Arsenal break Spurs hearts
November 09 , 2003
Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1
Spurs looked on course to end a barren 11-season barren sequence at Highbury as they deservedly led through Darren Anderton's early goal.
But after the miserable Helder Postiga squandered two gilt-edged opportunities to double the advantage for David Pleat's side, Arsenal struck back to snatch a vital victory.
Robert Pires scored a hotly-disputed equaliser, then Freddie Ljungberg hit the winner 11 minutes from time via a wicked deflection off Steven Carr.
Spurs were left shattered after a battling display, with Postiga the undisputed villain of the piece.
Arsenal gave a first Premiership start of the season to Kanu as they attempted to continue their recent supremacy over their arch-rivals.
But it was Spurs who stunned Highbury by taking the lead after only four minutes through veteran Anderton.
Postiga and Robbie Keane were involved in the build-up, and when Lauren hurried a clearance Anderton was on hand to stab the finish past Jens Lehmann.
Arsenal responded instantly, with Thierry Henry forcing a fine save as he dived full length to turn his shot around the post.
But the central figure of an often abrasive first half was Portuguese youngster Postiga, who wasted two glorious chances to score his first goal since his £6.5m summer arrival from Porto.
Postiga twice failed to take advantage of poor back passes from Lauren, first over-running the ball and then allowing Lehmann to save at his feet once again.
The first chance sparked angry scenes when Lehmann was caught - but they were two desperate moments for a striker short on confidence.
Tempers had frayed throughout the first half, with the theatrical Pires involved in several angry exchanges with Spurs players.
Keller kept Spurs ahead with another fine save from Henry, who needed lengthy treatment after being accidentally caught in the throat by Steven Carr's arm.
Spurs continued in an attacking vein after the interval, taking advantage of a ragged Arsenal performance which eventually saw Wenger introduce Dennis Bergkamp for Gilberto on the hour.
And just as Arsenal's play was descending into frustration, they equalised in controversial circumstances after 69 minutes.
Spurs appealed for offside as Henry raced through, and even though Keller saved, the ball ran loose for Pires to take the easiest of chances.
And the game was turned on its head 10 minutes later when Ljungberg's shot took a wicked deflection off Carr and looped over the helpless Keller.