Arsenal continued their fine home record against Tottenham by handing their north London rivals a first defeat of the season. But they really had to work for the win and for the last 20-15 minutes of the game it looked like Spurs might be that equalizer. Olivier Giroud scored his fourth goal this term when he tucked in Theo Walcott’s low cross at the near post. Andros Townsend had a shot saved in an open start, while Hugo Lloris denied Giroud and Walcott after the break. Wojciech Szczesny stopped Jermain Defoe’s deflected shot as Arsenal moved fourth in the Premier League table.
There was one worry for Arsenal fans as midfielder Jack Wilshere came off before half-time but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said afterwards it was illness rather than injury that prompted the 21-year-old’s withdrawal. This absorbing encounter lacked the high-scoring of the 5-2 victories the Gunners have enjoyed over Spurs for the last two seasons. But a fourth consecutive win since they lost to Aston Villa on the opening day was a perfect response from the Gunners to taunts about Arsene Wenger’s lack of spending compared with Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas. Tottenham have only won once at Arsenal since 1993 and, despite creating several good openings, it was Arsenal who enjoyed the more clear-cut opportunities, Santi Cazorla twice showing his invention from clever free-kicks early on.