LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur beat Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday in the final North London derby to be played at White Hart Lane.
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Dele Alli and Harry Kane struck in the second half to ensure that Spurs remain just four points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and they will also finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.
Here’s what we learned as Spurs finally have the bragging rights in their locale.
NORTH LONDON DESERVEDLY BELONGS TO TOTTENHAM
For the first time in over 22 years Tottenham will finish above Arsenal in the Premier League table.
Spurs’ victory on the pitch was about so much more than three points. St. Totteringham’s Day is finally over and the power shift in north London is in full flow.
Last season Tottenham came so close to finishing above Arsenal for the first time in the PL era but blew it on the final day after their late season collapse. Now they’re 17 points ahead of Arsenal with the Gunners having five games to play. Tottenham cannot be caught.
Spurs fans going into work on Monday won’t need to take any more stick from Arsenal supporters. For the next 12 months they can finally bark back to any criticism of their team with “where did you finish in the league again? Oh, that’s right…”
Of course, this is about much more than just bragging rights. With Spurs’ new stadium rising into the sky behind their current 118-year home, the future promises plenty with Pochettino at the helm and a young core locked into long-term contracts.
Tottenham’s success this season isn’t a one-off. They should’ve finished above Arsenal last season but blew it. Now, they’ve soared past their neighbors and left Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in their wake.
Now they’ve ruled north London, Spurs have one final target: to win their remaining four games and put Chelsea under as much pressure as possible.
SPURS STAY HOT ON CHELSEA’S HEELS
Seeing that Chelsea had beat Everton 3-0 just before they kicked off could’ve left Tottenham feeling a) sorry for themselves or b) fired up to stay in the title race for at least another week.
It was clearly the latter. Although Mauricio Pochettino went with a 4-2-3-1 formation which and Spurs started tentatively, they began to carve open Arsenal. Both Alli and Christian Eriksen missed glorious chances as Pochettino turned to his bench with a look of horror. Those misses didn’t prove costly as the second half saw Spurs surge forward and their fluidity cause Arsenal so many issues.
Harry Kane’s hot streak continued in the NLD as he dispatched the PK he won and has now scored six goals in his last five derbies in the PL.
Dele Alli popped up with a fine finish after an incisive run and shot from Christian Eriksen and nothing really changed for a Spurs team which has now won nine games on the spin and are unbeaten at home, their final season at their historic White Hart Lane, going into their final home match against Manchester United in two weeks time.
Spurs will be hoping Chelsea slip up in their final four games and if they do, you fancy Tottenham to take full advantage. Spurs next play on Friday at West Ham and have the chance to cut Chelsea’s lead to one point before they play on Monday against Middlesbrough.
MISERY CONTINUES FOR WENGER, ARSENAL
With Manchester United drawing at home to Swansea and Manchester City drawing at Middlesbrough, this was the perfect chance for Arsenal to gain ground in their top four hunt. It was an opportunity they never really looked like making the most of.
Petr Cech was their man of the match, making three important saves in the second half to keep the scoreline down. This game summed up everything good about Spurs but also everything which is bad about Arsenal.
The current state of affairs at Arsenal is impacting their play on the pitch, no matter if Arsene Wenger denies it.
Until his future, and that of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, is resolved then Arsenal won’t be able to move on. They now sit six points off the top four with a game in hand and the FA Cup final against Chelsea to look forward to it.
“Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay!” was the ironic chant of the day from Tottenham’s fans as they reveled in Wenger and Arsenal’s steady decline over the past 12 months.
Surely a shellacking by their bitter rivals will act as the perfect reason for Wenger and Arsenal to reveal their future plans to stop things getting further out of hand.