THURSDAY 12TH MAY, 2022
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2) ARSENAL 0(0)
Attendance:- 62,027 (a new stadium record)
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies
Fourth official:- Peter Bankes
VAR:- Mike Dean
Assistant VAR:- Lee Betts.
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Sanchez, Dier, Davies (sub Rodon, 82); Emerson Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon; Kulusevski (sub Lucas Moura, 72), Kane, Son (sub Bergwijn, 72)
Subs not used:- Gollini; Winks, White, Matthew Craig, Devine; Scarlett
Booked:- Davies (foul on Saka) (Conte was also booked with regards to this incident)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1):- Ramsdale; Cedric, Holding, Gabriel (sub Tavares,76), Tomiyasu; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (Capt.), Martinelli (sub Smith-Rowe, 63); Nketiah (sub Lacazette, 72)
(Lacazette took the armband when he came on)
Subs not used:- Leno; White, Swanson; Pepe, Lokonga, Patino
Booked:- Holding (foul on Son), Smith-Rowe (foul on Lucas Moura), Odegaard (foul on Lucas Moura), Xhaka (dissent)
Sent off:- Holding (33, second yellow for foul on Son)
The dream is alive. We dared and we did!
Pre kick-off the South Stand displayed a massive mural “DARE – DREAM – DO”. The pre-match atmosphere had been massive in and around the stadium. There were queues outside the pubs nearest to the ground. Spurs songs were being sung with gusto in these venues. A record crowd for the new stadium – 62,027 – ensured the place was packed to the rafters, and that noise levels in support of the team were to the maximum. Incredibly, three years after the opening of the stadium, this was the first time (for a first team game) that Arsenal fans were allowed in. They were kept quiet and most even left early as Spurs, led of course by our ace scoring due Kane and Son, dared and certainly did. The dream of Champions League football is alive, and Arsenal are on the rocks, hopefully to lose points in one or both of their last two fixtures away to Newcastle and at home to Everton.
This was our biggest Premier League win over Arsenal, and indeed our biggest win over them since a brilliant 5-0 in April 1983. The win was achieved without Cristian Romero whose hip injury was naturally kept quiet until the teams were announced. Davinson Sanchez stepped in for a first start since 13th February. After a shaky start, particularly with regard to our strategy of playing out from the back, Davinson settled down to form part of a resilient defence. Sky’s spider cam was in action. I cannot remember seeing it in our stadium before.
Arsenal kicked off and played towards the South Stand. They had a lively start with Nketiah getting between Dier and Davies with Hugo sweeping up the ball. It turns out that Nketiah had thrown himself to the floor, but referee Paul Tierney did not spot the simulation. Spurs did not play out successfully and Odegaard seized the ball but hit a shot which Lloris held comfortably beneath his bar.
After that slightly worrying start, Spurs did get forward with Emerson sending a ball down the line for Kulusevski. “Kulu” cut in and had a tussle with Gabriel as he reached the edge of the Arsenal area. Tempers were heated and Gabriel won a free kick. A Spurs cross from the right passed over heads in the danger zone. Spurs’ confidence levels had risen, and Arsenal’s early threat had passed. Son had a race down the left flank against Elneny and it was the Arsenal man who came out with the ball this time. A Kulusevski cross passed over Ramsdale’s goal. “Sonny” was already becoming a thorn in the side of Arsenal and there was a melee after one foul on our Golden Boot contender.
Ryan Sessegnon won the ball down the left and his cross was met by a Kane header, but that was hit straight at the keeper. There was some amazement when Ben Davies seemed to be fouled by Saka, but the Spurs man was not only deemed to be the offender when he got up but was also shown a yellow card. Antonio Conte was also shown a yellow card by Mr. Tierney for his protests (presumably to fourth official Peter Bankes) over this incident. Spurs cleared Odegaard’s kick.
