Match Analysis: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal

Spurs players congratulate Aaron Lennon after he put them 2-0 up against Arsenal on March 3, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at today's thrilling North London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal that ended 2-1 to the home side.

Tottenham Hotspur moved back into third in the Premier League table courtesy of a 2-1 derby win over North London rivals Arsenal this afternoon.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon both scored within two minutes of each other towards the end of the first half to send the hosts into the break with a two-goal lead.

Per Mertesacker pulled one back for the Gunners five minutes after the restart, but Spurs held firm for the remainder of the match to clinch the valuable three points.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at what went wrong for Arsenal, and what went right for Tottenham.

Match statistics:

Shots 11
On target 5
Possession 54%
Corners 4
Fouls 17

Shots 10
On target 6
Possession 46%
Corners 6
Fouls 13

Was the result fair?

A draw would've been the fairest result, but if anyone deserved to win it was probably Spurs. Arsenal dominated the opening stages and, until the two goals, were the better team. The Gunners were by no means outplayed in the second half either, but Spurs had the better chances of the two sides. Arsenal had a couple of sights of goal but no gilt-edge chances, while Spurs had a few.

Spurs' performance

They looked to be struggling to deal with Arsenal in the first 15 minutes or so. The game began at a frenetic pace and Arsenal were on top. The two goals settled them down, however, and they defended very well after conceding to ensure that the visitors didn't nick a second. They weren't as fluid as we've been used to seeing them in recent weeks, but they still created a number of chances going forward.

Arsenal's performance

Everything was looking good for the Gunners until Bale's goal. They were on top in the match, but were undone twice in quick succession by poor defending - something for which they only have themselves to blame. They looked to push on after Mertesacker made it 2-1, but found themselves against a solid defence. Like Spurs, they didn't play as well as they can, but they weren't bad by any means.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Jan Vertonghen: Both defences looked suspect early on, but Vertonghen grew into the game and was a huge presence whenever Arsenal were on the attack. The Gunners peppered the Tottenham box with crosses from the right which, more often than not, Vertonghen was on hand to clear away. He didn't give Olivier Giroud a sniff all day.

Biggest gaffe

This has to go to Gareth Bale's miss. The Welshman found himself free six yards out with the goal gaping, but he put his shot into row Z. The ball across was bobbling, which made it slightly harder than a tap-in, but a player of his quality should have buried it with his eyes closed.

Referee performance

Mark Clattenburg had a good game in a fixture that can be notoriously hard to control. He wasn't too card-happy, especially considering the number of fouls committed, and when tempers did threaten to boil over, he was on hand to reason with both parties and calm things down.

What next?

Spurs: The Hollywood matches keep on coming for Spurs. They have a Europa League tie against Inter Milan next, with a Premier League clash against Liverpool sandwiched between the two legs.

Arsenal: Arsenal, meanwhile, will be looking to pull off a major shock by overturning their 3-1 deficit away against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Spurs attacker Gareth Bale opens the scoring against Arsenal on March 3, 2013
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