LONDON — What. A. Game.
Passion. Power. Pace. Skill. The north London derby had it all on Saturday as Tottenham Hotspur fought back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 as Harry Kane once again stole the show.
[ RECAP: Kane’s double seals derby win ]
Kane will get the headlines, and rightly so, but here’s three things we learned as Spurs climbed closer to the top four, while the Gunners lost ground in the race for the UEFA Champions League.
KANE’S BRILLIANCE CONTINUES
Battling away against Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for most of the game without much success, Kane exploded into life in the second half when it mattered most. Two opportunistic goals from Kane turned the game on its head and he now has 22 for the season in all competitions. Kane signed a new five-and-a-half-year deal earlier this week and the 21-year-old forward celebrated the new contract with a superb display in his first-ever north London derby. This performance meant the world to him, you could tell by the way he celebrated. Kane is a local lad who has come through the academy at Spurs after initially being let go by Arsenal as a youngster. Saturday was payback time. His movement in and around the box, the way he plays on the last shoulder of defenders and his cool head when chances present themselves mean he is fast becoming the best English striker in the Premier League. With four goals in his last two games, he’s red-hot too.
Speaking to the media after the game, Londoner Kane described his goals against Arsenal as “a dream come true.” Around north London Spurs’ fans proudly sing “Harry Kane, he’s one of our own.” The boy they adore also made their own dreams come true on Saturday.
This video below shows you just how much fans at Spurs love their homegrown hero, as he was serenaded off the pitch after delivering yet another three points to leapfrog Spurs over their bitter rivals.
SANCHEZ-LESS ARSENAL EASY TO CONTAIN
Without Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal weren’t at the races on Saturday. The Gunners’ main man — who has scored 12 goals and assisted seven to be involved in more PL goals than any other player this season — was missing on Saturday due to a lingering hamstring issue. Sure, Danny Welbeck’s surging run helped set up Mesut Ozil’s opener, but flashes of brilliance from those two were far too brief in the white-hot cauldron of White Hart Lane. Even when Theo Walcott came on, he failed to get into the game and Olivier Giroud had a day to forget up front. Sanchez’s directness and creative spark was missed badly. Arsene Wenger lamented his sides offensive output and also felt the need to have a pop at the officials, as his team were out-battled in an intense atmosphere.
“I don’t think we were very good,” Wenger said when asked about referee Martin Atkinson and his officials. “And the referee was on our level.”
POCHETTINO’S HIGH-PRESSING PAYING OFF
One of the main reasons Arsenal couldn’t get forward is because Spurs simply didn’t let them. With Kane staying high, then Lamela, Dembele and Eriksen buzzing in and around him, the Gunners could not spray the ball around in midfield as Santi Cazorla hardly got a kick in the central areas. The high-pressing style which Pochettino championed at Espanyol and Southampton in the past is starting to click into top gear at Tottenham. It has taken him a while to find the players who slot into his system and the likes of Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Kane are proving that his philosophy of playing young players who are hungry to succeed bears plenty of fruit.
After reaching the League Cup final and beating their arch rivals to move into the top four, Spurs’ future is looking bright under Pochettino. His era at the Lane finally has lift off.