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Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League: Half-time score 1-0, Giroud puts Gunners ahead in uneventful first half

Olivier Giroud has Arsenal in the lead against Tottenham after a rather stale first half at the Emirates Stadium.

Clive Mason

Olivier Giroud has put Arsenal ahead at half-time against Tottenham, in a North London Derby that has so far been uncharacteristically quiet.

The game started quite brightly, with Tottenham earning an early corner before Santiago Cazorla twice went close with long-range efforts, the second a low free-kick which whizzed just wide of the post.

The game then petered out somewhat, with Spurs' powerful but functional midfield taking over, yet a counter-attack from the home side saw Arsenal take the lead slightly against the run of play. As Per Mertesacker put his foot on the ball to halt a Spurs attack, Theo Walcott was able to take advantage of some poor positioning from Danny Rose before Olivier Giroud escaped the attention of Michael Dawson to tap in the cross from close range.

Arsenal had their heads up after the goal, and Aaron Ramsey and Walcott combined well shortly afterwards as the latter saw a low shot squirm away from Hugo Lloris as the hosts almost went two up. Arsenal continued their pressure and with Spurs struggling to clear their lines, Ramsey ought to have scored from a loose ball just afterwards, but blazed his effort over.

Mathieu Flamini made his home debut shortly afterwards, although not in circumstances that the home crowd were keen to see, with Jack Wilshere limping off injured.

It's been a decent half for Arsenal, but Tottenham will need to find something else to mount a comeback here. Erik Lamela is on the bench - his introduction could be an important one.