Iconic debuts: Danny Rose, a worldie & Arsenal’s shattered title dreams

The North London derby rarely disappoints. But few moments quite compare to when Danny Rose announced himself to the world with a rocket against the Gunners as Tottenham hosted Arsenal back in 2010.

This is a fixture almost guaranteed to deliver the drama. After all, we’ve not seen a goalless draw between these two sides in over a decade now.

Ahead of the two sides meeting in April 2010, it is important to consider the context around the game. The North London derby is always a huge spectacle, but this game had even more riding on it.

Arsenal had won seven of their last eight Premier League matches and were just three points behind Chelsea who were topping the league with five games to go.

Tottenham, on the other hand, were in a battle with Manchester City for the top four. Harry Redknapp’s side were just one point behind City and they knew they needed a result in this game.

Earlier in the season Arsenal had made light work of Spurs, beating them 3-0 at the Emirates with relative ease. As well as pride being on the line, this was also a revenge mission for Tottenham.

This game was especially memorable for Rose who was handed his first Premier League start against Arsenal. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end.

Redknapp’s decision to start Rose was almost instantly vindicated as he scored a rocket of a volley just 10 minutes in to give Tottenham the lead at White Hart Lane.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who played alongside Rose in the game, recalled the moment from his point of view and what it meant to the debutant.

“The instruction at the time was probably to help Danny with his confidence but when you are a defender, you have to have extraordinary confidence,” Assou-Ekotto told ChronicleLive.

“You cannot have fear when you go out onto the pitch, especially when there is no need for extra motivation for a game like this. When you see how Danny took the ball without hesitation, you could not doubt his state of mind – he was super confident.

“I was very happy for him. It was a fantastic goal, probably the most beautiful of his career to date, because for a debut it was fantastic, especially when we know the ‘love story’ there is between Spurs and Arsenal.”

Gareth Bale doubled Tottenham’s lead early into the second half before Nicklas Bendtner scored a consolation goal for Arsenal to make it 2-1.

The result was also a historic one for Spurs as it was their first triumph over Arsenal in the Premier League for over a decade.

Understandably so, Arsene Wenger was downbeat after the final whistle and admitted that the result was a huge blow to their title hopes.

“There is too much to do to win the title,” said Wenger. “We are very unlikely to win it but we will continue to fight. You never know. Even a point here would not have been good enough.

“We lost a game we couldn’t afford to lose in the title race and that shows that we are not mature enough. If you want to win the title, this is the kind of game you can’t lose.”

The resulting hangover from the North London derby defeat was especially felt in the following weeks. The Gunners went on to lose against Wigan and Blackburn to ultimately finish third in the league and 11 points behind Chelsea.

The result gave Spurs the boost they needed though as they managed to pip Man City into fourth place by three points. All thanks to a wonder strike from Rose on his debut.

By Ben Stewart

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