Harry Kane’s towering header deservedly settled the north London derby at Wembley in Tottenham’s favour as their surge towards an end-of-season place in the Premier League’s top four gathers momentum. Kane soared high above Laurent Koscielny in the 49th minute to direct a Ben Davies cross beyond Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech and move Spurs up to third in the table. And it was only the defiance of Cech that kept a rampant Spurs at bay in the second half, producing a collection of outstanding saves to somehow keep Arsenal in contention as Mauricio Pochettino’s side threatened to run riot. It was a performance that almost earned outplayed Arsenal an unlikely point only for substitute Alexandre Lacazette to waste two last-gasp opportunities, the second when he was clear through on Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris but shot wide of the far post.
Spurs survived the scare – and such was their domination after the break that it would have been a travesty had Arsenal escaped Wembley with a draw. Tottenham were slow to get into their stride in a first 45 minutes characterised by Arsenal’s defensive discipline – but once they moved through the gears the Gunners simply could not live with them. It was only the outstanding Cech that stood between Arsenal and a second-half rout as Spurs simply swamped their opponents after the break with a formidable display of power, pace and sheer intensity. Spurs, at least until Liverpool play Southampton on Sunday and Chelsea meet West Bromwich Albion on Monday night, have now moved into third place in the Premier League and right to the heart of the battle for places in next season’s Champions League.
And on current form, having beaten Manchester United in equally impressive fashion here in their last home league game and performed with such measure and authority to earn a point at Liverpool last weekend, Spurs are making a strong case to be the best of the rest after runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp would mount their own arguments against that but this was Tottenham’s third powerful statement in less than a fortnight and the perfect preparation for this week’s exacting Champions League last 16 meeting with Juventus in Turin. Once the cobwebs of a lack-lustre first half were blown away, Spurs were irresistible and Arsenal were simply unable to cope with the power of Mousa Dembele in midfield and the creation and running of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli – combined with the inevitable goalscoring prowess of Kane.