‘Proud’ Pochettino vows to chase title after Spurs cruise to victory over Arsenal
2-0 victory in the north London derby means Spurs will finally finish above their rivals for the first time in 22 seasons
30 April, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
Harry Kane scored Spurs’ second goal in this afternoon’s north London derby at White Hart Lane
SPURS 2, ARSENAL 0
SPURS laid to rest the north London hoodoo that has been hanging over them for more than two decades this afternoon, comfortably beating their neighbours in what was the penultimate match at White Hart Lane – and it means they are north London’s top club this year, for the first time in an eye-watering 22 seasons.
The 2-0 win, which was thoroughly deserved, puts Spurs 17 points ahead of Arsenal with four games remaining. After the match, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino praised the efforts of his team.
He said: “I feel very proud. The players gave their best and they were fantastic. I thought we fully deserved the victory and it means we are still in the race for the title.”
He added that he would give his players tomorrow off and then have them in on Tuesday to prepare for the visit to West Ham on Friday night.
Pochettino added: “The players are already focussed on the next game. There are four left to play and we can only keep going and see what we can do.”
And while for Pochettino the aim is to win the title, the sense of relief and raw joy around the Lane was potent. His team looked easily more dangerous in the first half, despite Arsenal holding them, but there was a real sense that these two teams are travelling in different directions at the moment.
The best chance of the opening 20 minutes came when Harry Kane broke the offside trap, cut back and nearly put the ball on to Dele Alli’s head. The forward could not get enough on it to turn it home.
Then Heung-Min Son broke quickly down the left, his shot was deflected into the path of the bubbly Christian Eriksen, and he skimmed the bar with the goal gaping.
Later on in the opening 45, Jan Vertonghen, whose silk and steel display typified his team’s performances this season, hit a curler after gathering the ball from a cleared corner. Petr Cech did well to get down low to his left to push the shot away.
At the other end, Hugo Lloris had one save to make, reacting to a drive by Olivier Giroud.
The relentless attitude showed by Spurs was to pay dividends 10 minutes into the second half, when the game was effectively won in a one-minute flurry.
On 55, Kane chased a ball down and held it up. Eriksen wriggled into a shooting position, Cech could only parry his effort and Alli was on hand to score.
A minute later any semblance of Arsenal making it a contest was over: Kane broke on the left and was tripped in the box by Gabriel. He coolly slotted the penalty home.
From then on, despite Arsenal huffing and puffing to find a way back, it felt like Spurs could attack at will. Son had a good call for another spot-kick when Sanchez handled it, Vertonghen forced Cech into a leaping save and Kane turned a header narrowly wide.
There was very little in answer from Arsenal, and when they did get across the halfway line, Spurs looked impregnable at the back with Vertonghen, in particular, putting in a world-class performance.
So Spurs will finish above Arsenal this season – and on the strength of today’s performance, that is all they deserve.
SPURS: Lloris, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Son (Dembele, 78), Kane, Wanyama, Dier, Trippier (Walker, 87), Alli (Sissoko, 90), Eriksen, Davies.
Subs: Vorm, Walker, Janssen, Nkoudou,Sissoko, Dembele, Wimmer.