Spurs were awarded a penalty after 20 minutes when Kulusevski crossed, and we thought the referee had spotted a handball when Son was being challenged at the back post. It turns out the referee had spotted a shove on Son by Cedric and VAR did not argue. Harry Kane made no mistake from the spot, hammering the ball to the left of Ramsdale, who had gone the wrong way. Harry scored his 12th and 13th goals against Arsenal today to extend his record of being the highest-ever scorer in North London league derby matches. The penalty was also Premier League goal number 180 and club goal number 246. White smoke flares were thrown at the North End, and a blue one appeared at the South End. I loved the smell of cordite in the evening!
Hugo Lloris was stretched by an Arsenal cross from the left but managed to recover the situation and the ball outside his goal to the left. Hojbjerg was on hand to assist against the threat from Odegaard. Hojbjerg’s driving force and not a little skill was just one of many good individual performances for Spurs. Emerson and Kulusevski had been impressing down the right side, and Dier and Davies were strong at the back as always.
Holding was shown his first yellow for a foul when he tugged Son as he was trying to make ground on the left side. Son won another ball on the left and passed inside to Kane who was trying to get the ball onto his right foot for a shot. The shot was not on, and Harry passed to Emerson to his right, but he blasted over the corner of goal. In another attack, Emerson passed inside to Hojbjerg, who in turn tried to find Kane, but Arsenal cleared.
There were Spurs cheers when Holding was shown a second yellow card for another foul on Son who had been all over him like a rash. Arteta was livid and later claimed he could not speak his opinions on the referee for fear of getting a six-month suspension. Replays showed that Holding’s elbow had been high, and he could have seen a straight red. Arsenal will be without him at Newcastle.
Spurs had a free kick after a foul on Hojbjerg by Saka. Son took this and Tomiyasu gave away an arguably cheap corner beyond the back post. This was taken (from the right) by Son, headed towards the back post by Bentancur and headed into the net at short range by Harry Kane’s diving header. The roars of the crowd were massive!
Emerson had another chance after Ryan Sessegnon crossed to the back post, but it was another Royal miss. A shot by Nketiah at the other end was tipped over his bar by Lloris.
Spurs were three-up within two minutes of the restart. Kane got into the box in the middle and went to ground with Cedric. The ball ran to Son who slammed the ball into the net with his right foot from 12 yards. “Sonny” is just one goal behind Salah now with 21 league goals. It is eleven years now since we scored three goals against Arsenal. That was in an April 2011 3-3 draw.
The tension of the game was gone now. Spurs probably eased up to some degree and wanted to conserve energy for our quick turn around as we face Burnley at 12 noon on Sunday. When did we last ease up against Arsenal?
Kulusevski tried to find a shot from the right of goal after 49 minutes,but a free kick was given to Arsenal. Davies made a great block of a shot by Saka after Martinelli had crossed from the left, getting away from Emerson. Lloris picked up a deflected shot by Saka, hit from the right of the area. Emerson had a third chance to score when Kane hit a ball into the box. The right wing-back was in this advanced position and headed toward goal, but Ramsdale saved, and Arsenal cleared. Kane tried a shot from distance after good play and a pass by Bentancur. Son hit a good chance over the target after Hojbjerg’s ball from the left.
Martinelli was replaced by Smith-Rowe and shortly afterwards Mr. Tierney seemed to have words with Xhaka after Emerson had been fouled. Now it was time for Bergwijn and Lucas Moura to come on for Son and Kulusevski. “Sonny” was disappointed to leave, but he will have chances to add goals against Burnley and Norwich.
Lacazette came on for Nketiah and took on the armband as he is currently Arsenal’s captain. They’ve had a few different leaders in recent seasons.one has gone to Barcelona. Another (Xhaka) gets in and out of the club’s bad books. A Kane header was held by Ramsdale after Hojbjerg had provided the pass. Lloris was required to make a good save from Odegaard after substitute Tavares had cut the ball back. Odegaard was disappointed with himself. Some of his fans had already sloped off.
Joe Rodon had some rare game time, replacing countryman Ben Davies, but hardly got a touch.
This was Spurs’ 500th Premier League win. What a fitting game in which to reach that figure. As things stand, we do need Arsenal to slip up in one of their remaining games, and of course we need to win both our games. I feel there is every chance of that happening. Arsenal could have secured Champions League with a win tonight but crumbled. That was lovely!
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