Tottenham vs Arsenal result: Five things we learned as record-breaker Harry Kane takes down the Gunners

Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal: Son and Kane’s first-half double act proved enough for Spurs to go top

Karl Matchett
Sunday 06 December 2020 18:27
Spurs triumph in first North London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Tottenham returned to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Arsenal.

Harry Kane set Son Heung-min away early on and the Korean curled a fantastic opening goal in from range, before the same two combined on the stroke of half-time for Kane to thunder in the second.

After the break the Gunners largely dominated, as Spurs were happy to sit back and soak up pressure.

READ MORE: Premier League fixtures and table - all matches by date and kick-off time

But despite a few headed efforts, Arsenal rarely actually troubled the home side and it was a comfortable three points in the end for Spurs.

Here are five things we learned from the match.

Fans back!

What a game for supporters to return for, at least for Spurs.

It’s important and a big milestone for each team in succession to get their fans back into the ground, even in small numbers right now, and while Arsenal enjoyed the same privilege in midweek, it was Tottenham’s turn this time.

The noise was apparent well before kick-off and that only increased from the moment Son belted in the opener.

It’s great to see supporters back, even better to hear them, and for the home fans there could have been no better way to return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium than by seeing their side thoroughly show up Arsenal.

King Kane

His creativity and link play has been much-heralded this season, and Harry Kane started off the same way by teeing up Son on Sunday.

But throughout the rest of the first half it was the rest of his game which impressed: an ability to hold up the ball, win free-kicks, defend as ruggedly as a veteran centre-back…and be a focal point in the attack, of course.

Kane’s goal was a ridiculous finish, utterly hammered in off the bar, and with it came another glut of milestones and records for the striker: his 100th home goal for Spurs, his 250th strike for club and country and the title of North London derby record goalscorer, with his 11th in that fixture.

Quartet to protect

Spurs have a near-impenetrable box. Not the penalty box, which they are happy to see teams swing crosses or put passes into, but a box fashioned by four players with protective jobs who carry out their roles with aggression, commitment, consitency and quality.

At centre-back, Toby Alderweireld returned to partner Eric Dier - both were excellent before the Belgian’s injury and both were excellent when reunited here on Sunday.

In front of them, the double pivot of Moussa Sissoko and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were similary superb.

The Dane is the leader, the general of the team and a player of great quality, but Sissoko’s role in winning and retaining the ball shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Absence of Arsenal threat

Yes, they dominated the ball after half-time - well over 70 per cent possession and all the shots on target.

But, really, Mikel Arteta’s side were nowhere near scoring at any point, let alone taking a point from the game. Hugo Lloris made two decent saves from weak headers which were headed toward the corner of the goal, but aside from that he was extremely well-protected by a packed defence and midfield.

The flip side of the argument is that Spurs defended well, and that is true, but the headline here is another failure of Arsenal in front of goal for the simple reason that it has happened so frequently of late.

Seven games, two goals scored in the league now, one of which was a penalty. And just one win, of course. It’s simply not good enough.

Table talk

A win for Spurs would have yielded top spot, they knew going in. From the very start it was apparent that the home team knew they were capable of taking the points, but they also weren’t about to go hell-for-leather in search of them.

Jose Mourinho’s game plan was excellent and his players carried it out to perfection: defend first, counter in numbers, get the goals and then frustrate.

A textbook win puts them top, but for Arsenal it’s 15th place now and four points to the top half, five points to the European places, eight points to the top four and 11 points to the summit of the league - where their local rivals sit smiling down on them.

This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League. Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri - Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.

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