Harry Kane earns Tottenham Hotspur bragging rights over Arsenal rivals
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 0
Harry Kane’s 49th-minute header proved to be the difference between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Wembley this afternoon.
Both north London clubs created chances under the arch, but only the Spurs forward took his and it handed Mauricio Pochettino another home success over the Gunners.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would have been left rueing two squandered opportunities by substitute Alexandre Lacazette at the national stadium, as his team fell to a 1-0 Premier League defeat to their arch rivals.
Pochettino picked the same starting XI which held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw last Sunday at Anfield.
There were changes to the bench with Lucas Moura named among the replacements for the first time since signing from Paris Saint-Germain.
Danny Rose was back in the match day squad after completing his comeback by playing in the 2-0 win over Newport County on Wednesday night.
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There was no place among the replacements for Toby Alderweireld, Harry Winks and Fernando Llorente, however, which demonstrated the strength in depth available to boss Pochettino.
Arsenal made two changes to the team which thrashed Everton 5-1 at the Emirates last Saturday.
Last weekend’s hat-trick hero Aaron Ramsey missed out with a minor groin injury, so Jack Wilshire took his place while Mohamed Elneny came in for Alex Iwobi who was on the bench.
Petr Cech was also fit enough to start having come off during the Everton win with a calf problem.
This was a big match for both teams with just four points separating the two rivals ahead of kick-off.
Off the back of a good January transfer window and a crushing win over the Toffees, Wenger’s side were full of confidence again and keen to show last Saturday’s victory was not a flash in the pain.
Spurs were in great spirits too though after wins over Manchester United and Newport plus a respectable draw at Liverpool.
It was the Gunners who got proceedings underway at a Wembley stadium which was a cauldron of noise.
Both sides won corners inside the opening six minutes, but neither came to much before the first real chance occurred in the ninth minute.
Jan Vertonghen anticipated Mesut Ozil’s pass well and his slide tackle found Kane, who poked into the path of Dele Alli.
Alli ran at the Gunners back line and looked to find Kane, but Shkodran Mustafi slide in and forced Petr Cech into a close range save.
Wenger’s team broke quickly from the corner, but the final ball was overhit and it stayed goalless in Brent.
Early on an end-to-end feel had taken hold of the game, but chances were at a premium with quarter of an hour played.
A Christian Eriksen header in the 25th minute was barely worth noting down, though the lack of opportunities at Wembley ensured it was mentioned – mainly because it was the first ‘effort’ on target.
Two minutes later and Tottenham did create a genuine chance and they perhaps should have taken the lead.
Eriksen popped up on the left and picked out Kane, but his unmarked header from seven-yards went over.
It was the start of a purple patch for Spurs as in the 29th minute their leading scorer in the Premier League had another chance.
Kieran Trippier’s scuffed cross was only partially cleared to Mousa Dembele on the edge of the area and his miscued effort came to Kane.
The Tottenham forward could only get a poor connection though, and Cech grabbed with ease and another opportunity had gone.
Arsenal responded with a sustained spell of possession, but with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unmarked in the area, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could only overhit his cross out for a throw with 34 on the clock.
Five minutes later and the visitors threatened again with Ozil crossing in for Nacho Monreal, but his header in the direction of Aubameyang was blocked by Davinson Sanchez.
The Gunners were enjoyed their best spell of pressure now and in the 40th minute they had their first shot in anger.
Ozil, who was drifting into dangerous positions now, was involved again, as he picked out Hector Bellerin on the right, but his effort from 20-yards flew over.
It was the final chance of the half as Anthony Taylor brought an even first half to an end once his watch struck 45 minutes.
Judging the way the opening period had gone, it seemed like the two benches would have an important part to play after the break.
Spurs started the second half well and attacked immediately from the kick-off and it was a sign of things to come.
With 49 minutes on the clock, the deadlock was finally broken and it was the white side of north London celebrating.
