H-T Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham: Nasri and Chamakh give hosts deserved derby lead
Published 13:41 20/11/10 By MirrorFootball
Arsenal were well on their way to going top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season at half-time of today's north London derby.
Stunning goals from Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh put the Gunners in complete control against their arch-rivals as William Gallas endured a nightmare return to the Emirates Stadium.
Gallas, controversially named Tottenham captain today, saw his side's only real chance fall to defensive partner Younes Kaboul, who headed Aaron Lennon's cross wide.
William Gallas was controversially named Tottenham captain for his return to Arsenal. The Former Gunners skipper was handed the armband by manager Harry Redknapp, whose only change saw the fit-again Aaron Lennon replace Peter Crouch, with Roman Pavlyuchenko starting up front on his own.
Arsenal made two changes as they looked for the win to take them top of the Barclays Premier League.
Jack Wilshere was only fit enough for the bench, meaning a start for Denilson, while Laurent Koscielny also returned from suspension.
As expected, Gallas' name was roundly jeered when read out over the Emirates Stadium public address.
And Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri carried out his threat not to shake the hand of his former team-mate, who he fell out with before the latter's summer departure.
But the pair did come into contact in the first minute, Gallas thwarting Nasri with a tackle as the midfielder was found by Cesc Fabregas' through ball.
At the other end, Gareth Bale flicked a Rafael van der Vaart corner straight at Lukasz Fabianski.
Fabregas should have done better with an acre of space in the box, his low cross too close to Heurelho Gomes.
But the Arsenal captain made amends by setting up a brilliant ninth-minute opener.
The midfielder's 40-yard pass was matched by a superb run from Nasri, who raced between Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul, rounded Gomes and produced an amazing clipped finish from the tightest of angles.
Bacary Sagna was booked for a late tackle on Bale before Marouane Chamakh was wrongly flagged offside bursting onto an Andrey Arshavin pass.
Van der Vaart escaped with a warning after reacting furiously to a free-kick decision and Fabregas dragged wide after beating Younes Kaboul to Sagna's ball all too easily.
Spurs were rocking but could have levelled during a short spell of pressure when Kaboul nodded Lennon's cross wide.
But as the visitors pushed forward, they were caught on the break by a wonderful sucker-punch goal in the 27th minute.
The move started right at the back, flowing effortlessly through midfield before finishing when Arshavin's low cross was poked home by Chamakh.
It was no more than Arsenal deserved, the home side looking every inch the title contenders and the visitors very much also-rans.
Luka Modric did force an uncomfortable parry from Fabianski and Van der Vaart blazed over to herald a sustained spell of Spurs dominance.
But while Arsenal's defence creaked, it refused to buckle and they might have had a third goal in stoppage-time had Chamakh beaten Kaboul or had Nasri's touch been better.