This fixture has had a 4-4 draw in its recent past, but for those who have watched both that game and tonight's game, this one might seem a little more crazy. Not just because this one is fresh in our minds, but because of the unbelievable pace of play, the great saves, and the number of chances. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC played a spectacular match in this edition of the North London Derby, and it's one that we'll remember for a long time. FIRE UP THAT DVD MACHINE!
At the start of the game, it looked like Spurs were in for a disaster. Like they've started so many of their games in recent history, they were down 1-0 after just five minutes, thanks to Theo Walcott. As he cut inside, Cesc Fabregas played him in with a through ball, through the central defenders, who fell asleep. Once he was in, there was no catching Walcott, and he finished well past Gomes.
Rafael van der Vaart quickly equalized, and his goal brought up questions about Arsene Wenger's team selection. Blowing by Abou Diaby, who inexplicably started over Jack Wilshere, VDV played himself into a shooting position in the box and put an impressive right-footed finish by Wojciech Szczęsny.
Arsenal would get the next two goals, and with Spurs 3-1 down, the game looked very much like one Spurs would fail to get any points from. Samir Nasri scored a fantastic goal, assisted by some bad defending in the 12th minute, and Robin Van Persie scored in the 40th thanks to some equally shoddy defending, despite Gomes saving his first effort.
Tom Huddlestone gave everyone hope going into halftime, though, when he hit an absolutely spectacular low volleyed shot from the outside of the penalty area, following a set piece situation. The technique on his shot was something to behold, and the goal gave Spurs belief going into the locker room.
Gareth Bale and Vedran Corluka were both hobbled in the first half, and they were replaced at halftime by Aaron Lennon and Younes Kaboul. While there was plenty of entertainment value in the beginning of the half, it wasn't nearly as open as the first, and the nerves probably set in fully for most Spurs fans.
Spurs would find their equalizer, though, in the 70th minute. Aaron Lennon drew a penalty when he was taken down in the box by Szczęsny, but in the (probably correct) judgment of the referee, he did not deny a clear goal scoring opportunity in the process, and was not sent off. Rafael van der Vaart stepped up to take the penalty and he converted, tying up the game at 3-3.
Both teams had opportunities to win the game throughout a chaotic final 20 minutes, but both goalkeepers were spectacular to finish the game. Szczęsny, in particular, made two absolutely stunning saves.
Because of their respective standings in the table, a draw might feel like a loss for both teams. However, after going down 3-1, Tottenham will likely be the much happier of the two teams tonight.
Oh, and Arsenal haven't beaten Tottenham in the league in their last three tries, by the way. Lawwwwl.