Three things learned: Tottenham’s win v Arsenal

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LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur dominated Arsenal in the North London Derby at Wembley on Saturday, as Harry Kane‘s header sealed a huge win for Spurs in front of a record crowd of 83,222 for a Premier League game.

The home side were guilty of missing several chances in the second half but it didn’t matter as the Gunners had now answer.

Here’s what we learned from Spurs’ win at Wembley.


HEROIC HARRY KANE DOES IT AGAIN

We are running out of ways to praise Harry Kane.

The local lad did it once again against Arsenal on Saturday, scoring a towering header for his seventh goal in as many Premier League games against Spurs’ bitter rivals.

Kane, 24, is having yet another fairytale season and leads the Premier League with 23 goals after becoming the top scorer among Europe’s top five leagues (in all competitions) in 2017 with 56 goals.

He could’ve had yet another hat trick in the NLD as he nodded over in the first half from close range, then glanced a header just wide moments after he gave Spurs the lead and soon after he had a thunderous drive beat away by Petr Cech.

As Kane wheeled away to celebrate in front of a jubilant Wembley, he pointed to the Spurs fans and clinched his fist. He’s one of their own and after Arsenal released him at the age of eight, he’s making them pay.

With seven points from their last three games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men are bang in form and have second-place United in focus.


SPURS’ HIGH-PRESS TO PERFECTION

By now we know how Pochettino sets his teams up. Apparently nobody told Arsenal.

The Gunners were hurried into clearances, gave the ball away in midfield and were left wide open on the counter multiple times. In a game they needed to win to give themselves a serious chance of finishing in the top four, the Gunners looked shaky from the start.

Cech gave the ball away on multiple occasions in the pouring rain under pressure and Arsenal were the much happier side to go in level at the break, despite showing flashes of promise on the break even if the final ball wasn’t there.

Tottenham should have wrapped things up with more than 20 minutes to go as Kane had multiple chances, Cech denied Erik Lamela, Son skied over and Dele Alli poked wide. If Spurs would have won 3-0, Arsenal could have had zero complaints.

Ahead of the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash vs. Juventus in Turin this week, Spurs are in sensational form at precisely the right time of the season.


WILSHERE THE BRIGHT SPOT FOR ARSENAL

With 20 minutes to go Wilshere had Arsenal’s first shot on goal. That said it all.

Arsenal showed plenty of promise on the break in the first half but couldn’t get that final ball correct. When Wilshere did, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was flagged offside.

In the second half he launched into tackles, curled an effort towards the top corner which Hugo Lloris saved well and as at the heart of everything good Arsenal did. With Mesut Ozil’s contract locked down, Wilshere should be next and it can’t come soon enough. After a run of three months as a regular, the England midfielder is finally back to his best.

Arsenal could fall as much as eight points off the to four by the end of the weekend and their inability to deliver in big games, away from home, has cost them dear in the past few seasons.

The Gunners are winless in their last 16 PL away games against the current top four, with their last victory coming at Man City in January 2015.

In truth, they never looked like winning on Saturday as the mercurial talents of Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan lacked the tenacity of Wilshere and were dominated.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.

Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.

[ MORE: Man United gets Brighton in FA Cup quarters, Chelsea draws Leicester ]

Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.

Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.

Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.

Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.