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Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Premier League Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Arsenal
Harry Kane bagged a brace as Tottenham Hotspur closed the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal in what proved to be a largely one-sided North London derby in N17.
For Antonio Conte, this was his first taste of the bitter rivalry: “It’s my first north London derby and I know very well what this game means for this club, for our fans,” the Italian explained.
“We have to know very well what it also means for the table for us at this moment. We are fighting for a place in the Champions League, we are in this race with Arsenal.
“We are doing a really good job to stay in this race. At the same time, I want to try to give satisfaction to our fans, they deserve this type of satisfaction in a tough game, a derby against Arsenal.”
There wasn’t any error for margin where Tottenham was concerned. Arsenal arrived in fourth place with a four-point cushion. A victory for the visitors ended any lingering hopes of Champions League football in N17 next season.
The opening exchanges were played out at a fierce pace. The atmosphere was hostile, electric, and unforgiving. The football was scruffy and frantic as defences hunted in packs. Hugo Lloris was swiftly called upon to field Martin Odegaard’s speculative attempt as Arsenal looked to dampen the mood.
But then a moment of madness Cedric was clumsy on Heung-Min Son. The crowd, collectively, held their breath. Kane caused an explosion of noise, sending Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick – his twelfth goal against the Lilywhites’ nearest and dearest.
Arsenal needed a cool head – discipline. They got the exact opposite! Rob Holding went in the book for a foul on Son, then swiftly departed for an early bath after checking the same man.
It swiftly went from bad to worse for the Gunners. Son’s flag kick flicked on. Kane arrived to nod his second, Tottenham’s second and an unlucky thirteenth for Mikel Arteta’s men.
Arteta’s game-plan to contain and hold possession had already failed abysmally. Two minutes after the restart it was three. Kane ran into traffic – Son picked up the pieces to score – Some Gunners fans headed for the High Road.
Ramsdale produced a superb save to rebuff Emerson Royal’s goalbound header, then tipped over a piledriver from Kane as the home side went for the kill. The audience demanded satisfaction. Son, somehow scooped over when provided with an opportunity to add a fourth.
But this had long since ended as a contest. Gabriel went down clutching his hamstring as Arteta’s problems continued to mount. Meanwhile, Lloris saved from Odegaard as the Arsenal skipper tried to provide those that had stayed with a crumb of comfort.
Arsenal’s top-four destiny remains in their own hands and it shouldn’t be forgotten that Arteta has dragged the club by the scruff of its neck into this loft position following an alarming start to their campaign. But only time will tell if any significant damage has been done to their morale ahead of Monday’s tricky trip to Newcastle United.
Spurs return to Premier League action on Sunday, May 15 when they face Burnley at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Noon).
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Sanchez, Dier, Davies (Rodon 81′), Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon, Kulusevski (Lucas 72′), Son (Bergwijn 72′), Kane Subs not used: Gollini (GK), Craig, White, Winks, Devine, Scarlett
Booked: Ben Davies (foul)
Goals: Harry Kane 23′ (penalty), 37′, Heing-Min Son 47′
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel (Tavares 76′), Cedric, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka, Odegaard (Capt), Martinelli (Smith Rowe 64′), Nketia (Lacazette 72′) Subs not used: Leno (GK), Swanson, White, Lokonga, Patino, Pepe
Booked: Rob Holding (foul), Smith Rowe (foul), Odegaard (foul), Xhaka (dissent)
Sent-Off: Rob Holding (foul – second yellow card)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis and Neil Davies
Fourth Official: Peter Bankes
VAR: Mike Dean
Assistant VAR: Lee Betts