Harry Kane’s second-half header proved enough to earn Tottenham a deserved 1-0 triumph against shoddy north London rivals Arsenal and storm – at least temporarily – into the Premier League’s top three.
After he had glanced wide in the first half, Kane was clinical in the 49th minute when picked out by excellent Wales left-back Ben Davies. Kane actually should have earned a hat-trick by 54 minutes, but was uncharacteristically profligate.
Here, we analyse the performance of the Spurs striker:
Goals – 1
Assists – 0
Shots – 4
Shots on target – 2
Touches – 32
Passes – 19
Key passes – 0
Dribbles – 0
Dispossessed – 1
Emerged as the match winner once again in the north London derby when he took advantage of the porous Arsenal defence to head in the 49th-minute opener.
Consistently preyed on the deficiencies in the opposition rank and should have earned a hat-trick by 54 minutes. First headed an inviting Eric Dier centre wide, before lashing a thunderous volley straight at the overworked Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Would almost turn creator later on when he somehow spotted substitute Erik Lamela and cushioned a ball perfectly into his path.
TARGETING A WEAK POINT – Kane swiftly realised his markers had no intention of properly performing their duties. Consistently – and expertly – drifted into the gaping chasm between Arsenal centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi.
COMMITMENT TO THE CAUSE – Kane’s enthusiasm for the derby was utilised perfectly. Would drop deeper when Arsenal players took too much time in his zone. But was still awake to fact he was the figurehead for Spurs’ attack. Had 11 more touches than opposite number Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
MISSING HIS MARK – On another day, Kane would have been heading home with the match ball.
From four presentable chances, it was strange to see Europe’s top goalscorer from 2017 only convert one. It is easy to forgive him not being able to convert a volley from the edge of a penalty box packed with Arsenal and Spurs players, plus the giant Petr Cech. But only scoring one header when unmarked three times is not like him.
124 - Harry Kane averages a goal every 124 minutes in @premierleague London derbies - only Thierry Henry (1 every 114) has a better ratio in the competition (minimum 20 games). Focal.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 10, 2018
5th min CHANCE CREATED: Kane’s trademark desire was on full show from the off. Drove back into his own half, tackled the dawdling Egypt centre midfielder Elneny and pinged a perfect ball to Son Heung-min, which the South Korea forward didn’t make the most of.
27th min CHANCE: Gets in-between Arsenal’s centre-backs, but header is not on target. Now smells blood after he realises how sloppy Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi are in undertaking their defensive duties.
49th min GOAL: Can’t say Arsenal weren’t warned. Kane refuses to pass up another unmarked header and he guides the ball perfectly into the corner, for his seventh goal in seven appearances against the Gunners. Huge celebrations for the boyhood Spurs fan, against the team who released him as a nine-year-old.
52nd min CHANCE: Anchorman Dier picks out Kane from deep, whose header bounces wide. Probably should have scored, despite being just inside penalty area.
54th min CHANCE: Smashes a rasping volley straight at Arsenal keeper Cech from the edge of the box. Connection was perfect, but didn’t get enough angle on it. Another let off for the negligent visitors to Wembley.
72nd min CHANCE CREATED: A Spurs counter-attack caused a cross-field ball to be rocketed towards Kane. Somehow found time to swivel, see Erik Lamela in the corner of his eye and chest it delicately towards the Argentina winger. Just five seconds later, Cech was pulling off a fine stop.
Alongside Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen and Belgium centre-back Jan Vertonghen, was one of the best players on the pitch.
Only regret will be the fact he was only able to add one goal to his leading Premier League tally for the season – which stands at 23.
Kane’s reputation as a complete striker was enhanced throughout. As his heatmap attests, work much harder than Arsenal’s lauded attacking trio of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang put together.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
Harry Kane proved to be the difference in the north London derby again as Tottenham recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.
