Ten-man Tottenham Hotspur slumped to a humiliating 5-2 defeat against Arsenal for the second time in successive north London derbies.
The visitors took an early lead through Emmanuel Adebayor but the Togolese striker was rightly sent off soon after and ten-man Spurs capitulated to a rampant Arsenal.
The home side grabbed three before the break through Mertesacker, Podolski and Giroud and Cazorla sealed the win early in the second half before a late Walcott goal completed the rout.
Bale grabbed one back for Spurs with 15 minutes left but it was too little too late for the visitors who slip to eighth in the Premier League and drop below their north London rivals.
Things started so brightly for Spurs when ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor tapped in after ten minutes when Wojciech Szczesny parried Jermain Defoe’s low shot.
But the Togolese striker quickly went from hero to villain when he was sent off in the 17th minute for a nasty high challenge on Santi Cazorla.
With Spurs down to ten men, Arsenal suddenly had the momentum and Per Mertesacker levelled for the Gunners in the 24th minute when he headed in Theo Walcott’s floated cross.
Arsene Wenger’s side were ahead when Lucas Podolski’s deflected shot bobbled into the far corner past the helpless Lloris and Olivier Giroud compounded Tottenham’s misery on the stroke of half time when he tapped in Cazorla’s low cross after the Spaniard had rounded the Spurs defence.
Gallas had the ball in the net in the ninth minute but he was rightly ruled offside and Lennon flashed wide of the far post moments after the opening goal as Spurs dominated the opening stages.
Andre Villas-Boas was forced into a tactical change at half time with his side firmly on the back foot. Dempsey and Dawson came on for full-backs Walker and Naughton as Tottenham switched to a 3-5-1 in a bid to take the game to Arsenal.
The result was an open game in the second half Carzorla turned from creator to scorer on 60 minutes when he slotted home Podolski’s pass across the six-yard box with the Spurs defence in disarray.
Bale made it 4-2 when he rounded Mertesacker and slotted past Szczesny from the edge of the box.
And the Welshman could have reduced the deficit further when he was played in behind by Clint Dempsey but fired wide of the far post with Defoe on hand to tap in.
Walcott twice squandered opportunities to score Arsenal’s fifth when he first dithered on the ball after being played through and then took a heavy touch to gift the ball to Lloris when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
But the winger got his goal, and Arsenal’s fifth, when he slotted home in added time to round off a miserable afternoon for Tottenham and hand Andre Villas-Boas his third league defeat in a row.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Wilshere (Ramsey, 72), Arteta, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 87), Podolski (Andre Santos, 80). Subs: Mannone, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker (Dempsey, 45), Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton (Dawson, 45), Lennon, Sandro, Huddlestone (Carroll, 72), Bale, Adebayor, Defoe. Subs: Friedel, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Townsend.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).
Bookings: Lennon, 45, Sandro, 66.
Sendings off: Adebeyor, 17.