Tottenham Hotspur turned in their best performance in a month on Sunday. Fittingly, it resulted in a loss.
At no point during this season have Spurs looked like very serious challengers for the top four, but nice surges here and there, as well as a bright start under Tim Sherwood had some hoping. But with this 1-0 loss to Arsenal, Spurs are now nine points behind the Gunners, who have a game in hand.
They're out of the FA Cup and all but out of the Europa League too. This was it. Things didn't go Tottenham's way, and now their season is effectively over.
Arsenal took the lead just two minutes into the game through Tomas Rosicky, who hit an absolute wonderstrike from the edge of the box. Danny Rose was caught too far forward when Sandro gave the ball away and Arsenal countered incisively down their right flank, eventually resulting in Rosicky's goal.
Things were fairly even with Arsenal looking dangerous on the break -- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a couple of very poor misses -- until things turned around in the 28th minute. Emmanuel Adebayor just barely missed off a great move down the right and a cross by Kyle Naughton, and from there, Spurs were well on top. Unfortunately, their dominance never led to a goal.
Nacer Chadli had a pair of golden opportunities early in the second half, but failed to convert. He took too long to shoot off a terrible fumble by Wojciech Szczesny, eventually firing right into Arsenal's central defenders, who were both absolutely brilliant on the night. Five minutes later, he tried to backheel an Andros Townsend cross into the back of the net and whiffed.
Spurs started to look a bit more ordinary after making their substitutions, all of which did them no favors. Sandro and Chadli exited in the 67th minute, replaced by Paulinho and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Roberto Soldado followed, entering for Christian Eriksen in the 82nd minute. None of the subs were bad, but none did anything to help the team, and Arsenal started to look more comfortable after the initial switch.
In his frustration, Tim Sherwood threw a ball at Bacary Sagna. Twice. He was not booked. His players proceeded to show excellent effort and character for the remainder of the match.