Harry Kane has, once again, put Tottenham Hotspur on his back and willed the club to victory. There were plenty of other good performances from players like Nabil Bentaleb, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris (as usual), and Kyle Walker, but it was Kane who continued his star turn in the biggest game of the year for many Tottenham Supporters. This was a weird match, but in the end it was a 2-1 victory and there won't be many arguments about who the better team was.
Arsenal played pretty defensively for much of the first half seeming content to allow Tottenham to have most of the ball. Spurs seemed happy with Arsenal's lake of pressure, but other than some shots from outside the box, couldn't really threaten Arsneal. Instead, the Gunners hit Spurs on the counter attack. Jan Vertonghen and Ryan Mason got caught ball watching and Danny Welbeck burst past Danny Rose on the left flank to set up a goal for Mesut Ozil.
The second half saw Spurs much improved. Pochettino must have implored his side to pick up the intensity and play with a little more width, because that is exactly what happened. Erik Lamela and Kyle Walker started to cause Arsenal fits down the right. It was, however, via a set piece that Tottenham finally found an equalizer. Lamela's corner came in from the right and Dembele got a touch with his head, but Ospina clawed it away, but right into the path of Harry Kane at the far post.
With the score level, Tottenham ratcheted the pressure up even more. They kept forcing Arsenal back, but couldn't get a breakthrough. Finally, in the 85th minute, Nabil Bentaleb, with basically no one near him, whipped an early cross into the box toward Kane and Lamela. Kane met the ball and knocked a looping header into the corner of the goal and Spurs were ahead late. Arsenal tried to force the game in the last few minutes, but never really threatened.
A few thoughts:
- Harry Kane.
- Danny Rose had a rough time defensively, particularly early, but he was alright otherwise.
- Nabil Bentaleb is our best midfielder and will probably be one of the best midfielders in the league in a couple season.
- Lamela is slowly turning into Dirk Kuyt. He's working very hard in the press, but he's not offering nearly enough of the skill and invention we saw from him at Roma. I love Kuyt though, so I'm ok with this.
- Dembele and Mason are the two most polarising Spurs players. We all know my position in this debate. (Hint: Thigh tattoos and people that have them are dumb.
- Oh! I almost forgot, Harry Kane!