The 2010/2011 season was a historic one for Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs were involved in the Champions League for the first time in their history. They made it to the quarterfinals, beating Inter Milan and AC Milan along the way. That season also saw Tottenham win at the Emirates for the first time.
Now, eight years later, they’ve finally won there twice.
Son Heung-Min opened the scoring, and Dele Alli angered the Arsenal fans with his second half sequel as Spurs won 2-0 to advance to the semifinals of the League Cup. “The Library” emptied early as the traveling Tottenham fans stayed and partied the night away.
Mauricio Pochettino has been criticized before for not starting strong enough teams in crucial cup matches. Tottenham lost 2-1 to Arsenal in the League Cup third-round back in September of 2015. Both Federico Fazio and Tom Carroll started for Spurs despite essentially being on their way out of the club.
The team on Wednesday was much stronger than that. Harry Kane was on the bench due to a cold, but there were starting places for Christian Eriksen, Son, Lucas Moura, and Dele. Injuries meant that Ben Davies slotted in at center-back, while Danny Rose captained the team from left back. Paulo Gazzaniga took his usual place in goal for this cup match.
As was the case in the last derby, Spurs faced an onslaught in the opening moments of the game. Arsenal came out firing thanks in part to some particularly dangerous play from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey.
Pochettino’s side were then very lucky not to concede in the 12th minute. Mkhitaryan and Ramsey combined to allow the Armenian to run-in alone on goal. The home fans groaned as Mkhitaryan wasted his shot by hitting it right at Gazzaniga.
But Spurs weathered the storm this time. They kept the Gooners out and eventually found their breakthrough via a familiar face.
Son gave Tottenham the lead after Dele used a chipped through ball to find the South Korean behind the Arsenal defenders. The move ended with Sonny effortlessly tucking the finish past Petr Cech, but it all started with a long kick from Gazzaniga.
Spurs had a chance to make it two a few minutes later, but they were wasteful. Moussa Sissoko could only fire over the bar after a beautiful bit of counter-attacking play.
Arsenal finished the half with a flurry that again could have seen them easily find the net.
First, Arsenal couldn’t capitalize when Davies missed a clearance after a tricky back-pass from Rose. Second, Gazzaniga was forced to save onto his post after Ramsey was set-up well by Alex Iwobi. Third, Lucas Torreira rose highest on a corner kick but could only send his header past the far post and out of play.
Tottenham made it to halftime having survived the barrage, but it resumed initially to start the second period.
Again, they held strong against the current. Arsenal had possession around Spurs’ box, but no clear-cut chances. They had a dangerous free-kick, but Granit Xhaka could only blast the ball into the stands.
Unai Emery’s squad then came to rue their missed opportunities.
Kane came into the game and immediately helped create a goal. Gazzaniga played another great long ball to find the substitute, and Kane then hit Dele in stride as he made a run in behind an unaware Laurent Koscielny. Dele beat Cech with a delicate chip that sent the away fans into a state of delirium.
Tottenham opted to sit off in the aftermath of going up 2-0. They let Arsenal have possession. Still, the home side could not seriously threaten Gazzaniga like they had in the first half. They hit the crossbar at one point with a ball that was intended to be a cross, but Spurs successfully saw the game out.
Things did get feisty. At one point Dele was hit with a bottle thrown by an Arsenal fan. The 22-year-old kept a cool head and calmly reminded the fan of the score.
The final whistle triggered further celebrations in the away end, and the Tottenham players soon went over to join their supporters.
Next up for Spurs is another derby; a date with Chelsea in the semifinals. The winner of that two-legged tie will face either Manchester City or Burton Albion in the final at Wembley.