Tottenham vs Arsenal result: Spurs win north London derby as rivals head in opposite directions in Premier League

Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal: Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combined twice as Spurs achieved a huge victory to return to the top of the table

Spurs triumph in first North London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

With every Tottenham Hotspur break, there was an exhilarating and expectant roar. That was about more than the simple joy that there were supporters back to watch, and particularly to watch a win like this and goals like these. It was the more vindictive relish that they could cut Arsenal open at will.

A historic occasion for Spurs fans also offered up a game to savour on its own terms, and a win that felt much bigger and more significant than a mere 2-0.

For Arsenal, the return of fans – which is an issue that has proportionally cost them more than any other club, in terms of finances – was just one more painful element of the day.

There wasn’t just delight, or cheer, from the Spurs fans. There was satisfaction, and jeering, as Arsenal offered up so many moments to ridicule.

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The game was summed up, and wrapped up, by that brilliant breakaway goal right before half-time.

After an entire opening period where Mikel Arteta’s side struggled to get touches in the box – let alone an actual shot on target – Arsenal finally managed to work the ball through to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to try and finish.

It said it all that, a mere 14 seconds later, it was Spurs who had scored. Serge Aurier intercepted the pass set for the stumbling Aubameyang, the ball was swept up the pitch, Son Heung-Min of course combined with Harry Kane, and Kane of course scored.

The power of the finish only distilled the profound difference between the sides, and the ruthless speed of Spurs against the lethargic ponderousness of Arsenal.

The resurgent Jose Mourinho has electrically charged his side in a way that Arteta was supposed to, and is now so struggling with.

It was far from the only image of Arsenal’s ponderousness. In the midst of that very break, there was Thomas Partey walking off injured. The midfielder will doubtless face a lot of criticism for dereliction of duty, but the focus should really be on why Arsenal so badly needed to use him.

It is because there are so many passengers in this side.

The defeat and pattern of the game were already set by that problem in the 15th minute. It was joyous that the first goal for returning Spurs fans was a strike as good as Son’s, who made the best of the space offered with one of the best strikes of the season. It was just that Arsenal offered up so much space.

Hector Bellerin and the rest of the backline shouldn’t have needed to be warned about the interchanges between Kane and Son, but here they were almost jogging back as such a combination played out in front of them.

The South Korean’s effort might thereafter have been stunning, but there was nothing surprising about it.

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It was all so true to form, as was so much in this game. Except, by this point, so much of this goes beyond mere spells of form.

Spurs can be thinking about the title, and far grander games than this derby. This has been Mourinho’s effect so far.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min both scored and assist one each

His side was so finely tuned that the game was really over once Spurs went ahead. All they had to do was sit tight, because Arsenal weren’t going to be good enough to open them – or even get a good touch in the box – but were going to offer up opportunities in behind. Hence that roar any time they surged forward.

In the end, it was almost like they were conserving their energy. That’s how far ahead they were, in the table as much as anything.

Arsenal are meanwhile marooned right in the bottom half. It’s bad. There were, of course, chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning”.

Arsenal do want to persist with Arteta, and there are some bigger reasons for the difference between the sides right now. You only have to look at recruitment – but you now also have to look at Arteta.

The basic inability to get the ball into the box for a meaningful chance is a huge worry, and goes beyond a lack of coaching experience or squad quality.

Aubameyang was finally put through in the latter stages, albeit with Toby Alderweireld ahead of him. Rather than try and beat the defender or give him the slip, though, the forward attempted a shot that was easily read and looked no more than a token effort.

It was true of Arsenal’s whole afternoon. The fact they had to do it in front of Spurs’ fans made it all the worse.

By the end, Mourinho was of course turning to salute those fans in vintage fashion. There was real emotion, in so many senses. It was all quite a contrast, in so many ways.

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