If you want the bare statistics then the majority of recent Arsenal & Tottenham encounters have been drawn. But prior to this game Arsenal had lost just once in the past 26 League meetings and are unbeaten against the Totts in league football since November 1999. If you include cup games we've lost two of our last 31 games against the Totts because as you may recall they thrashed our reserves at the Lane in the Mickey Mouser last season. Since competitive animosities began in 1909 (they arrived late to League football) we're ahead by a reasonable marginal but most local derbies can go any which way because they are, just like cup ties, a one off.
Keane reckons that our squads are now comparable, but then again I reckon that Keane is comparable to a plank of wood. Because today there was a yawning chasm between the two sides. Given that the Totts were, in their opinion, in contention for a top four place this season I was suspecting that this match might be less of a formality than recent close encounters of a turd kind. Not so, this was yet again a one sided affair and 'Champions League, you're having a laugh' was chant of the day.
This was a fairly tough game physically but not really brutal, Tottenham came with just the one game plan, which was to lob it up for that long streak of piss up front. As a game plan goes it lacked finesse, surprise and anything akin to footballing culture. As the game went on this pathetic ploy looked nothing less than desperate and dishevelled. An because Gallas and Vermaelen bossed their front men throughout their plan looked pathetic.
We started with Arshavin setting up a Bendtner shot which sailed over. We followed that with Song giving away a jittery corner. When the rat-faced Chav got anywhere near the ball he was booed remorselessly and his first act was to handle the ball to a chorus of 'W@anker, w@anker, w@anker'. Not a clever chant but one that describes the over-inflated ego perfectly. Arsenal pressed and closed well in the first half but were not quite firing on all cylinders as Bentley fouled Vermaelen late and quite nastily. He got a talking to from Clattenburg which should have been more. The atmosphere by the way was quite electric and if any players new to the fixture didn't quite get what this match was all about they couldn't have been off message for long, the electricity crackled.
Bentley with a chip well wide to much derision. Gallas defending with authority. Nick offside in a decent move. Sagna almost but not quite putting Arshavin away as the boys in red began to boss the game. A naff shot from Crouch. Assou-Ekotto fouled Cesc and then kicked the ball away - no card. Cesc was almost trying too hard and couldn't quite get his passing rhythm as a result. Van Persie with the free kick which Gallas headed just past the post. Bassong on Robin for a free kick followed by a slagging of the ref but no card. Keane almost through but we win a goal kick. Arshavin sets up Fabregas whose shot invoked a fabulous save by Gomes. Our closest yet and now Arsenal are running the show. Vermaelen clears at the other end.
A Bentley cross but Almunia takes at the second attempt. Crouch offside because our defence is playing very well as a unit and pushing out well despite a suspect lino. Crouch heads over without power or direction. The Totts had a short spell of near control and our crowd got a tad edgy because we've not turned our dominance into goals. A poor clearance by Tottenham pounced on by Cesc and Robin is in for our best chance to date but tries to shoot with his left when the right was required - into the side netting. A fine solo from Cesc, who has begun to really conduct the orchestra now, picks out Andrey whose shot is a weak one.
Bendtner pulls up, it's his groin again, but Arsenal play on despite the crowd's advice. He is eventually replaced by Eduardo after limping over to the bench. An Arshavin solo for a corner - which Gomes caught, as he did most of our corners.
Ed opened his account by losing the ball and this was shortly followed by two crosses from the Totts. Diaby has not done a thing right yet, or so it seems, his confidence is right down. Diaby does Keane for a free kick. Palacios swings his arm in a face in a bitty period of play but we won a throw wide right on 42 minutes. Sagna with a short throw in back to Andrey who returns it. A great low whipped cross follows and Robin holds off King to get a touch on the ball with his right peg. It appears to go through Gomes on its way into the net. 1-0 Arsenal. Cue massive celebrations.
The despondent Totts kick off and Cesc chases down the ball, steals it and sets off on a goal bound run. He skips past some white shirts, beats the last man and is in space, he has Gomes to beat and drills it low to the keepers right. 2-0, 43 minutes gone and the celebrations for our first goal merge with those for our seconds. I'm told it was just 11 seconds after they kicked off that Cesc scored. Oh how Cesc raises his game for the big ones - top man.
Gael thunders into Bentley who moans like hell. Cesc wins another corner and Arsenal enter piss-take mode until half time. Beautiful to behold. A two-goal lead that we don't for once look like giving away. We are cool, calm, confident and caning the Totts - what a way to go into half time.
The second half starts with Bentley on their left. Great, because that means we in the east stand get another go at abusing him. Sagna takes the rat faced Chav with ease. Palacios fouled Robin. Eduardo was down hurt on our left flank. Van Persie slings one across the face of their goal but Arshavin can't quite get to it. Gallas and Vermaelen continue to demoralise Crouch and Keane. Eduardo though one on one but the keeper saves from Eduardo who really should have nailed it. Vermaelen beats Crouch in the air. Keane misses a half chance.
Arsenal are well on top and remain so. Ed gets a clip in the face before the lumbering Huddlestone was replaced by the baleful Bale. Gallas tidies up. Bentley dives. Clattenburg watches Crouch swing his arm into Gallas's face and gives the Totts a free kick just outside our box. Bentley got it on target but Almunia tipped it over.
The Totts persevered with the failed hoof it up to Crouch ploy. After all the clap trap about Spurs playing quality football they had clearly reverted to type when up against a quality side. Eduardo was fouled as he laid it off to Sagna down the right flank. Bacary stopped for the free kick and possible booking but the ref waved play on. So Bacary started off again and slung in a low cross to Robin at the near post. Van Persie got his right foot to the ball first and made it 3-0. Game over. Massive celebrations and much derision aimed at one corner of the ground.
Gallas and Crouch at it as the Tottenham strops set in, Arsenal get the free kick, Crouch throws the ball away and gets a yellow card. Keane caught offside and also down hurt. 'Champions League You're Having a Laugh' followed shortly after by 'Are You Tottenham in disguise'. Crouch with an ineffective header straight at Almunia.
Arshavin breaks with Eduardo thanks to the iffy lino's dumb understanding of the offside law - at least he's been wrong for both teams. Offside was not given but Ed put it the wrong side of the post. Another bad miss and we could have been five up. The rest of the game was pretty well about us coasting home to the finishing line, but in a determined manner. Song was immaculate throughout and clearly superior to Palacios. But everywhere you looked on the pitch we were superior, vastly superior and the three-nil scoreline was no true measure of our very obvious superiority. This must have been so demoralising for the Totts who really thought they had a chance prior to kick off. Good.
When Van Persie tried one from 35 yards out you just know its a piss take. Pavlychenko, on for Keane so they had two tall target men, had a shot saved which was all too easy for Almunia. Vermaelen entered the true sprit of his first local derby by taking out Corluka for a yellow card, is that his first of the season? Arshavin was replaced by Eboue. Palacios fouled Cesc whose free kick was headed on by Ed but only to Gomes. We headed yet another Cesc corner past the post, this time it was Diaby whose second half display was truly excellent.' One Arsene Wenger, there's only one Arsene Wenger'.
Ramsey replaced Robin with 4 minutes to go. Bale offside before Crouch netted to much derision. The Totts despondent corner of the ground began to empty long before Ramsey got clear, but with the goal at our total mercy he played a poor ball to Cesc. In the same move Bassong pulled up with an obvious hamstring injury. It just wasn't their day - but when is it ever their day when the take on the mighty Arsenal? 'Three-nil to the Arsenal'.