Tottenham’s Harry Kane (right) leans in to head home from close range for his second goal.
LONDON: Mikel Arteta launched a scathing attack on referee Paul Tierney after Tottenham beat 10-man Arsenal 3-0 on Thursday to keep their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four alive. Antonio Conte’s side would have been knocked out of the race to qualify for the next season’s Champions League had they lost to their bitter north London rivals. But Harry Kane tormented Arsenal again when the Tottenham striker opened the scoring with a controversial penalty.
Above all, Arsenal’s Rob Holding was sent off for two bookings in seven minutes. Kane scored again before the break and Son Heung-min scored Tottenham’s third goal in the second half. Instead of sealing a Champions League return for the first time since the 2016-17 season, fourth-placed Arsenal now face a nervous conclusion to the battle for the top four. Arsenal still hold a slim advantage, but the end of their four-game winning streak leaves them just a point clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, with both teams still having two games to play. Gunners boss Arteta was furious with both the penalty and the red card, saying: “If I say what I think I’m suspended for six months. I can’t lie so I’d rather not say what I think. “I can’t give my opinion. I think you can read my body language very clearly. I’m not unhappy with my players. I’m proud of my players. “I want the referees to come in front of the camera and explain their decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today. Conte said several weeks ago that it would be a “miracle” if Tottenham reached the Champions League given their lowly position when he replaced sacked Nuno Espirito Santo in November. But their victory in arguably the biggest North London derby since Arsenal won the league at White Hart Lane in 2004 made that miracle happen.
Tottenham hosts Burnley who struggled on Sunday travel to relegated Norwich next, while Arteta’s men travel to Newcastle on Monday and entertain Everton. After orchestrating Tottenham’s biggest league win against Arsenal since 1983, Conte called on his players to keep the momentum going against Burnley. “We won an important derby and now we are close to them in the standings. Of course we have to recover very well because we will play against a team that beat us on Sunday,” he said. been very clear with my players, to enjoy and celebrate in the right way but at the same time thinking about Sunday because otherwise this victory will not be important.” In addition to the huge European stakes for both parties, Tottenham also felt a lingering resentment over Arsenal’s successful appeal to have that game postponed to January due to Covid and injury concerns.The acrimony was quick to boil over in the deafening atmosphere of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. from the maelstrom, it was Tottenham who landed the first shot after 22 minutes Cedric Soares collided with Son as they challenged Dejan Kulusevski’s cross into the penalty area and the contact was enough to convince Tierney to award a penalty. Arsenal surrounded Tierney in angrily complaining, but Kane stepped in to send Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way with a nerveless kick.
Arsenal were in shock and the game swung decisively in Tottenham’s favor in the 33rd minute. Eric Dier’s long pass was aimed at Son and Holding roughly blocked his way with his shoulder, an unnecessary offense that prompted Tierney to send off the defender for his second booking. Smelling the blood, Tottenham doubled their lead four minutes after Holding’s early exit. Rodrigo Bentancur kicked in a corner and Kane ducked home virtually on the line as Conte celebrated with a jig of joy. Kane, the North London Derby’s all-time leading scorer in all competitions, now has 13 goals in 17 appearances for Arsenal, who must regret the day they dismissed him aged eight. The night got even better for Conte in the 47th minute when Kane rolled Gabriel over and the ball broke for Son to put in a deft finish in the corner. * Follow us on instagram and join our Telegram and or WhatsApp channel(s) for the latest news you don’t want to miss.
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