Harry Kane talks to Sky: “I’m proud of the boys. There was pressure on us, but we delivered well. We’re delighted to get the win, but there’s two more games to go and we have to focus on them. It’s a quick turnaround. We’ve got the bragging rights, but the most important thing is the Champions League, and we’ve put the pressure on them. We play early Sunday, so if we get a result we’ll see what happens.”
Son Heung-min, alongside him, adds: “This game really, really tastes nice. Obviously I want to play always. [The substitution] was the gaffer’s decision and I need to accept it. He says we have an important game on Sunday, so that’s why. At the moment I am not angry but disappointed, but I move on. I just wanted to keep playing but when I look back we have an important game on Sunday and I have to recover and be fresh.”
Another opinion on the miserable lapses in judgement / concentration / professionalism by Rob Holding. “I think the referee was keen to not send a player off in a derby but Holding gave him no choice,” writes Vibhanshu Bisht. “His second yellow was his fourth bookable offence which followed the kick in Son’s back, the wrestling match, and the yellow card. As for Son’s elbow, he was trying to shake Holding off and happened to just catch him. At worst it was a yellow.”
Antonio Conte embraces Son Heung-min, who is no longer in a mood as he goes to celebrate with his team-mates. A look of quiet satisfaction spreads across Kane’s face as he soaks up the love pouring down from the stand. Some first derby in front of a full house at the new stadium! Meanwhile Mikel Arteta trudges off disconsolately. It’s been a dreadful night for the Gunners … but Champions League qualification is still in their hands. These two rivals have a couple of huge games coming up in the next ten days!
A huge win for Spurs! They’re now just one point behind the fourth-placed Gunners, with arguably easier final fixtures: Burnley (h) and Norwich (a) compared to Arsenal’s Newcastle (a) and Everton (h). Anyway, we’ll see. It’s almost certainly going down to the wire!
90 min +1: Xhaka is booked because, well, it’s what he does. “With all due respect to Will Vignoles, Holding had made two wrestling moves before that,” writes Yash Gupta. “Plus if you check one second later Holding channeled his inner Brock Lesnar and gave Son a German Suplex.”
90 min: A free kick for Moura out on the right. He nearly loops it over Ramsdale and into the top left, but the ball nestles on the top of the net. There will be two added minutes.
89 min: It’s been a chastening evening for Arsenal, and on that subject, Paul Beaven writes: “If they hadn’t taken advantage of the COVID rules, Arsenal could have have played Spurs before half a season of Conte drill-instruction and when Harry Kane was nothing but a sad ghost. Schadenfreude doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
88 min: Now Odegaard goes into the book for hanging out a leg to bring down an in-flight Moura.
86 min: Smith Rowe is booked for a cynical tug on Moura’s shirt.
85 min: The Spurs fans are giving it plenty. Their Champions League dreams still alive.
83 min: Speaking of refereeing decisions … “Look, obviously Arsenal have royally dropped the ball in this game,” admits Will Vignoles, “but I don’t understand how Son stayed on the pitch after elbowing Holding in the face – pretty clear red surely?” I mean, you’ve seen them given … but it’s not really an elbow, is it? Also, the pair were rolling around in the freeform style, a wrestling bout instigated by Holding … so … y’know. And Holding didn’t protest. Having said all that, other opinions are available on the internet!
81 min: Emerson crosses from the right. Sessegnon rises and sends a header goalwards. A hand blocks the ball. Sessegnon tries to rekindle the move, but can only run the ball out for a goal kick. Kane wants a penalty … the only problem being, the hand in question was Moura’s. Nope!
79 min: Tavares bombs down the left and cuts back for Odegaard, who creams a first-time drive goalwards from the edge of the box. It’s a decent effort – Arsenal’s best of the evening, though that’s a low bar – but unfortunately for the visitors, straight at Lloris.
77 min: Arsenal probe but there are no gaps in this Spurs defence. It’s all too easy for the home side against the ten men.
75 min: The evening goes from bad to worse for Arsenal, as Gabriel goes down clutching his hamstring. The accident-prone Tavares comes on in his stead. One imagines Conte is pointing this out to Son, who he needs against Burnley and Norwich. No point his getting injured with this match already won.
74 min: Hojbjerg floats one into the Arsenal box for Kane, who attempts to loop a header into the top left. Easy for Ramsdale.
73 min: Arsenal make their second change, Lacazette replacing Nketiah. On the Spurs bench, Son continues to wave his arms around and shake his head in annoyed disbelief.
72 min: Spurs make a double change: Son and Kulusevski make way for Moura and Bergwijn. Son, chasing the golden boot, isn’t happy about it at all, and waves his arms around in theatrical annoyance. Conte has a quiet word.
71 min: A free kick for Arsenal out on the left. Odegaard floats it in. It’s half cleared. Odegaard takes a wild shot, and the ironic cheers begin.
70 min: Sanchez finds Kane again with a ball down the inside-right channel, just as he did for the third goal. Kane tries spinning into space but can’t manage it. The ball breaks to Kulusevski, who tries to force a shot from a tight angle on the right, but can’t make it count.
68 min: See 66 min.
66 min: Spurs stroke it around in the relaxed style. With two huge games remaining, both teams would probably be happy enough to call it a day right now.
64 min: Smith Rowe comes on for Martinelli.
