Harry Kane crowned king of north London as Arsenal collapse in spectacular fashion
Harry Kane was crowned king of north London as ten-man Arsenal collapsed in the most embarrassing and spectacular fashion.
Kane was already the top scorer in the history of this fixture and took his tally to 13 goals in 16 games but Arsenal actually made it easy for him with a shambolic performance.
Rob Holding got himself sent off, Cedric Soares conceded a clumsy penalty and Arsenal are now in serious danger of blowing a Champions League place with their 90-minute meltdown.
Suddenly, Tottenham look ready to nick fourth place again as Arsenal’s ill-discipline, poor quality squad players, lack of experience and soft underbelly cost them dear.
Tottenham entertain Burnley at noon on Sunday, a win would take them two points above Arsenal before they go to Newcastle on Monday night and you would not fancy Mikel Arteta’s men to hold their nerve playing like this.
Tottenham were as good as Arsenal were bad. But Antonio Conte’s men also feasted on Arsenal’s frailties as the visitors seemed to implode and crumble in the rip-roaring atmosphere at White Hart Lane.
Holding got two yellow cards in the space of six first-half minutes as he could not handle Heung-Min Son while stand-in Cedric was horribly exposed as was Arsenal’s lack of quality in depth.
It is now 13 red cards under Arteta’s two and a half year reign which is at least five more than any club during that time which says much about the Arsenal manager’s lack of discipline.
Tottenham boss Conte masterminded a brilliant victory as Kane was unstoppable, Son and Dejan Kulusevski either side of him ran Arsenal’s defence ragged and the managerial genius taught his opposite a harsh and brutal lesson.
The momentum is now surely with Tottenham after an unforgettable night at their new stadium in what was the first North London derby played in front of a full house.
It was as if the noise swirled around the Arsenal players’ heads as Holding - who kept his place despite Ben White returning to the bench after a hamstring injury - tried to intimidate Son with strong arm tactics but it never worked.
The game came to the boil midway through the first half when Kulusevski put over a cross from the right, it caused chaos at the back post, Arsenal’s stand-in right-back Cedric tried to clear but ended up bundling into Son to concede a clumsy and needless penalty.
Up stepped Kane and it was never in doubt. Kane slotted into the bottom right corner, sending Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way.
Suddenly Arsenal fell apart. They self-imploded. Holding was struggling to contain Son and was booked. Just six minutes later, Holding got a second yellow card for a blatant elbow on Son and Arsenal were down to ten men in the 33rd minute.
Then it got even worse for Arsenal. Son put over a corner, Rodrigo Bentancur flicked on and there was Kane - who else? - diving in at the back post to head home.
Tottenham fans were loving it. They could sense more goals while Tottenham’s players were queuing up. It was all about damage limitation for Arsenal’s ten men.
But that did not even last two minutes of the second half. Gabriel seemed more interested in grappling with Kane than making a clearance, the ball broke to Son who fired into what was effectively an empty net as Arsenal’s defence stood aside.
Arsenal’s night got even worse when Gabriel went off injured and with Holding suspended and White clearly not fully fit, they now have a defensive crisis.