In a match of huge implications at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium between two fierce rivals competing for a spot in the top four, it was the hosts who dealt with the occasion far better to record their biggest league win in a North London derby since 1983.
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Harry Kane scored a first-half brace, the first from the penalty spot on 22 minutes following a foul by Cedric Soares on Son Heung-Min and the second with a stooping header from close range 15 minutes later. Those strikes took Kane’s total in North London derbies to a record 13 goals in 17 appearances.
In between, Rob Holding received two yellow cards and a red for challenges on Son, the second featuring a forearm to the South Korean forward’s face, as Arsenal swiftly capitulated.
Son then made sure of the result by lashing home two minutes into the second half for his 21st Premier League goal of the season, putting him one behind Liverpool‘s Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot.
In the battle for a top-four berth, Spurs, on 65 points, are now just a point behind Arsenal in fourth, and have a superior goal difference, heading into the final two games of the season. Chelsea, in third on 70 points and with a vastly superior goal difference, effectively need just a point from their final two games to be sure of Champions League football next season.
Arsenal will finish with games at Newcastle United on Monday before hosting Everton on the final day. Spurs, meanwhile, will welcome Burnley on Sunday ahead of a final-day matchup at bottom-of-the-table Norwich City.
“We still have two games to go and we have put the pressure on them. We have to focus on ourselves. We play early on Sunday so we need to get a result and see what happens,” Kane told Sky Sports.
“We can only control our games. We did our job tonight. We won’t get ahead of ourselves.
“Tonight was special but our ultimate goal is to get fourth place and we still have work to do.”
With so much riding on the derby and the atmosphere electric, the opening exchanges were unsurprisingly frenetic with neither side able to settle into any kind of rhythm.
But that all changed when Dejan Kulusevski directed a cross toward Son and he fell under challenge from Soares and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot.
There was only going to be one winner as Kane stepped up to plant his spot kick low into the corner.
Arsenal, who had won their last four games, were rattled and Kane was denied a second by desperate blocks from Takehiro Tomiyasu and Soares.
Holding, who had already been booked for wrestling Son, then cynically blocked off the South Korean to earn a red card that left manager Mikel Arteta shaking his head in disbelief.
Things soon got even worse for Arsenal as Son’s corner was met by Rodrigo Bentancur whose header was diverted in by a diving Kane at the far post.
But Arsenal could not cope with Son and Kane. The second half had barely begun when Kane tried to wriggle through and the ball broke for Son to calmly find the corner.
Martin Odegaard forced Lloris into a fine save late on but by that time most of the Arsenal fans had seen enough and were on their way home.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.