Arsenal staged a dramatic comeback to beat neighbours Tottenham 5-2 after going two goals behind in the first half. Bacary sagna and skipper robin van persie scored to bring parity to the scores at half time but no one predicted arsenal to put 3 past spurs as a theo walcott brace either side of a Tomas Rosicky flick completed the turnaround.
When the hosts fell 2-0 down to a deflected effort by Louis Saha and a penalty by former striker Emmanuel Adebayor,they looked dead and buried against their fierce rivals but Bacary Sagna’s header and a stunning curler from Robin van Persie brought the scores level before halftime.
Tomas Rosicky’s flicked finish over Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel to give Arsenal the lead six minutes into the second half. Theo Walcott then scored twice to give Arsenal its biggest derby win over Tottenham since a 5-0 win at White Hart Lane in December 1978.
“It was a performance full of everything you want from your team,” Wenger said.
“Arsenal is alive more than anyone thought before the game,” he added. “Our spirit,our drive,our style and everything was perfect.”
Arsenal went into the match lacking form and confidence after a 4-0 first-leg defeat at AC Milan in the Champions League and a 2-0 loss at Sunderland in the FA Cup left them facing a seventh successive season without a trophy.
It was a far cry from Wenger’s glory years when he won seven trophies in his first nine years,including the league and Cup Double in 1998 and 2002.
Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane,working as a television pundit,said during the Sunderland game that it was the worst Arsenal team he had ever watched.
Criticism of the side also came from closer to home,with ex-players Lee Dixon,Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit wading in and the Arsenal supporters’ trust asking questions about the club’s transfer policy,or lack of one.
I feel they (the players) lost their motivation. I even fear that some have lost faith in Arsene, former midfielder Petit,part of the vintage 1997-98 Double-winning side,told France Football magazine last week.
Victory over Tottenham may have given Wenger and his players some breathing space but they still have plenty to contend with.
Arsenal are fourth,in the final Champions League spot,but hold it from Chelsea by virtue of goals scored with both clubs on 46 points – 17 adrift of leaders Manchester City.
They will probably finish behind Tottenham,who are third on 53,for the first time since 1995.
Angry shareholders from the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust want to know if money is available for Wenger to strengthen the squad or whether the club is holding back money as a contingency for failing to qualify for the Champions League next season.
But perhaps,the most pressing issue is the future of captain Robin van Persie.
The Arsenal talisman,the league’s top scorer with 23 this term,announced in Sunday’s matchday programme that he has put talks over a new contract on hold until the end of the season.
His deal expires in 2013 and the Dutchman,who was again superb on Sunday,has been linked with a move in the media after eight years at the club.
During Arsenal’s erratic season,Van Persie’s scoring ability has been the one thing Wenger has been able to rely on.
In the day’s other match,Stoke beat Swansea 2-0 courtesy of goals by Matthew Upson and Peter Crouch to end a four-game losing streak.