Tomas Rosicky has fired Arsenal back into the Premier League title race as the Czech midfielder’s quick-fire strike clinched a crucial 1-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham.
Arsene Wenger’s side began the weekend seven points behind Chelsea, but they moved to within four points of the leaders – with a game in hand – thanks to Rosicky’s winner after just 72 seconds.
The Czech midfielder’s goal, and the gritty defensive display that followed it, secured Arsenal’s first league win at White Hart Lane since 2007 in Wenger’s 999th match in charge.
The third placed Gunners feared their title challenge was fading after a defeat at Stoke, but they are firmly back in the race and a titanic encounter against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side looms at Stamford Bridge next weekend.
“It’s a huge result because we were under pressure to win before the game,” Wenger said.
“Tottenham played well and sometimes we were under pressure, so we needed some special resilience to get away with it. It’s three massive points.”
Tottenham’s third successive defeat was harsh on Tim Sherwood’s fifth placed team, who look to have blown their chances of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish.
“First and foremost, I wanted the performance. We got that but we didn’t get the result,” Sherwood said.
“The fans won’t be happy with that but anyone who has seen that performance will know we didn’t deserve to lose.”
Arsenal had already defeated their hated neighbours twice this season and they were quickly back in the ascendancy thanks to a virtuoso contribution from the man nicknamed ‘the little Mozart’.
Rosicky was only playing because of an injury to the club’s record signing Mesut Ozil, but he made a more decisive contribution than the German has managed for months.