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Arsenal crush Spurs 3-0

December 02, 2006 22:24 IST

Brazilian midfielder Gilberto converted a penalty in each half as Arsenal trounced Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the first north London derby at their new Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor gave Arsenal a 20th minute lead, Gilberto converted a controversial penalty three minutes from halftime and then steered home another in the 72nd minute.

Victory hoisted Arsenal to third place and gave their morale a much-needed lift after consecutive league defeats at Bolton Wanderers and Fulham look to have put paid to their title hopes.

They were also missing their injured captain Thierry Henry, who may not be fit for next weekend's equally important derby against champions Chelsea.

Spurs were left to rue referee Graham Poll's decision to award a spot-kick for Pascal Chimbonda's challenge on Arsenal's Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky, with TV replays suggesting the French defender had got the ball first.

However, Martin Jol's side failed to pose a sustained threat to Arsenal and they remain without an away win this season. They are also without an away victory against Arsenal since May 1993.

Arsenal put Spurs under pressure from the start but it was Jol's men who created the first scoring chance.

Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov got the better of defender Emmanuel Eboue and dinked an inviting ball back for Steed Malbranque in the area, only for the French midfielder's rasping shot to spin wide of the far post.


The match swung Arsenal's way shortly afterwards, though, when Ivorian defender Kolo Toure lifted a high ball over a line of Spurs defenders. Adebayor just beat the off-side trap, ran through and picked his spot past England keeper Paul Robinson.

Spurs' defence felt hard done by shortly before halftime, though, when Rosicky went down under Chimbonda's last-ditch tackle and Poll pointed immediately to the spot.

Gilberto, wearing the captain's armband in Henry's absence, fired into the bottom left-hand corner.

The Brazilian chose the opposite corner midway through the second half, after Spurs substitute Jermaine Jenas tripped Dutch forward Robin van Persie.

Gilberto's strike killed the game off, sealing a victory that will also lift his team before next week's decisive Champions League game in Group G at Porto.

It also sustained a bizarre statistical quirk since Arsenal moved to their new 390 million pound ($767.7 million) ground in August -- yielding just two types of league result.

In the eight games played, they have either scored first and gone on to win 3-0, as against Spurs, Liverpool, Watford and Sheffield United, or conceded first and drawn 1-1, as against Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Everton and Newcastle United.

Saturday's negative for the hosts was an injury for Rosicky which will rule him out of the Porto game, according to manager Arsene Wenger. Henry is suspended for that match.


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