Tottenham have 'savoured' victory over Arsenal, says Michael Dawson

Spurs have opened up a seven point gap between themselves and their north London rivals

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The Independent Football

Victory over arch rivals Arsenal is always sweet for Tottenham, but yesterday's 2-1 win tasted even better than usual says Michael Dawson.

The Gunners won 5-2 at the Emirates at a similar stage in the season last year. It was a result that cut Spurs’ lead to seven points and eventually helped Arsene Wenger’s side push their opponents out of the Champions League places.

Wenger’s men won by the same margin earlier this season and have not finished below Spurs since 1994-95.

But yesterday's result saw Spurs move seven points clear of their north London rivals and Andre Villas-Boas' side look to have a firm grip on a qualification place for the Champions League.

While the victory could prove vital to the standings come the end of the season, in light of recent results between the two sides, beating Arsenal has delighted Tottenham, report The Evening Standard.

“Being beaten in the way we did hurt us," said Dawson. "I know it hurt the supporters as well but it was a massive three points in this game.

“We’re now seven points clear so to get three points is huge. What happened at Emirates Stadium wasn’t nice so we savoured this moment. We’ve got a great squad and a great team.

“We want to be back in the Champions League and that showed with the celebrations at the final whistle.”

Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon scored late in the first half to put the home side two-up and that was enough for Andre Villas-Boas’s team, even though Per Mertesacker’s header six minutes into the second half meant Spurs could not relax until the final whistle.

Dawson was typically solid and combative at the back but was outshone by his central defensive partner Jan Vertonghen, who produced a near flawless performance alongside his captain.

Vertonghen chose to join Spurs instead of Arsenal last summer and he has had a fine first season, even though he has had to play at left-back as well as in the middle.

Spurs have not lost in the Premier League since December 9 and Dawson believes the consistency of players like Vertonghen has been crucial to that sequence. “He’s a centre-half who wants to play and has shown that from day one,” said Dawson. “His feet are unbelievable and he is a top defender — and he deserved to be man of the match.

“Competition and quality among the centre-backs is high and it makes everyone want to do well but Jan has been brilliant. He has everything and you saw against Arsenal the tackles he can make.

“You can’t stand still in football because teams move but we keep improving. We have a fantastic squad and everyone is hungry.”