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.
What’s next for Tottenham
May 15 – Burnley (h)
May 22 – Norwich (a)
What’s next for Arsenal?
May 16 – Newcastle (a), live on Sky Sports
May 22 – Everton (h)
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.
Source : Sky Sports