A moment of madness from Emmanuel Adebayor sparked a spectacular Tottenham collapse as Arsenal romped to a 5-2 victory in an entertaining north London derby at the Emirates Stadium.
Adebayor scored against his former employers to give Tottenham a 10th-minute lead, but he straight red seven minutes later for a horrific sliding tackle on the excellent Santi Cazorla. Tottenham struggled to cope with the numerical disadvantage thereafter and it only took a few minutes for Per Mertesacker to equalise.
Lukas Podolski's strike, and Olivier Giroud's fifth goal in his last five games gave Arsenal a comfortable two-goal cushion by half-time. Gareth Bale scored a consolation after Cazorla killed the contest, before Theo Walcott grabbed a deserved goal in injury time, as Arsenal jumped above Spurs in the table.
William Gallas, whose status as a former Gunner also meant he was jeered constantly alongside Adebayor, thought he had given Spurs an early lead when he intercepted Tom Huddlestone's shot and curled a shot past Wojciech Szczesny, but the Frenchman was correctly given offside.
One minute later Spurs did have the lead through their controversial number 10. Szczesny palmed Jermain Defoe's shot in to Adebayor's path and he twisted his body to tap in to an empty net.
Seven minutes later the home fans were jeering Adebayor off after his awful foul on Cazorla as he went in studs showing in a high tackle on the Spaniard. Arsenal peppered the Tottenham box and the inevitable equaliser came after 23 minutes. Walcott latched on to Wilshere's ball and crossed for Mertesacker, who headed past Hugo Lloris.
Huddlestone unwittingly poked Mikel Arteta's pass in to the path of Podolski and his shot deflected off Gallas past Lloris and Arsenal then bagged their third in first-half injury time. Kyle Naughton knocked Cazorla down but he picked himself up and squared to Giroud, who beat Gallas to the ball and dispatched a close-range finish.
Villas-Boas brought on Michael Dawson and Clint Dempsey but the move made little impact as Arsenal remained in control. Lloris managed to keep the hosts out for 14 minutes before Arsenal hit on the break through Walcott and Podolski, who found Cazorla at the back post and he made no mistake from five yards.
Bale then restored a bit of pride for the away side with 20 minutes to go when he drove past Szczesny through Laurent Koscielny's legs. As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes Tottenham started to throw more bodies forward, but they were left exposed at the back.
Defoe attempted a 10-yard volley while unmarked at the back post but he missed the ball Thomas Vermaelen shot just wide and Arsenal finished off the rout in injury time when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took advantage of a Jan Vertonghen mistake to play in Walcott.