Spurs 1-0 Arsenal - report from Wembley
Sat 10 February 2018, 14:31|Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane was the north London derby matchwinner once again as we produced a superb second half display to beat Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon... and yet we were hanging on at the end!
The England striker scored his seventh goal in seven games against the Gunners and we carved out a whole host of chances after the interval, only for the visitors to so nearly spoil the party deep into stoppage time.
The first half had been fairly uneventful, Kane heading over the crossbar and Hector Bellerin driving over from 20 yards five minutes before the interval, but the same certainly couldn’t be said about the second period!
We took the lead just nine minutes after the restart when Ben Davies delivered a cross from the left and Kane climbed above two defenders to bury a header past Petr Cech, a goal which really brought the game to life.
The chances kept coming for us, only for the Arsenal goalkeeper to produce a string of fine saves to keep the game in the balance. After Kane had glanced a header just wide, Cech then beat out our England striker’s volley before keeping out Christian Eriksen’s free-kick and close-range efforts from substitute Erik Lamela and Kieran Trippier, while Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli both put glorious chances wide.
But for all our second half dominance, Arsenal so nearly snatched an unlikely point. Twice in the dying seconds Alexandre Lacazette should have scored, rifling a volley well over the bar and then, in the third minute of added time, latching onto Mohammed Elneny’s through-ball and, with just Hugo Lloris to beat, shot wide of the far post.
There was still time for Arsenal to be awarded a free-kick 25 yards out, but when Mesut Ozil’s effort struck our wall, that signalled the end and the points were safe... just!
We were unchanged from our last two Premier League outings against Manchester United and Liverpool. Son was the only member of the starting XI who also started against Newport County in midweek while new signing Lucas Moura was in the squad and on the bench for the first time.
CHANCE: KANE HEADS OVER FROM CLOSE RANGE – 27mins
A packed Wembley ensured a fantastic atmosphere at kick-off which continued for the opening few minutes, but the game didn’t really match it for the opening stages. Arsenal were happy to let us have the ball and invited us to break them down, while trying to hit us on the counter with their pace and, as a result, little of note was happening. Cech pushed away Shkodran Mustafi’s clearance on eight minutes, while we did carve out a great chance on 27 minutes when Eriksen’s cross found Kane, but he could only head over the bar. Moments later, a Mousa Dembele shot came quickly to Eric Dier on the edge of the six-yard box but he couldn’t sort his feet out and the danger was cleared.
Above: Mousa Dembele holds off Jack Wilshere.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 ARSENAL – HARRY KANE – 49mins
The first half pretty much petered out, the only other moment of note in the final minutes was an opening for Arsenal as Mesut Ozil found Bellerin in plenty of space on the right but he fired just over the bar from 20 yards. But after the restart, there was much more pace to our football and we made the breakthrough nine minutes into the half. Davies curled in a delightful cross from the left and Kane got up early ahead of the two defenders to plant a header into the far corner and give Wembley the loudest roar it’s heard at our games all season!
SAVE: CECH KEEPS OUT KANE VOLLEY – 54mins
Our tails were up at this stage and we really should have extended our lead. First Kane glanced a header wide from a fine Dier cross before Trippier nutmegged Jack Wilshere down the right flank and clipped the ball towards the top of the area for Kane, who smashed a sweetly-struck volley which Cech saved really well. The Arsenal keeper then produced an even better stop to prevent Eriksen from scoring, the Dane’s 22-yard free-kick heading for the top corner before Cech’s superb diving intervention.
SAVE: LLORIS FULL-STRETCH TO DENY WILSHERE – 69mins
The game was much more open now and we were indebted to Lloris for keeping the scores level, diving full-stretch to keep out Wilshere’s curling effort on 69 minutes, before we had four golden opportunities to double our lead. First Dele put Son through in the left channel but his first time shot went well over, then Lamela – on as a substitute for Son – released Dele in on goal, his toe-poke dribbling past Cech but the wrong side of the post. Then Lamela went himself down the right, advancing in on goal but failing to beat the Gunners' goalkeeper, who then made another magnificent save to keep out Trippier’s volley from Eriksen’s deep cross.
CHANCE: LACAZETTE MISSES GLORIOUS CHANCE – 90+3mins
As the chances came and went, so the nerves started to creep in and there was an edginess to our play and within the stadium, everyone aware that Arsenal were still very much in the game. In the final minute of normal time, Bellerin got down the right and sent in a cross which Lacazette volleyed over when in a good position, before their best chance of the game in the 93rd minute. Elneny slid a through pass which deceived Davinson Sanchez and allowed Lacaztte a route to goal and, as Lloris came flying off his line, the French forward put his shot wide. Arsenal were then awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal but with the final kick of the game, Ozil smacked it against our wall and the final whistle blew.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"The performance was magnificent, amazing. I congratulate the players because they played so well and to win the derby, three points that put us in a very good position in the battle for the top four, is something to be really happy about. We deserved the victory. Cech was very good and we suffered a little at the end but the win was most important and now we keep going - Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday."
DELE ALLI SAID
"We dominated and definitely deserved to win. It shouldn't have been as difficult as it was at the end, we should have been cruising, 3-0 or 4-0 up. It was a fantastic performance but if you don't kill off teams like this you are always going to be a bit edgy at the end. We should never have been in that position. I had a good chance and we had some clear-cut chances that we need to be more clinical with - but it was an amazing header from Harry to win it. I was right behind him, he got up so well and it was an incredble header."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Dele (Wanyama 85), Eriksen, Son (Lamela 70), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Aurier, Rose, Sissoko, Lucas.
Arsenal (4-3-2-1): Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny (c), Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny (Iwobi 65), Xhaka (Welbeck 86), Wilshere, Ozil, Mkhitaryan (Lacazette 65), Aubameyang. Substitutes (not used): Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Kolasinac.
Goal: Spurs – Kane 49.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lamela, Dier; Arsenal - Mustafi.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
The crowd of 83,222 was a new Premier League record, beating the attendance for our game against Manchester United last Wednesday. It is also a club best home figure in the league and the highest-ever attendance for a north London derby in all competitions.
MAN OF THE MATCH
With 46 per cent of fans' votes on social media, midfielder Mousa Dembele was named Man of the Match.
It’s the return of the Champions League this week and we travel to Italy to face Juventus in the first leg of the round of 16 on Tuesday. The Italian giants, finalists in the competition in two of the last three seasons, currently top Serie A. Kick-off at the Allianz Stadium is 8.45pm local time, 7.45pm in the UK.