Harry Kane maintained his remarkable record in North London derbies as Tottenham delivered a huge blow to Arsenal’s top four hopes.
Kane headed the second-half winner as Tottenham reigned supreme at Wembley with the Tottenham striker’s seventh goal in his last eight North London derbies.
It was a huge boost for Tottenham’s top four chances but now leaves Arsenal seven points behind their North London rivals and in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League for a second year in a row.
Arsenal keeper Petr Cech also made a string of brilliant second half saves to stop Tottenham winning more comfortably.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were far superior to Arsenal as Tottenham now look top dogs in North London.
1. When Tottenham turn up the volume – they are on a different level
It was an even first half, Arsenal competed with Tottenham and it was level pegging. But Tottenham came out for the second half, turned up the intensity and blew Arsenal away with power, aggression and quality.
It’s hard to talk about a power shift when Tottenham have finished above Arsenal just once in Arsene Wenger’s 22 year reign. But it is shifting even if it has not shifted completely yet. If you need proof then just look at the start of the second half. Tottenham were on a different level in a game which Arsenal had to win.
They were far too good for Arsenal, Mauricio Pochettino’s men are in the ascendancy and even Arsenal’s new signings have not bucked the trend.
2. Has anyone thought of marking Harry Kane?
Kane is arguably the best striker in the world, scores goals for fun and loves scoring against Arsenal (scoring seven goals in his last eight North London derbies).
So, why on earth was he given a free reign in the Arsenal penalty box not once for his goal, not twice on another cracking shot but three times for a header he put wide.
Arsenal are great going forward but they are still a disaster at the back. Until Arsene Wenger gets the balance right then they are going nowhere.
3. Don’t doubt Petr Cech – saves proved he is still a class act
Petr Cech was desperate to play in this North London derby despite a calf injury. He is so committed and focused.
Cech is 35 now, he has been waiting since December to keep another clean sheet to take him to the landmark of 200.
But if anyone was thinking his best days are gone, this was a reminder that Cech is still a fabulous keeper.
Four incredible saves – one from Harry Kane, another from Christian Eriksen and blocks from Erik Lamela and Kieran Trippier – showed he is still a class act.
4. Heung-Min Son is a manager’s dream
Son had an excellent game for Tottenham. He often pulled over to the left, gave Tottenham width, pace and movement.
He has not always been a regular starter but never once moaned or complained, is happy to play in any position and always gives everything for the team.
If it is possible to be an unsung hero in a top six team then Son is the man. He is a fabulous player. When he got subbed, he looked disappointed but still clapped and acknowledged the fans. That is him all over.
5. VAR can’t come soon enough – but it will not solve everything
Jack Wilshere’s through ball to Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang would have been pass of the season but for an offside flag.
Then, with one replay it looked offside, and with another Aubameyang looked onside.
VAR is a must in football but even with video technology and TV replays it will not solve everything.
But we really should get back to the good old rule of thumb – if there’s any doubt then the advantage should go to the attacker.
6. Has anyone seen Henrikh Mkhitaryan?
The criticism of Mkhitaryan at Manchester United was his lack of tracking back and bravery.
Everyone said he would be a better fit at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. And they were right too because Arsenal players are seemingly allowed to go missing and not track back.
No-one is doubting Mkhitaryan’s ability but it is unforgivable to go AWOL at any club when the going gets tough whether that is Manchester United or Arsenal.
7. Wembley is losing its magic
The big sign outside said: “For one season only – Spurs at Wembley.”
Thank goodness for that. The north London derby at White Hart Lane was one of the best games of the season with a rip roaring atmosphere.