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Spurs v Arsenal, 10.02.18

PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 10th FEBRUARY, 2018
(12.30pm - at Wembley)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) ARSENAL 0(0)

Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 49

Attendance:- 83,222

Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official:- Neil Swarbrick

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Dele (sub Wanyama, 85), Son (sub Lamela, 70); Kane

Subs not used:- Vorm; Aurier, Rose; Sissoko, Lucas Moura

Booked:- Lamela (foul on Wilshere), Dier (Dissent after Dembele foul on Welbeck)

Arsenal (4-2-3-1):- Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny (Capt.), Monreal; Elneny (sub Iwobi, 65), Xhaka (sub Welbeck, 86); Ozil, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan (sub Lacazette, 65); Aubameyang

Subs not used:- Ospina; Chambers, Kolasinac; Maitland-Niles

Booked:- Mustafi (foul)

A day of victory and history for Spurs!

This was a day that will surely be remembered for the fact we beat Arsenal 1-0; went seven points above them and into the Champions League places (at least for the weekend). It will also be remembered because Harry Kane scored his 101st Premier League goal, and his seventh against Arsenal. Harry's 101st Premier League goal will certainly not be consigned to Room 101!

This day will surely also be remembered in history for being the match which saw the biggest home Spurs crowd ever for an Arsenal game, and might yet remain the highest ever crowd for a Premier League game. The 83,222 crowd surely included 80,000 Spurs fans, which is a figure we will not see repeated at our new stadium with its projected capacity of 62,000.

Apart from those notes of history, the game should also be remembered for a dominating Spurs performance where we had 18 shots on goal to their 6, and for the simple fact that we should have won by more goals and should perhaps have scored three, four or even five!

The fact that we did not score a crucial second goal led to tension and frustration as we entered 4 minutes of added time, at the very end of which referee Anthony Taylor awarded Arsenal a free kick just outside the area, and booked Eric Dier for dissent after a foul by Dembele on substitute Danny Welbeck. Thankfully Ozil's kick was blocked by the Spurs wall and the referee blew for time allowing the vast majority of us to go home happy. In truth a fair number of the Arsenal fans had already crept out, anticipating defeat.

Mauricio Pochettino fielded the same team which had drawn last Sunday at Anfield. Toby Alderweireld did not make the bench, but will surely feature in Turin on Tuesday. Lucas Moura (announced by Spurs as "Lucas") was on the bench, taking Llorente's slot, but did not get onto the field of play.

Arsenal were surprisingly missing Ramsey, who has been so impactive recently, but unsurprisingly included recent signings Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan. Aubameyang lacked service and was kept pretty quiet. Mkhitaryan had early influence in the number seven shirt, but was substituted after 65 minutes.

Spurs started brightly and after only a minute Dele was racing forward for a long ball, but when he crossed from the right, his effort was deflected and cleared. After 5 minutes Harry Kane gave Son a ball to chase down the left. Son passed inside to Dele, who switched the play to Trippier on the right. Trippier's cross was blocked and cleared.

Son was a seeing a lot of the ball on the left, but not getting much change out of Bellerin, but he did win a few corners. After 8 minutes the supreme Jan Vertonghen hit a low clearance to Harry Kane, who played the ball on for Dele, who continued a run, hitting a cross which was deflected for another Spurs corner. Son won another corner after 13 minutes, taken by Eriksen from the left but headed wide by Eric Dier. A Son shot after 17 minutes was low and easy for Petr Cech, but it was hit from 25 yards.

My recollection is that Hugo Lloris did not have a meaningful save to make in the first half, and perhaps only one throughout the game, but he did utilise his "sweeper-keeper" skills several times to thwart runs by the likes of Aubameyang.

Vertonghen hit a great ball out to Trippier on the right whose cross WA met in front of the near post by a glanced header by Eriksen, straight to the keeper. Harry Kane then had a header go over the bar after more great work by Vertonghen, and a cross by Eriksen. After another Spurs corner on the left returned from deep on the right by Trippier, Dembele hit a shot which was going wide. Dier tried to deflect it in, but that too passed the wrong side of the post.

A shot by Eriksen was held by Cech after Christian, Kane and Dele had been involved in the build-up play. Spurs had a free kick after an Arsenal handball, taken on the left by Eriksen, but cleared.

Arsenal finally had an effort worth mentioning when Bellerin crossed deep for Monreal, his cross was somewhat involuntarily headed by Sanchez and saved by Lloris, but outside his post anyway. Ozil put Bellerin in a good shooting position but the right back fired over.

The rain became more persistent in the second half, but Spurs became hotter, and the massive home crowd got louder! After another bright start (and the Spurs kick-off), Harry Kane rose like a salmon above Koscielny to meet Ben Davies' cross and head past Cech for a much-celebrated goal!

Harry should have made it two after Trippier passed inside to Dier, who hit a short cross which Harry headed the wrong side of Cech's right post. More quality football by Spurs could also have led to a goal. Eriksen found Trippier, who crossed low. Harry's shot was saved, and he even had a second nibble which was cleared.

Spurs had a free kick after 56 minutes, just outside the edge of the area. Eriksen hit a right footed effort, and Cech pushed it over for a corner with his outstretched right hand. Another Eriksen cross was held by the busy Arsenal keeper, who the BBC report named as man of the match.

Arsene Wenger made a double substitution, clearly seeking to get back into the game. After the Spurs goal the game had become more open and stretched. The much derided Jack Wilshere gave Hugo some exercise with a good shot which the Spurs keeper saved and held with a dive to his right.

Dele Alli gave Son a magnificent scoring chance on the left of goal but he scooped the shot and put his hands to his head. I urged Pochettino to get him off, and indeed he was replaced by Erik Lamela. I just felt that Son's level of achievement today did not match the level of his involvement, exacerbated by that last dismal effort. There were plenty of excellent performances by Spurs players today and one of those was by Dele Alli, who had a great chance himself, receiving from Lamela. Dele tried to dink the ball past Cech, which he did, but the ball passed just outside the keeper's left post.

More quality football featuring Vertonghen, Kane and Dele ended with a Lamela run into the box, but Cech saved the day yet again. Mustafi was booked for a foul committed early in this move, but the referee had allowed play to continue, to Spurs' advantage.

Kieran Trippier got in on the attempts on goal act, receiving a cross by Eriksen from the left before hitting a shot which Cech saved.

Lamela got another booking for an over-exuberant challenge, and his cards per games ratio is not too good! Dele Alli didn't really want to go off, but he was substituted and took great applause too, before Lamela hit a corner which Dier hit over.

Now Welbeck replaced Xhaka, and Arsenal had Aubameyang, Lacazette and Welbeck across the front with Ozil, Iwobi, and Wilshere in support. Wenger was desperate to get something from the game, in order not to be cut adrift from the chase for top four.

With one minute of normal time remaining Lamela received the ball from a free kick and had a clear shot on goal, but fired across Cech and wide of the far post. Lamela had Eriksen available to score.

Spurs had had every chance to out this game well out of the Arsenal reach, but then faced a nervy end when Lacazette first scooped a shot well over the target after Bellerin's cross from the right. Then in added time, after being shown too much if the ball by Sanchez, and a ball from Iwobi, Lacazette hit a shot wide across Lloris's goal. That was almost it, but we had to endure that last kick of the game free kick, which was thankfully blocked.

This was a great result and comes at the end of a sequence of three tough league games against top six opposition, from which we have taken 7 precious and well earned points. Whether or not Liverpool and Chelsea win their games to put us back into fifth place, we are surely very well placed for the final 11-game push for another Champions League campaign.

COME ON YOU SPURS!

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