By Greg Stobart
Arsene Wenger will no doubt raise a glass to Emmanuel Adebayor tonight as he toasts an Arsenal victory that could kick-start his side’s season.
The boos and negativity that have surrounded recent Arsenal matches are already long forgotten here, replaced by derby delight after the Gunners took full advantage of Adebayor’s 18th minute red card to beat Tottenham 5-2 for the second match in a row between the teams.
The last game, in February, served as the catalyst for Arsenal to overtake their rivals and claim third place in the Premier League - and as the players took in a lap of honour at the final whistle, it felt like today’s result could have a similar impact.
In truth, Arsenal started poorly and could have few complaints about going 1-0 down to Adebayor’s opener - but it was a completely different story after the former Gunner was sent-off for a foolish, reckless challenge on Santi Cazorla.
The confidence flowed back in to the Arsenal midfield as Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta dominated the midfield, as Theo Walcott terrorised the Spurs defence, as Olivier Giroud offered the perfect focal point of attack.
‘We’ve got our Arsenal back’ sang the home fans as their side went up to sixth place in the Premier League table ahead of a run of fixtures that, at least in theory, offers an opportunity for plenty of points.
Their next game against a club that would be considered a rival comes against Manchester City on January 13, with home fixtures in the intervening period against Swansea, West Brom, West Ham and Newcastle.
While questions remain unanswered about the depth of the Arsenal squad, there is no doubt over the quality of a starting XI that saw the welcome return of Wojciech Szczesny in goal.
A key issue could be tying Walcott down to a new contract after his display against Spurs. The England winger’s pace and delivery were simply too much for Andre Villas-Boas’ men to handle and he has the tools to take full advantage of the midfield’s creativity.
It was Walcott who set up Arsenal’s first goal, crossing for Per Mertesacker to send a towering header into the top corner.
He then added the finishing touch in the final stages of the game, his shot squirming into the net past Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
In between, Lukas Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla ensured Arsenal’s dominance was rewarded with goals.
In the coming weeks and months, there could be plenty more to come.
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