London, Dec 3 (IANS) Arsenal had to dig deep to rally from a 1-2 deficit to prevail over Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in a thrilling North London derby here.
Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Sunday gave Arsenal the lead 10 minutes into the first half when he successfully delivered from the 12-yard spot after Tottenham’s Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen touched the ball with his hands inside the area, reports Efe.
Making his second consecutive starting lineup appearance after being sidelined for several weeks by injury, Vertonghen unsuccessfully protested the penalty decision.
Aubameyang had the second goal teed up, minutes later, but instead of tipping the ball into the goal from close range, he overshot the ball.
Tottenham hit back, however, scoring twice over a four-minute stretch, although both goals were controversial.
Danish attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, Tottenham’s hero against Inter Milan in their UEFA Champions League clash, sent a cross into the area and English defensive midfielder Eric Dier, seemingly in an off-side position, headed it home at the half hour mark.
Four minutes later Tottenham struck again, this time on a controversial penalty kick the referee Mike Dean awarded the Spurs as South Korean forward Heung-Min Son seemingly dived inside the area.
The English forward did not disappoint as he successfully converted the penalty, giving his team the lead for the first and last time in the game.
Trailing 2-1, Arsenal coach Unai Emery replaced Armenian attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nigerian forward Alex Iwobi, inserting French forward Alexandre Lacazette and Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey after the intermission.
It took the Welsh player only 13 minutes to set up Aubameyang for the second goal as Ramsey made the most of a nice move by Spanish right back Hector Bellerin.
At this point, Emery sought the win and gambled inserting young French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi to play with only two central defenders instead of three.
The bold move paid off as Lacazette scored the third goal on a shot that ricocheted off Dier and found the back of the net, successfully culminating the counterattack.
Just three minutes later, Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira secured the insurance goal, sparking wild celebrations in the stands.
With the win, Arsenal climbed into the fourth spot of the Premier League table with 30 points on goal differential ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham.