Tottenham vs Arsenal: Spurs overwhelm 10-man Gunners in north London derby to ignite top-four bid
Tottenham overwhelmed 10-man Arsenal to reignite their Champions League qualification hopes with an emphatic 3-0 victory in a breathless 191st north London derby.
Arsenal wilted and then imploded on a night of high drama and tension at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Cedric Soares' push on Heung-Min Son presenting Harry Kane with the 22nd-minute penalty he converted to give Spurs the lead. The Gunners, overawed by the atmosphere and occasion, were reduced to 10 men when Rob Holding was given his marching orders for a mindless barge on Son (33), and Spurs needed just four minutes to hammer home their advantage when Kane stooped to head in his second. Any prospect of an Arsenal comeback was extinguished when Son fired in a third, and his 21st of the season, 70 seconds into the second half, as fifth-placed Spurs saw out a comprehensive victory to cut fourth-placed Arsenal's advantage in the race for a top-four finish to a point with two games to play. Champions League qualification is still in Arsenal's hands but the damaging nature of this north London derby collapse and a less than favourable run-in will give Tottenham renewed belief of finishing ahead of the Gunners in the top four.
Spurs ensure top-four race goes to the wire
The north London derby was a powder keg waiting to be ignited and, after an encouraging Arsenal start, the spark came for Spurs midway through the half. Cedric's nudge prevented Son from reaching Dejan Kulusevski's deep cross and left referee Paul Tierney with no option but to point to the spot, from where Kane slotted home for the 13th time in this fixture. Cedric's clumsy conceding of the penalty was upstaged in farcical circumstances when Holding recklessly collided with Son off the ball and picked up his second yellow of the game to leave Arsenal with almost an hour to overturn the one-goal deficit with 10 men. Tottenham took full advantage of the man advantage, with Kane evading Takehiro Tomiyasu to head in his second within four minutes of Holding's dismissal, and Spurs ensured they retained a tight grip on the contest through to the interval when Hugo Lloris tipped Eddie Nketiah's curling effort over the bar. Two swiftly become three when the ball broke for Son in the Arsenal area after Gabriel's sliding challenge on Kane, and the South Korean dispatched Spurs' third in the second minute of the second half. Arsenal were indebted to Aaron Ramsdale for preventing further embarrassment with fine saves to keep out Emerson Royal's header and Kane's swerving, long-range drive, but that was scant consolation for the Gunners who must pick themselves up fast to avoid their north London rivals adding the most-coveted of prizes - Champions League qualification - to this derby triumph before the season is up.tur.
Holding's immaturity costs Arsenal
Rob Holding has revelled in his role as Arsenal's finisher at times this season, coming off the bench to help secure wins over Wolves, Watford, Aston Villa and Manchester United. He started victories over West Ham and Leeds this month. But this was a wretched night. The central defender had fouled Heung-Min Son twice already before he even went into the book. Smiling at the Spurs man, one might have thought he was relishing the battle, but instead he became caught up in it. Gary Neville called it ego and that is how it seemed. "What is he doing? Oh my goodness," said Neville, on-co-commentary for Sky Sports. "I am watching the run and I think he has a jab with his elbow. He is saying it is a shoulder but it is madness from Holding. He has been erratic, he has been rash, and he is off." Holding is 26 with half a dozen seasons of Premier League experience, but this was the behaviour of a player lost in the moment, displaying immaturity when cool heads were required. "Son played Holding like a little boy," said Neville. It was difficult to disagree.
Fortress Tottenham - Opta stats
-Spurs have won three consecutive home league games against Arsenal for the first time since August 1961.
-Arsenal suffered their heaviest league defeat against Spurs since April 1983 (0-5), while this was the first time that the Gunners have ever trailed by more than two goals in a Premier League fixture against them.
-Spurs have only lost one of their last one of their last 11 Premier League games against Arsenal when below them in the table (W5 D5), losing 0-1 in March 2014 under Tim Sherwood. Indeed, Spurs are now unbeaten in their last six Premier League clashes against Arsenal when trailing them in the table (W3 D3).
-Since Antonio Conte's first Premier League game in charge of the club, only Manchester City (69) and Liverpool (64) have won more points in the competition than Spurs (50). Similarly, only those two teams have scored more league goals than Conte's side (54) in this period.
What's next for Tottenham
May 15 - Burnley (h)
May 22 - Norwich (a)
What's next for Arsenal?
May 16 - Newcastle (a)
May 22 - Everton (h)
|7.||West Ham United||38||+9||56||16||8||14||60||51|
|9.||Brighton & Hove Albion||38||-2||51||12||15||11||42||44|
|10.||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||38||-5||51||15||6||17||38||43|
|11.||Newcastle United FC||38||-18||49||13||10||15||44||62|
|20.||Norwich City FC||38||-61||22||5||7||26||23||84|
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