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Premier League: Tottenham 3 Arsenal 3

SoccerNews in English Premier League 20 Apr 2011

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Rafael Van der Vaart scored twice as Tottenham came from two goals down to deal Arsenal’s title hopes a body blow at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal thought they had cut Manchester United’s lead at the top of the table to four points when Robin van Persie added to earlier strikes from Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri to put the visitors 3-1 ahead five minutes before half-time.

But Tom Huddlestone’s strike reduced the deficit before van der Vaart fired home a penalty to add to a low drive in the first half that had briefly brought Tottenham level.

And despite numerous chances for both sides, the game somehow ended without further additions to the scoresheet.

Ultimately neither side will be happy with the result as it also dealt a blow to Tottenham’s hopes of finishing in the top four, as well as ensuring Arsenal lost ground at the top of the table.

It took Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas barely any time to help the Gunners into the lead, the Spaniard playing a perfectly weighted ball in behind the Spurs defence for Walcott to run onto for the opener.

Yet the lead lasted barely two minutes. Again it was a fine through-ball that created the goal, although it came from the unlikely form of right-back Vedran Corluka.

The Croatian bisected Arsenal’s centre-backs with the pass, and that allowed van der Vaart to run on and strike the ball low past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

However, Arsenal re-took the lead after 12 minutes, when Samir Nasri exchanged passes with Fabregas and Abou Diaby before smashing past Heurelho Gomes from 22 yards.

Arsenal deserved another goal and got it five minutes before half time, with Walcott capitalising on a mistake from William Gallas to set up van Persie for the Gunners’ third.

But to finish off an astonishing first-half Tottenham then pulled another goal back as Huddlestone showed outstanding technique to fire a thunderous half-volley past Szczesny from 25 yards after Fabregas had mis-kicked a clearance.

After putting sustained pressure on the Arsenal goal, Spurs eventually drew level after Szczesny brought down Aaron Lennon as he chased down a Luka Modric through-ball.

Van der Vaart stepped up and dispatched the spot kick to level the scores, and neither side could add to their tally despite both Gomes and Szczesny being forced to make excellent saves in the dying minutes.

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