Spurs ran out convincing 2-0 winners in the last North London Derby to be played at White Hart Lane. The result was massive for Spurs considering Chelsea had extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 7 points earlier in the day when they defeated Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park.
Any concerns that the Chelsea result would impact Spurs psychologically were put to bed after a couple of minutes as the home side flew out of the blocks. Kane and Alderwerald both went close with half chances within the first 5 minutes. Arsenal again played in a 3-5-2 formation with the intention of absorbing pressure from the home side and then hitting them on the break.
On 25 minutes Spurs had the first real clear cut chance of the game but Dele Alli somehow managed to head Kane’s deflected shot wide from no more than 3 yards out. More disappointment was soon to follow for Spurs when Eriksen volleyed over from the edge of the 6 yard box after some excellent work down the left by Son.
The home crowd grew uneasy as they sensed that missing such clear cut chances in a big game like this could come back to haunt them and Arsenal began to grow into the game as half time approached. Ramsey had a curling effort from just outside the box pushed around the post by Lloris and soon after Sanchez shot just wide with a similar effort.
As it happened Alli did not have to wait long into the second half to have the chance to atone for his earlier miss. Eriksen’s close range shot was parried out by Cech and the former MK Dons man was the first to react, sliding in to strike a low left footed effort into the net from the edge of the six yard box.
Nobody does “self-destruct” quite like Arsenal and within 90 seconds the game was over. Kane knocked the ball past Gabriel in the box and the striker, who left his leg hanging out awaiting the contact, needed little invitation to go down. Referee Micheal Oliver pointed straight to the spot and Kane smashed the penalty home, low into the bottom left hand corner. Kane really is the king of London Derbies, this was his 6th goal in his last 5 games against Arsenal.
Sanchez stung the palms of Lloris with a left footed drive on the hour mark and Wenger tried to spark some life into his side by bringing on Walcott and Welbeck. Not much changed however as Spurs were on a different level to Arsenal, they were superior in every aspect of the game; individually, collectively, tactically, mentally and physically.
As we have come to expect from Arsenal, once they had conceded the second goal they lost their tactical discipline and shape. Had it not been for Petr Cech, who produced top class saves from Kane, Vertonghen, Waynayama and Alderwerald, the score line could have been a lot more embarrassing for Arsene Wenger’s men.
If anybody had any doubts regarding the power shift that has occurred in North London over the last couple of years then this game just rammed it home even further.
Significantly the result marked the first time in 22 years that Spurs have finished above the Gunners in the League. However, as Spurs boss Pochetinno pointed out after the game, this Spurs side’s main priority is the Premier League title which shows a massive mentality switch at the club which has been further demonstrated by 2 very mature performances when the pressure has been on in the last week. It does seem unlikely that Spurs will be able to catch Chelsea but a second placed finish still marks progress for the club and if they keep hold of all of their best players they will push hard for the league next season.
For Arsenal it was simply more of the same, a poor away performance against a top 6 side. Serious changes will be needed in the summer otherwise Arsenal are heading for a long period as the little brother of North London football.
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