A true spectacle of English football was served up at White Hart Lane last night, where Tottenham Hotspur came from behind twice to earn a 3-3 draw against North London rivals Arsenal.A derby game held at night and under the lights always adds to the atmosphere and occasion, and players form both sides certainly lived up to the expectation of the excitement that a match played between two great rivals should display. The visitors got off to the best possible start after just five minutes, with Theo Walcott timing his run to perfection to latch on to a ball from Cesc Fabregas, before calmly slotting the ball past Spurs ‘keeper Heurelho Gomes and into the corner of the net. With the Arsenal fans celebrating their side’s perfect start and subsequently closing the gap on title rivals Manchester United to just four points, Tottenham immediately drew the scores level. Spurs’ Croatian international full back Vedran Corluka passed a low ball into the area to Rafael van der Vaart who rifled home a shot past Wojciech Szczesny at his near post. With two goals after just seven minutes, the White Hart lane crowd knew they were in for a cracker.
The pace of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was often
Five minutes later, it was this time the Spurs supporters whose celebrations would be short-lived. Samir Nasri picked the ball up from Abou Diaby 20 yards out from goal and fired past Gomes, albeit with a slight deflection off Tottenham defender Michael Dawson. Arsenal winger Theo Walcott looked dangerous throughout and after being inches away from making it 3-1 on the half-hour mark, he was influential as the Gunners finally got a two-goal lead five minutes before half time. Walcott looped in a delightful cross to the unmarked Robin van Persie, whose initial headed effort was saved excellently by Gomes, but the Spurs ‘keeper could do little as the Dutch striker smashed in the rebound from close range.The goal scoring action was not yet over however, with Spurs’ midfielder Tom Huddlestone pulling one back just before the half-time break. After a Tottenham corner was only partially cleared by Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, Huddlestone displayed fantastic technique to score what was to be the goal of the game, drilling a 20-yard rocket hard and low into the Arsenal net before Szczesny could even move. It was a lifeline for Spurs, who at 3-2 had every chance of earning some valuable points from the match in the second half.
too much for the Spurs defence to handle.
Rafael van der Vaart scoring from the
With Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp forced into a double substitution at the start of the second period due to injuries picked up by Gareth Bale and Vedran Corluka, it was Bale’s replacement Aaron Lennon who was handed the task of injecting some much needed pace into the Spurs attack. Just as Walcott had done to the Tottenham back line in the first half, Lennon’s pace was causing problems for Arsenal’s defensive counterparts and it was the 24-year-old who won the penalty that led to his side’s second equaliser of the night in the 70th minute. With Lennon rushing onto a through ball, he was brought down by Arsenal ‘keeper Szczesny just inside the box, the Gunner’s stopper having no complaints about the decision. Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart stepped up and slotted home the resulting penalty to Szczesny’s left, with the goalkeeper diving the wrong way. It was a deserved equaliser for Harry Redknapp’s side, who could have gone one better if it had not been for Szczesny’s fantastic point-blank save from Luka Modric late on. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will no doubt be disappointed that his team threw away a two-goal lead and a valuable three points in the Premier League title race, where as Redknapp will be undoubtedly delighted by the character shown by his Tottenham side to come twice from behind and take a point to close the gap on their rivals for fourth place – Manchester City – to just two points with six games remaining. What are your views and opinions on Tottenham's comeback against Arsenal last night and how do you think it will affect both teams' chances in the title race and in the race for the top four? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.
penalty spot to level the scores at 3-3.