A header from the England striker early in the second half was enough to earn Spurs all three points and move into third place in the Premier League with Liverpool and Chelsea playing on Sunday.
Here, we rate the performance of the Arsenal players.
Petr Cech – This game could have been a rugby score, if not a cricket score, and Cech made several stunning saves – including an Eriksen free-kick that was heading for the top corner. An encouraging return to form. One positive for Arsenal? 8
Hector Bellerin – Remained diligent as Spurs tried to overload the left-hand side through the efforts of Son and Eriksen. Should not be sucked into the vortex of despair that was Arsenal’s centre-back partnership… 7
Shkrodan Mustafi – Impressive for nine minutes, in which he made a goal-saving interception. The other 80-minutes plus were not so hot. It’s almost as if he had only met Koscielny on the morning of the game. 5
Laurent Koscielny – That was no foul for the goal – he’s just desperately weak in the air. The rabbit to Kane’s headlights. Will make an excellent cover tackle here and there, but when is Wenger going to sign an authoritative figure at the back. 4
Nacho Monreal – Offered little going forward but he was defensively disciplined and did as much as he could to stop the inevitable rot. The full-backs aren’t the problem at Arsenal. 7
Granit Xhaka – Put into perspective just how badly Wenger whiffed on signing Xhaka when you put him on the same pitch as Moussa Dembele. A hard man in nothing but name. In fact, how dare he call himself Granit. 5
Mohamed Elneny – A genuine plus on a day full of minuses. Stemmed some of the flow that came his way and on the rare occasion Arsenal drove up field, he was usually the instigator. Should not be the man to drop out when Aaron Ramsey comes back. 7
Mesut Ozil – Ghosted about, looking kind of dangerous, but don’t forget that ghost – in theory – can’t affect the mortal realm. Materialised into a physical presence at times but the flashes were few and far between. 5
Jack Wilshere – Looked like the good old Jack of about six or seven years ago for about six or seven minutes. He cares and plays with his heart on his sleeve. But how much he still has up his sleeve is up for debate. 6
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – The Armenian has a fairly lofty ceiling, but his floor hits the basement and keeps on going. Hit a three iron into the stands at one point. As any Manchester United fan will tell you – this sort of performance is neither rare nor surprising. 3
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – #YoPierre, where on earth are you? In fairness it’s hard to apportion too much blame to the shiny new striker who suffered through an impossibly dull game from his perspective. Was wrongly flagged for offside in the first half and could have scored. How he’d have wished for that much drama in the second. 5
Alexandre Lacazette – Strikers must strike and Lacazette, when he could have a snatched a fully undeserved point at the death, failed in his duties. 5
Alex Iwobi – He was on the pitch? 5
Manchester City have written to the body in charge of professional referees to raise their concerns over a series of dangerous challenges suffered by their players, according to widespread reports on Saturday.
The BBC reported the Premier League leaders have cited nine challenges they feel have not been sufficiently punished by referees in recent months to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).
City would also like to see a change in Football Association rules that would allow incidents seen by referees on the field to be reviewed again retrospectively.
That could possibly mean yellow cards being upgraded to red if evidence was sufficient.
In one of the worst challenges a fortnight ago, winger Leroy Sane was ruled out for six weeks by ankle ligament damage suffered after being caught late by Cardiff’s Joe Bennett.
“I said many times the only thing they (referees) have to do is protect the players,” City boss Pep Guardiola said after his side’s 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win in the Welsh capital.
“For the football in general, and for the players who are the artists, they must do that. That’s why we are all here.”
Bennett received only a yellow card, as did West Brom’s Matt Phillips for a high tackle on Brahim Diaz three days later.
Other bad challenges which have sparked controversy include lunges on Kevin De Bruyne by Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon and Tottenham’s Dele Alli and James McClean of West Brom.
In a much-criticised move, Guardiola named only six substitutes for last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Burnley claiming he had no more players left due to a spiralling injury crisis.
Provided by AFP Sport