63 min: It really should be four. Hojbjerg slides a pass down the left for Sessegnon, who instantly slides infield for Son, alone on the penalty spot. Son clanks high and wide when he simply had to score. That would have put him on 22 goals for the season, in joint first spot alongside Mohamed Salah … though VAR might have had something to say about it. Was Sessegnon a couple of inches offside? Maybe, though it’s all academic now.
62 min: Kane sends a rising swerving shot goalwards from the best part of 30 yards. Ramsdale again intervenes with a strong hand, tipping over for a corner from which nothing comes.
61 min: The Spurs fans are really enjoying themselves as their heroes ping it around. This is slightly embarrassing for Arsenal.
59 min: The Spurs fans with the olés already. There’s not even an hour gone! Then suddenly Kane crosses from a deep position on the left. Emerson rises highest and tries to plant a header into the top left. It’s too close to Ramsdale, who blocks with a fine reaction save. That’s superb damage limitation from the Arsenal keeper.
57 min: Nketiah glides down the right and tries to beat Lloris from a tight angle. Easy for the keeper. Saka, alone in the middle, receives a hand of apology from his team-mate.
56 min: Arsenal keep plugging away, and eventually Martinelli slings a cross in from the left. It flies harmlessly out for a goal kick.
55 min: Some sterile Arsenal possession. Spurs are happy to sit back and watch them stroke the ball around to no effect.
53 min: The Spurs faithful are in party mode. This place is rocking.
51 min: … but a goal would change the mood, a little anyway. Martinelli drives down the left and cuts back from Saka, who aims for the bottom right but the ball’s never getting through a forest of legs. Some pinball, and Spurs clear.
50 min: Now it’s Kulusevski versus Martinelli down the right. Kulusevski runs hard at his man, but can’t get past, and the whistle again goes for a free kick. Arsenal are teetering on the brink.
49 min: Kane very nearly battles his way past Gabriel down the left. For a second it looks as though he’s going to scoot clear, but the defender holds his ground and eventually wins a free kick. Arsenal are in danger of taking a hiding here.
Just over a minute into the second half, and this is all over! Sanchez rolls a pass down the middle for Kane, who has his back to goal and attempts to spin Gabriel. He can’t quite do it, but the ball breaks to Son, who larrups into the top right. The blood instantly drains from Mikel Arteta’s face.
Spurs get the second half underway. Neither side has made a change during the break.
Half-time mailbag. “Ridiculous of Holding, but was it also poor by Arteta? You could see what was going to happen; surely Arteta should have done too and hauled Holding off before he was sent off. White was waiting on the bench” – Jonathan Wood.
“Those saying Kane was stupid to sign that contract were stupid. He has given his prime years to Tottenham, signed the contract so if someone does come for him it has to be a proper bid. Even last summer when he saw City making mockery of Spurs, he declared his future a week before transfer window closure. He has given everything. Sadly Tottenham haven’t won anything with him. But in many ways he raised Tottenham’s level and I wouldn’t switch any moment – good or bad – for anything else” – Yash Gupta.
“If Holding played for Conte, would Conte kill him?” – Gary Stover.
A huge half for Spurs, a disastrous one for ten-man Arsenal. As things stand, the chase for a Champions League spot looks like this …
45 min +1: The first of two added minutes. Saka stands one up from the left. Lloris claims. Arsenal will be buoyed by the last couple of minutes, which have shown they can still trouble Spurs. A straw-clutching exercise maybe.
45 min: Martinelli drives with purpose down the left and cuts back for Odegaard, who scuffs a shot intended for the bottom left straight into the arms of Lloris. “What’s the word on Kane now?” wonders Ted Graves. “With Haaland off to City and Tottenham seemingly past the dark days of Mourinho and Espirito Santo, does he still want to leave? To his credit he seems to have realised that he doesn’t have a ton of leverage to force a move and that he might as well get back to giving Spurs his all.”
43 min: … but should they pull a goal back before the break, they’ll feel a whole lot better about themselves. Nketiah curls towards the top right from distance. Lloris is forced to arch his back and tip over the bar spectacularly. Nothing comes of the resulting corner.
42 min: It Could Be Three pt. II. Sessegnon scoops a cross in from the left. The ball drops to Emerson, who shins wildly over the bar. A huge chance. Arsenal will be desperate to hear the half-time whistle.
40 min: Xhaka has a moan at the referee. Not sure what it’s about. Xhaka is as Xhaka does. Then Odegaard is barged over and takes a whack in the face from the boot of Davies. It looks accidental, but Davies has already been booked and wants to watch himself, just in case the referee fancies levelling things up.
39 min: It could be three. Emerson and Kulusevski romp down the right. For a second, it looks as though their combination will tee up Kulusevski, just inside the box. Martinelli does well to track back and stop him shooting. Kulusevski goes over, and wants a penalty, but it’s a fair challenge.
Son whips in from the right. Bentancur flicks a header towards the far post. Kane stoops to head into the bottom left from a couple of yards, the nearby Nketiah powerless to stop him. Noise! Bedlam! Arsenal are losing it.
36 min: Saka comes clattering in on Hojbjerg and Arsenal really need to calm down here. The resulting free kick leads to a corner on the right, and from that …
35 min: That could easily have been a straight red, never mind a second yellow. Factor in the unpunished toe-punt to Son’s back, and Holding did enough for two reds and a yellow in 33 minutes of football! What a galoot.
33 min: It’s fair to say this had been coming. Dier launches long down the middle. Son chases after the ball. He’s stopped unceremoniously by Holding, who cynically steps in, shoulder first. Pow, right in the kisser. A second yellow and he’s off. What a bone-headed performance!