Tottenham’s torrent form at Wembley continued; Arsenal’s did not. Spurs won the North London derby 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a Harry Kane header and the Gunners’ hopes of securing the Arsene Wenger Memorial Trophy for finishing in the top four are all but dead.
Kane’s goal came early in the second half and was his seventh in seven North London derby matches. It was a deserved lead and Tottenham could have scored many more. But if not for Alexandre Lacazette letting everyone know why Arsenal paid $79 million for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a couple weeks ago, the Gunners might have stolen a point.
After a well-matched first half, Kane put Spurs ahead early in the second half with a well-placed header when Arsenal gave Ben Davies about 18 acres of space to pick out a cross.
Spurs had countless chances to put the match away but were thwarted by shots off target or saves from Petr Cech. This allowed Arsenal to stay in the match and Wenger threw on three attackers to try to nip an equalizer. Unfortunately for Wenger, one of those attackers was Lacazette, the man he paid $60 million for in July.
Lacazette, who has one goal in his last 12 matches, came in with 25 minutes to play for January signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who played with the type of form that saw him become unwanted by Manchester United.
In the 91st minute, Lacazette, a striker with one goal in his last 12 matches, was wide open on the receiving end of a cross from Hector Bellerin. His ensuing shot had the same trajectory of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday. Moments later, Lacazette found himself in behind the Spurs defense. His shot went just wide and Tottenham held on for the 1-0 victory.
Tottenham has now won five straight at Wembley, their home venue as the club rebuilds White Hart Lane. Arsenal saw its nine-match winning streak at Wembley come to an end in front of a Premier League-record crowd of 83,222 fans.
The North London derby win was just what Mauricio Pochettino’s side needed as it pushes on for a top-four finish. Spurs moved ahead of both Liverpool and Chelsea into third place, though both opponents could leapfrog back in front later this weekend.
Arsenal fans may feel aggrieved by the assistant referees, who denied the Gunners some of their best opportunities by raising flags for offside calls, but given the number of chances Tottenham created, it’s hard to argue the win wasn’t deserved for Spurs.
Immediately after Kane’s goal, which meant Cech has now gone nine Premier League matches without a clean sheet, the longest run of his career, it could’ve gotten worse quickly for Arsenal. Less than two minutes later, Kane had another similar chance from the opposite side of the pitch, but he headed it just wide. Two minutes after that, Cech was forced to save a vicious volley from Kane, with the rebound sneaking under the foot of Dele Alli on what could have been a tap in. In the 57th minute, Cech made a difficult save on a free kick from Christian Eriksen.
The chances began flowing for both sides after the goal. Arsenal’s first great chance came in the 68th minute when Jack Wilshere tried to curl one in from distance only for Hugo Lloris to be equal to the effort. On the other end, Son Heung-Min skied a good chance and Alli hit just wide with only the keeper to beat. Cech then made big saves on Erik Lamela and Kieran Trippier as it appeared a Tottenham goal was imminent as the Arsenal defense grew sloppy as the team sought an equalizer.
However, thanks to Lacazette doing his best Alvaro Morata impression, neither team found another goal. Spurs are now seven points ahead of the Gunners and St. Totteringham’s Day is appearing unlikely for a second straight season as Arsenal lost yet another North London derby.