Match Review 30/04/2017 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Arsenal

Goal Scorers D Alli (55) H Kane (58 pen)

White Hart Lane, 30 April 2017

Any North London derby is going to be a capacity sell-out and 31,811 fans duly crammed into White Hart Lane to see Tottenham Hotspur take on Arsenal for the 4:30pm kick off match on the last day in April. All eyes in North London were on this game here, and with and an even bigger global audience sat watching at home, the atmosphere was palpable.

Coming into the game, there was of course a lot of talk about Arsenal’s decline and Tottenham’s rise to be the best team in North London after so long. On paper, this was a match that should have been a fairly hard one to predict the outcome of.  If all players from both teams played to their potential, it would have been tight. However, although derbies are not typical games, recent form proved to play a big part in the final outcome.

The strategy used by Arsene Wenger was to use his much preferred 3-4-3 formation that he again adopted for this match. He gave starts to Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Early missed chances

An early header on goal sadly didn’t hit the mark from Toby Alderweireld, although this was a sign of things to come. But with two more missed chances by Tottenham in the early stages of the game, it was looking like this match might not see a goal. Surely not.

With both teams looking eager to score and pushing forward, another golden opportunity was missed by Christian Eriksen, who took aim from just six yards out but could only watch as the ball flew over the crossbar. It was only really during the final minutes of the first half that Arsenal did appear to find some new energy. The game was tense, and things remained deadlocked at 0-0 for the entire first half.

The game needed something, a spark, and that is exactly what it got. After what seemed like an absolute age, it was 55 minutes into the game when the ball finally hit the back of the net. Who other than the consistent Dele Alli made the breakthrough. In scoring his seventeenth league goal of the season, Alli delighted the home supporters with a goal that meant so much.
It very quickly got even better for Tottenham.

Kane seals it

Goalscorers Alli and Kane

Not long afterwards, just three minutes in fact, Harry Kane, true to form many people would say, also managed to get on the scoresheet. He was felled in the box in what replays show was a clear penalty, despite the post-match protestations from Gunners boss Wenger.

Kane’s well-taken resulting spot kick was enough to stun the travelling Arsenal fans into silence as Tottenham were clearly in the ascendancy. In fact, the away section slowly but surely emptied out as the second half wore on after having to endure Tottenham chants of ‘Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay’.

Those three minutes of action sealed the outcome of the match for Tottenham and it was without a shadow of a doubt the most entertaining part of the entire match.

Arsenal just couldn’t find the impetus that they needed to get back into the game after that, and looked deflated. The power shift was truly with Spurs. Man of the Match Jan Vertonghen was a rock in the Tottenham defence and summed up the victory by praising the complete team effort; “It was a great performance throughout the team, from Hugo to Harry.”

Whilst the result of the Chelsea versus Everton match which saw Chelsea win 3-0 did somewhat put some pressure on Tottenham to win, the result of this match ensured that they are now only four points clear in the top spot. Plus, the outcome of the match does of course mean that Tottenham have finally managed to finish above Arsenal in the Premier League this year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll already know that is something they haven’t managed to do since way back in 1995.