Arsenal got their often-disgruntled fans off their back once more with a comfortable 5-2 victory over fierce London rivals Tottenham on Saturday.
After falling behind early on, the game quickly turned in Arsenal’s favour when goalscorer Emmanuel Adebayor was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Adebayor, a former Gunner, got the straight red for launching himself at Santi Cazorla with the ball nowhere in sight.
From that moment onwards Tottenham did not stand a chance with Arsenal bombarding their goal for the rest of the match.
It did not take long for a goal, or three, to come.
Per Mertesacker’s 24th-minute header drew Arsenal level and quick-fire goals from Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud put the hosts 3-1 up at half-time.
Cazorla converted Podolski’s fine cross on the hour to increase Arsenal’s lead, before the ever hardworking Gareth Bale drove home a low shot to reduce the arrears in the 71st minute.
Arsenal had the final say though, with in-form Theo Walcott converting from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass in injury time to produce a repeat of the scoreline from last season’s equivalent fixture in February.
“If we show that courage and ambition every game we will climb up the table,” Walcott said.
“We showed people how good we are today… it will give us tremendous spirit.”
Both Arsenal and Tottenham have had mixed fortunes this season and went into the tense North London derby on the back of poor runs.
It was Arsenal’s first win in four matches in all competitions and took them up to sixth place in the Premier League table, with Spurs two points further back in eighth after a third successive league defeat.
Defending champions Manchester City can assume top spot later on Saturday if they win at home to Aston Villa, with leaders Manchester United playing at Norwich City in the evening kick-off.