It was one of the biggest, most highly anticipated, and potentially most consequential North London Derby in more than a decade. Tottenham Hotspur hosted Arsenal in a rare mid-week NLD, with Spurs needing a win to have any chance of making top four at the expense of their arch-rivals. Spurs were given a blow when central defender Cristian Romero was ruled out of the side after picking up a thigh bruise against Liverpool and with Davinson Sanchez replacing him.
Fans needn’t have worried. Tottenham picked up an (admittedly soft) first half penalty that Harry Kane converted, Kane added another near the end of the first half, Arsenal’s Rob Holding was sent off for two yellow cards, and Son Heung-Min scored his 21st goal of the season seconds into the second half as Spurs rolled over the Gunners. The final score was 3-0.
NORTH LONDON IS WHITE! Time to celebrate! Here are my notes from the match.
- The atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was positively ELECTRIC.
- Paul Tierney let the match get out of hand early on in the confrontations between Rob Holding and Sonny. In truth, while Holding could’ve been had yellows on two occasions, Sonny also seemed to throw an elbow.
- Spurs’ first half penalty was a weird call from Paul Tierney. He first seemed to indicate that it was a handball, then called it on a push in the back of Son by Cedric. Arsenal fans would probably have a right to be upset about that call; it’s a penalty but is almost never actually called. But VAR upheld it and Kane made no doubt from the spot so I’m not arguing.
- Arsenal fans can complain about the penalty, but they can’t about that red card on Holding. That’s a straight red, notwithstanding Holding’s previous yellow. I have no idea what Holding was doing, but that was 100% earned.
- What a header from Bentancur to find Harry at the back post! Beautiful.
- Once Holding was sent off (and to steal a joke from Alasdair Gold), there was no Holding Son back. Great post-up move from Kane and excellent work from Sanchez in the buildup to that third goal.
- Both Son and Kane were magnificent tonight. No notes. (But Kane sure does love a good North London Derby, doesn’t he?)
- You don’t usually see Sonny that upset on the sidelines, but he was FURIOUS that he was subbed off. Pretty clear he thought he could catch Salah for the Golden Boot race against a ten man demoralized Arsenal. As of now, he’s within one.
- You don’t celebrate or root for opposition player injuries, but if Gabriel really did injure his hamstring, that’s very bad news for the Gunners who would be without him AND Holding for the next match and possibly longer. And good news for Tottenham.
- Another excellent defensive match from Emerson Royal, and had some really lovely chances to score, none better than that diving header in the second half. Is he playing his way onto the roster for 2022-23?
- Honestly I was hoping Alfie Devine would be the Human Victory Cigar, but I’m fine with that role going to Joe Rodon, he probably deserves it just as much.
- Big win. Huge. Massive. But it’s not over yet. Spurs still need to win their next two against Burnley and Norwich, and Arsenal has to drop points somewhere along the line. But that’s for tomorrow. Today, NORTH LONDON IS WHITE!!