Tottenham Hotspur made a huge impact on Arsenal’s top four hopes by defeating their north London rival 3-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday. Harry Kane scored twice to lead Heung-min Son’s shot after Rob Holding was sent off in the first half.
⚪ 3-0 🔴 (foot)# Totars pic.twitter.com/OIqTcYPUMR
Arsenal 12 May 2022
It was a cautious start to the match as both sides were looking to establish a foothold. Arsenal’s victory would have confirmed their fourth-place finish in the top spots, while a draw would boost the odds in their favour. Despite this, Mikel Arteta said his team would play by nature and they pressed hard in the first minutes.
Martin Odegaard got his first shot of the match after Bukayo Saka grabbed the ball high up the field but Hugo Lloris was comfortably behind it. Neither side wanted to make a mistake in the tumultuous atmosphere and there was a clear advantage to the match.
It was a clumsy mistake that led to the first talking point but in the 20th minute. Dejan Kulusevsky hit a ball from the right flank towards the back post and the rising son was pushed by Cedric Soares. It was a bit quiet but Paul Tierney didn’t miss out on the spot. The penalty was duly converted by Kane to give Spurs the lead.
Let’s keep working. ✊ pic.twitter.com/IBn8ZTSYnt
– Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) 12 May 2022
The goal gave the landlords more confidence and their pressure started to click better. Tomiyasu had to be active to block Kane’s shot and Emerson fired wide soon after. Things went wrong for Arsenal in the 33rd minute when they were forced to reduce their number to 10 men.
Rob Holding, who was already carrying a yellow warning, stepped onto Son’s path behind the defense and Tierney once again had no choice but to kick him out. A goal and a fall man, Arsenal struggled for discipline and that was evident in the second goal as Spurs cemented their lead through Kane once again.
Son hit Rodrigo Bentancur’s corner kick towards the back post as the England striker jumped over the line to force the ball over. Spurs were more comfortable going ahead with two goals and saw the game until the end of the first half, despite a decent effort from Eddie Nketiah.
Behind the break.
⚪ 2-0 🔴 (HT)# Totars pic.twitter.com/Q67GoBazr2
Arsenal 12 May 2022
The second half started bleakly for Arsenal as Tottenham added the third goal within two minutes. Kane tried to turn the box around but was blocked. The loose ball fell to Son who curled a curled finish on a fine the first time. The threat of derby embarrassment loomed large for Arteta’s men.
This effectively killed the match as Conte’s side were happy to retain control and pick his moments to attack while Arsenal unsuccessfully tried to find some joy over the counter. Aaron Ramsdale made two excellent stops around the hour mark to keep the score respectable from a distance.
❤️ Like this if you have a son#FPL # Totars pic.twitter.com/VdMZJ9Rh3t
– Fantasy Premier League (OfficialFPL) 12 May 2022
Heung Min-sun had a great opportunity to tie with Mohamed Salah in the Golden Boot race, but the South Korean inexplicably fired a cross from Sessinion.
The last time Arsenal qualified for the Champions League was in the 2016-2017 season and most of that team has moved on. The current crop has a lot of talent and potential, but they definitely lack the experience of being in the first four races.
The pressure seemed to reach them on Thursday as they threw the game with ridiculous errors. Cedric’s battleship was not necessary while the holding referee warned. Arteta may also have benefited from a more conservative and realistic approach to the game.
Despite Arsenal’s propensity for self-ignition, it was Spurs’ ruthlessness that stood out in the confrontation. Harry Kane and Hong Min-sun are making a growing case to be the deadliest duo in the Premier League.
Kane’s two goals made him rise to 15 points this season in the league, the fourth best player while Son’s shot brought him up to 21, one goal behind Salah at the top of the standings. The duo have been excellent over the past few seasons and one feels they deserve the trophy to show him which is their goal in 2022-23.
Spurs may have won the three points and bragging rights but the fate of the top four is still in Arsenal’s hands. They cannot afford to lose any more points and both sides are likely to have tough confrontations in their last two matches.
Arsenal’s relegation threatened Everton on the final day as Tottenham host a renewed Burnley side next week. Arteta will face the difficult task of preparing his team for the next match while Tottenham will have less day to recover. The last place in the top four is still up for grabs.