Derby day honours firmly belonged to us on Saturday afternoon as we came from behind to beat Arsenal at the Lane thanks to a superb performance full of character, desire and no shortage of quality.
And it was that man Harry Kane who once again scored the goals, converting twice in the second half to overturn Arsenal’s 1-0 half-time advantage and send White Hart Lane into raptures, giving us a victory which saw us climb up to fourth in the table before the afternoon’s fixtures.
Mesut Ozil handed Arsenal the lead 11 minutes into the contest when he volleyed home from 12 yards as we trailed at the interval, but we turned the game on its head in the second period. Kane levelled things up on 56 minutes, tucking in a loose ball following a corner before producing a magnificent header on 86 minutes to secure yet another late 2-1 win.
The headline team news saw Nabil Bentaleb return to the side following his African Cup of Nations exertions with Algeria, while Eric Dier partnered Jan Vertonghen in the centre of defence.
It was a typically frantic opening with both sides looking to go on the attack at every opportunity in the early stages and we almost grabbed a fifth minute lead with a swift break. Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele led the counter-attack, with the latter spraying a pass out to Kane wide on the left who cut inside and sent a curling effort towards the far corner but David Ospina dived to his left to tip it round the post.
But it was the visitors who opened the scoring six minutes later with a fortunate strike. Danny Welbeck burst clear down the right and cut back to Olivier Giroud 15 yards out, his mis-hit effort went straight to Ozil who side-footed a volley past Hugo Lloris.
We responded well to the setback however, with Danny Rose fizzing a shot which Ospina spilled but the danger was cleared, before we went close twice in a matter of seconds on 21 minutes. Lamela made a superb tackle to dispossess Santi Cazorla and begin another foray forwards, ending with Bentaleb drilling a few yards wide of the far post. Just seconds later, Eriksen won the ball back in midfield, Dembele played in Rose who fired across the face of the goal but inches wide.
The Arsenal goalkeeper was certainly the busier of the two stoppers and Ospina produced another spectacular save on the half hour mark. Kane surged into the area, lost the ball but it was well won back by Lamela, who laid a pass into Ryan Mason and he hit a 30-yard effort which Ospina kept out with a diving save.
The Gunners were always a danger on the counter and we always had to be on our guard, but Lloris was largely untroubled. Instead, at the other end Lamela fired over stretching for Kyle Walker’s cross while Kane was well wide five minutes before the break and although we went in behind, we had certainly been the better team.
We were on the offensive within seconds of the restart as Walker’s cross fell kindly for Bentaleb bursting forwards but he fired wide from the edge of the area. Four minutes into the period, Lloris did need to be alert, diving to his left to tip away Cazorla’s low 20-yard drive.
The equaliser came on 56 minutes and it was no more than we deserved. Mason’s drive was deflected off Laurent Koscielny for a corner, Lamela whipped in the set piece which was headed goalwards by Dembele. Ospina palmed it wide but there was Kane, in the right place once again, to calmly slide home into the back of the net.
That sent the Lane wild and it almost exploded in delight moments later following a crazy spell of pressure inside the Arsenal box. Rose fizzed a low centre across goal which was cleared, Dembele turned and fired goalwards and Kane so nearly got a touch at the far post.
It was end to end now and the visitors stepped up their attacking intent again, Welbeck testing Lloris with a curling effort but the French keeper was equal to the effort, denying him with a diving save, before saving low down on his goal-line moments later from a Koscielny header.
And Ospina was also in the thick of the action, saving from Mason and Bentaleb as both sides searched for the goal that would give them the advantage. There was a sense of anticipation when Eriksen was tripped 28 yards out and lined up a free-kick in a dangerous position, but his radar was slightly off this time and the ball sailed a yard over the bar.
Giroud had a sight of goal on 75 minutes but could only head Ozil’s cross well wide, while Lamela had an opportunity five minutes later as we broke quickly from an Arsenal free-kick 30 yards out. Rose’s quick throw released Eriksen down the left flank and he sent over a cross for the Argentine but he scuffed his shot up and into Ospina’s arms.
We continued to keep applying the pressure and it paid off with four minutes remaining. Bentaleb sent over a superb cross from the left channel, 30 yards out and Kane rose to head the ball back across Ospina’s goal and into the far corner to give us the lead for the first time in the game.
Arsenal threw everything at us for the final few minutes but we stood firm with some last-ditch defending and superb blocks, typified when Eric Dier and Mason flew in to deny Nacho Monreal’s shot from the edge of the area. And the scenes at the final whistle were magnificent, as players, officials and supporters celebrated another well-deserved victory... not to mention three valuable points.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Dier, Rose, Mason (Paulinho 90+4), Bentaleb, Lamela (Stambouli 89), Dembele (Chadli 75), Eriksen, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Davies, Fazio, Soldado.
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Akpom 89), Cazorla (Rosicky 68), Welbeck (Walcott 78), Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud. Substitutes (not used): Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 56, 86; Arsenal – Ozil 11.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Kane, Mason; Arsenal – Monreal, Welbeck, Koscielny, Giroud, Ramsey.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.