Tottenham win the north London derby with Harry Kane header
Wasteful Spurs miss chance to rack up a big win
10 February, 2018 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
FA Premier League
SPURS 1 (Kane 49)
SPURS claimed north London bragging rights with a 1-0 win against rivals Arsenal at their temporary home at Wembley this afternoon (Saturday) – with Harry Kane bagging his seventh goal in eight north London derbies.
In front of a record Premiership crowd at the national stadium, Spurs will reflect on a solid win but wonder how they did not enjoy a more comfortable margin victory. Kane’s second half header was the difference between the sides but it failed to tell the whole story of a match that showed how far the wind has shifted in Tottenham’s direction. Arsenal won 2-0 in the reverse fixture in November.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said afterwards he was “proud”, adding: “We played so well over 90 minutes but in the second half, for the first 20, 25 minutes, we played amazing football and created many, many chances.”
Spurs came into the game having seen off Manchester United at home and earned a good point away at Liverpool and Pochettino said the dressing room was oozing with belief as they head into the business end of the season.
He added: “Football is about trust, belief and confidence. It is a good moment for us.”
And the manager singled out the rampaging, man of the match display by Mousa Dembele, who was out injured earlier in the season but is now enjoying rich form.
He said: “There is no doubt he is an unbelievable player. If he can train, he can give you this type of performance.”
An edgy start from both sides – typical of a north London Derby – saw plenty of battling in the middle but no team carving a clear opportunity, bar a deflected Keiran Trippier cross that Petr Cech had to turn past a post.
As the half drifted on, Spurs began to get the upper hand but were let down by a lack of composure. Kane had a free header on 25 after sneaking in between the Arsenal centre backs but he could only send his effort over the bar.
Dembele saw a miss-hit shot fall at the feet of Eric Dier – just two yards out, he couldn’t make a connection.
At the other end, Arsenal were kept at arms length, with Hector Bellerin resorting to a long shot as they failed to find space behind the Spurs back four.
Pochettino’s half time talk sent Spurs out with a sense of purpose and almost immediately it paid dividends.
Four minutes in, Kane kept up his remarkable record against Arsenal. Dembele was out of the blocks like a man possessed and made a couple of opportunities before Arsenal had found any rhythm. He found Ben Davies in space and the full back’s inch perfect cross saw Kane leap highest and head home.
Then it was relentless as Spurs went for the kill, but were unable to score any more goals.
Kane narrowly headed wide, saw a volley clawed away and then Cech had to be at full stretch to stop a Christian Eriksen free kick finding the top corner.
It set a pattern. Spurs looked likely to increase their lead when ever they got over the half way line but never did. The first true chance Arsenal created was a curler from Jack Wilshere on 67 minutes – but Hugo Lloris was never troubled by it.
As the clock ticked down, Heung-Min Son hit row z when he had time to do better and substitute Erik Lamela forced Cech into a last ditch block. He would then drag an even better chance wide as the number of chances bottled by the Spurs forwards racked up.
Alexandre Lacazette nearly nicked a point in the dying moments but couldn’t get his effort on target after finding space. It would have been cruel on Tottenham, who are now 17 points off the top of the table but up to third.
SPURS: Lloris, Trippier, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Son (Lamela, 69), Kane, Dier, Dembele, Alli (Wanyama, 83), Eriksen, Davies
Subs not used: Vorm, Rose, Sissoko, Aurier, Moura.
ARSENAL: Cech, Koscielny, Mkhitaryan (Lacazette,64) Wilshere, Ozil, Aubameyang, Monreal, Mustafi, Bellerin, Xhaka (Welbeck, 85) Elneny (Iwobi, 64).
Subs not used: Ospina, Chambers, Maitlan-Niles, Kolasnic.
Attendance: 83,222 (Spurs playing home matches at Wembley)