x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Shine on a five-star show as Arsenal thrash Tottenham in London derby

Arsenal's fightback against Tottenham one of many highlights as Paul Radley looks at the things we learnt from the north London derby.

Tomas Rosicky, left, and Robin van Persie celebrate Arsenal’s third goal against Tottenham in London on Sunday.
Tomas Rosicky, left, and Robin van Persie celebrate Arsenal’s third goal against Tottenham in London on Sunday.

The dynamic individual

A banner hanging off the top tier at the Emirates Stadium read: "We don't need Batman, we've got Robin."

The ambitious Batman has probably already made a big money move to one of Europe's biggest clubs. Maybe Robin van Persie will do the same at the end of this season.

Of all the memories Arsenal fans will be left with if the Dutchman does follow Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to the exit door later this year, Sunday's forget-me-not will perhaps be cherished the most.

"The fans suffered in the last couple of weeks," Van Persie, whose curling effort swung the game in Arsenal's favour, said in his television interview after the game. "This one was for them."

Redknapp's wife

After news emerged that the wife of the owner of Bournemouth – a lower league side who Harry Redknapp once managed – had been allowed to give a team talk to their first team recently, perhaps he should have let his missus have a go at half time yesterday. She could not have done any worse.

He rates Sandra as a better finisher than Darren Bent. Perhaps she could have given a good pep talk, too.

Spurs were rocking after two goals just before the break had wiped out their initial advantage.

Even the England manager-elect could not halt the slide, as he opted for Sandro instead of Sandra. "We are well disappointed," Redknapp said afterwards. Quite.

Youth's second chance

What ever happened to that team Arsene Wenger was building? The one with all the young thrusters, who were going to mature together and dominate English football when they were all grown up?

He weaned Fabregas. He left. He gave Nasri his head. He went. And Theo Walcott? Not up to it, according to the majority of home fans at the Emirates at half time.

The former Southampton wonder boy has been around so long, it is easy to forget he is still only 22. He has scored a hat-trick for England in the past, and his two against Spurs were predictably well received by those who wanted him off the field at the break.

Maybe he does still have a bit of potential, after all.

That back four is a shocker

One of the teams playing in the north London derby had conceded eight goals in one Premier League game earlier this season. A few months on, their defenders still look like they have yet to be introduced.

In truth, Arsenal's creaky defence hardly covered themselves in glory against their bitterest rivals, yet they managed to get away with it because their visitors were abject at the back.

Kyle Walker is an England right-back in the making.

Ledley King is better than John Terry, according to the song Spurs supporters sing, even though he only has one knee.

Younes Kaboul has been a pillar of his side's strong form this season, while Redknapp rates Benoit Assou-Ekotto as one of the finest left-backs in the league.

Given those credentials, they all picked a bad time to have a collective off day.

Acting tough out of fashion

It is not clear how much interest Togolese, Croatian, Cameroonian and Spanish footballers have in the Six Nations rugby, but they really need to take a look.

The contrast is currently embarrassing.

In rugby, the whole point is to act tough. In Premier League football, it seems apparent that the opposite is the case.

Opta did not provide statistics for the number of times a player threw himself to the ground when he lost control of the ball, acting as if a sniper had gunned him down, then immediately got up and remonstrated with the referee after not getting a free kick.

Gareth Bale, arguably the biggest culprit, has no excuse.

His compatriots from Wales are the form side in rugby. And he even went to school with Sam Warburton, the rock-hard Wales captain. Stand up.

pradley@thenational.ae