Ben Davies was given too much time and his cross from deep was asked to be met – Kane answered the call, jumping early and hanging in the air to nod past a helpless Cech.
Mustafi asked a free kick, but Kane had simply out jumped Koscielny and Spurs had the lead.
Pochettino’s team were not content with one goal though, and looked for a second soon after Arsenal had restarted play.
Dier was the man to produce a telling cross this time and he picked out Kane, but the Tottenham forward could only head inches wide when unmarked again in the 51st minute.
Kane was involved again three minutes later when Spurs broke at pace and Trippier chipped in for the forward, but his volley was brilliantly saved by Cech.
The Arsenal goalkeeper was called into action again with 57 on the clock as Eriksen’s free kick went over the wall and was heading for the top corner until the ex-Chelsea stopper tipped over the crossbar.
Spurs slightly took their foot off the pedal after and Wenger responded with a double change in the 65th minute.
Lacazette and Iwobi were introduced with the disappointing Mkhitaryan and Elneny making way.
The Gunners then created their best opportunity of the match three minutes after the double substitution.
Aubameyang was given too much space on the left and although his cross couldn’t find a team-mate, the Spurs clearance only went as far as Wilshere.
Wilshere controlled on the edge of the area and curled towards goal, but Lloris was able to get across to save.
Tottenham found another gear after the chance and should have put the game to bed with 20 to go.
Alli won the ball back from Koscielny and teed up Heung-min Son, but he blazed over when well placed and the chance was gone.
Pochettino had already been planning to bring the South Korean off and he did so afterwards with Erik Lamela entering the fray.
The substitute was immediately involved too as more Spurs pressing won the ball back high up the pitch and the Argentine chipped into the path of Alli, but with only Cech to beat, the England international poked wide.
The Lilywhites were going all out for a second goal again now and Kane played in Lamela with 72 on the clock, yet Cech made himself big and produced another telling save.
With quarter of an hour to go, the Arsenal goalkeeper ensured his side remained in the game with another crucial stop.
The ball was worked out to Eriksen and he picked out Trippier in space, but his strike was straight at Cech and it remained 1-0.
Spurs had dominated the second half, but still they only held a one-goal lead and the worry was there missed chances may come back to hurt them.
Victor Wanyama came on with five minutes to go for the outstanding Alli who left the pitch to a standing ovation.
Danny Welbeck was introduced for Arsenal soon after as the final exchanges of a tense match began.
Lamela could have put the game to bed for Spurs in the first minute of four added on, but he drilled wide from a tight angle.
Arsenal then created their two best opportunities of the match and both went to their £50 million striker Lacazette.
First of all Bellerin crossed in for the forward, but he could only volley over when well placed in the area.
If that chance was good, the next opportunity which came his way was even better as Iwobi looked to play in the forward.
Sanchez misjudged the ball and it allowed Lacazette to race through, but after firing under the body of Lloris, the Arsenal striker could only watch in horror as the ball went just past the post.
Wenger showed his frustration on the touchline and he knew the chance to claim a draw had all but gone.
He was wrong though as in the fourth minute of stoppage time Welbeck was fouled just outside the area.
Up stepped Ozil, but he could only curl his free kick effort into the wall and referee Anthony Taylor blew for full time straight after.
It meant after suffering a 2-0 defeat the Emirates, Spurs claimed the bragging rights this time around.
Tottenham move seven points ahead of their rivals and briefly at least up to third place before Liverpool and Chelsea play this weekend.
For Arsenal, they remain sixth and six points off the champions league places with 11 fixtures left to play in the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli (Wanyama 85), Son (Lamela 70); Kane.
Unused substitutes: Vorm, Aurier, Rose, Sissoko, Lucas Moura.
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Elneny (Iwobi 65), Xhaka (Welbeck 86), Wilshire; Ozil, Mkhitaryan (Lacazette 65); Aubameyang.
Unused substitutes: Ospina, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac.