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Wenger feeling the heat in derby defeat

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A Kyle Walker strike proved to be the game-changer as Tottenham overcame Arsenal in the first North London derby of the season.

The right-back charged forward, dodging an ensuing Gervinho challenge before lashing home past Wojciech Szczesny, who in turn could have done more to keep out Walkers effort.

The early October sun was beating down on White Hart Lane, but it was perhaps the Gunners who started the brighter of the two sides.

The only change from last weeks 2-1 win over Wigan saw Jermain Defoe rewarded for his goalscoring exploits against Shamrock Rovers in mid-week replace Sandro as Redknapp reverted back to a 4-4-2, Rafael Van der Vaart moving out to the right as Luka Modric took his place alongside Scott Parker in midfield.

Packing three into the midfield, Wenger’s side controlled the game from the middle as Parker and Modric struggled to contain Mikel Arteta, Francis Coquelin and Ramsey in the early encounters.

However, Spurs crafted out the first real opportunity of the game, Emmanuel Adebayor, making his first appearance against his former side since his loan move from Manchester City, was thwarted by the back-tracking Coquelin but his clearance only went as far as Parker, who worked his way into the box only to see his effort blocked well by Szczesny.

Arsenal also had their fair share of chances, as Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Per Mertesacker all threatened, but never really tested, Brad Friedel in the Spurs goal during some exerted pressure around the 15-minute mark.

Some good work from Gareth Bale down the left wing saw him pick out Van der Vaart in the box, but the Dutchman scuffed his effort over while Mikel Arteta flashed a free-kick across the goal face before Szczesny was again called into action getting down well to block the 28-year-olds point blank effort.

Gervinho and Walcott again threatened Friedel, but to no avail and the visitors were made to pay for their wastefulness with the home side taking the initiative five minutes before the break.

Defoe broke forward down the middle, squaring to Adebayor who in turn lofted a delightful ball across the box for Van der Vaart who, with a hint of hand-ball, bought the ball down well and buried into the far corner on the half volley.

The goal sent the home support into the raptures and turned out to be Spurs 10,000th goal in all competitive games.

Bale came close either side of half-time to doubling the advantage for the hosts but Arsenal were back on level-terms seven minutes after the restart.

Song broke down the left-hand side before the Cameroon international put a teasing ball across the Spurs box which Ramsey duly got on the end off, burying from close-range past Friedel.

The goal sparked Arsenal into life and for the next few minutes, Spurs found themselves under the cosh as the Gunners looked to add a second yet it was Adebayor who came closest to adding Spurs second of the afternoon only for Szczesny to turn his low-drive away for a corner.

Sandro replaced Van der Vaart just after the hour mark and it was the Brazilian who instigated what turned out to be the winning goal. His break down the left found Modric in the box, his effort blocked by Song but with Walker breaking forward from right-back, his 30-yard effort beat Szezesny into the bottom corner and saw Spurs take the lead once more.

The 20-year-old’s first goal for Spurs proved to just the kick that sparked them back into life, Bale first dragging his shot wide after a mix-up in the Arsenal defence before twice saw two good efforts go begging, the first well saved Szczesny, the second a audacious chip that drifted just wide of the far post.

It needed of mattered as Spurs held out for the win, the clubs fourth Premier League victory on the bounce while adding to Arsenal’s miserable start to the season.

“They had a lot of possession in the first half. It was difficult, they played three in midfield,” Redknapp said after the game.

“So they were always going to hold the sway in terms of possession. We had the two (players) in there.

“But we got the goal before half-time. To be honest, I nearly changed it (Spurs’ formation) at half-time. I nearly made the change and thickened us up in there.

“But I thought, ‘well, let’s see how we go’. They (Arsenal) got off to a better start in the second half, got the goal, and watching the game you would have thought, ‘they are in the ascendency. We could be in trouble’.

“But we upped it. We got better and stronger and we took over. We deserved the win in the second half, I thought we were excellent. We had all the good chances.”

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