced a fine header to equalise. Lloris was started instead of Friedel and he produced a fantastic save to deny Giroud another goal. The Frenchman’s header was excellent , as was Cazorla’s shot which whistled just over the bar after half an hour. Sandro should have been booked when he went through Wilshere again but at least Jack did not react.
Arsenal were tormenting Spurs down the right and producing quality balls into the box. It was a scruffy looking goal, but good striker play from Podolski finally put us ahead before half time. Thieery Henry was rubbing his hands in the stands, and Wenger would have been delighted at the break, after Giroud finished a brilliant move from Cazorla in first half injury time to increase our lead.
Arsenal could have come out with all guns blazing in the second half but I think they did the right thing by keeping compact and not allowing Spurs an easy way back in. Chances were bound to come, and it was more good wing play, this time from Podolski on the left who found Cazorla who finished with precision. Giroud was involved and can do no wrong at the minute.
The same is not true of the Arsenal defence, and they gave Gareth Bale plenty of time and space to score a second for Spurs. Recent games were preying on the mind of Arsenal players and fans, and Spurs could sense it. Wenger did nothing to allay those fears when he brought on Santos for Podolski but at least he wasn’t playing at left back.
Arsenal had a few chances to increase the lead, and Walcott took one just before the end to make it a fine 5-2 win. A great result that will hopefully set the tone for the rest of the season.
The only bad point of the game was when Wenger decided to bring on Santos and Ramsey lol!