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Arsenal's Champions League hopes suffer setback after Tottenham thumping - 5 talking points

By Tom Blow

Tottenham have moved within one point of a Champions League spot following a thumping 3-0 home win against bitter rivals Arsenal on Thursday evening.

A brace from Harry Kane and an early second-half strike from Son Heung-min confirmed the win for Spurs - their first against the Gunners since December 2020. Despite the result, Arsenal remain fourth in the Premier League - one point clear of Tottenham in fifth.

Spurs need Arsenal to drop points against Newcastle or Everton if they're going to snatch fourth. Tottenham's final two Premier League games are against Burnley and Norwich. Here are five talking points from a crucial fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Nothing quite like a derby

Harry Kane opened the scoring on Thursday evening (Getty Images)

The atmosphere inside Tottenham's glittering stadium was electric on Thursday. The home fans clearly recognised the importance of the fixture, booing the Gunners when they touched the ball and chanting "Come on you Spurs" at every opportunity.

The thunderous noise from the stands spurred the players into action. Arsenal had two efforts inside the opening 10 minutes - although neither of them tested Hugo Lloris - while an early run from Son reminded the visitors of Tottenham's quality.

It was only a matter of time until someone found the back of the net. Unsurprisingly, that person was Kane. The England captain hammered home a penalty in the 22nd minute after Cedric Soares clumsily clattered into Son. It was just the beginning of the drama.

Not Holding his own

Rob Holding had a nightmare against Tottenham (Reuters)

Will Arsenal or Tottenham qualify for the Champions League? Let us know in the comments below!

Ben White has been brilliant for Arsenal this season, starting 31 Premier League games to help them reach fourth in the table. Yet a hamstring injury caused him to miss the last two fixtures against West Ham and Leeds, leaving Gunners fans worried.

Rob Holding was drafted into the team in replace of White - scoring against the Hammers - and kept his place for the big game against Spurs. Mikel Arteta was left to regret that decision, as Holding was sent off inside 34 minutes for picking two yellow cards.

Son made the Englishman look like a Bolton player again, drawing him into two bookable offences. Holding just couldn't handle the forward's pace and directness, proving why Arteta needs more depth at the back. They can't depend on just White and Gabriel.

Arsenal Kaned... again

Kane's record against Arsenal is superb (Reuters)

Kane had a ridiculous record against Arsenal heading into Thursday's game, scoring 11 goals and providing two assists against them in 14 Premier League appearances. That tally increased to 13 goals following his talismanic display at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The striker's second goal came at a vital time, too. Kane found the back of the net just seconds after Holding was given his marching orders, producing a diving header inside the six-yard box to demoralise Arsenal and establish a 2-0 lead at the break.

It's now 25 goals and nine assists for Kane this season. He's some player.

Gunner collapse? You bet

Arsenal capitulated against Tottenham (Reuters)

Antonio Conte's side secured the three points just seconds after the interval. Kane was picked out in the box and should've got penalty when Gabriel dragged him to the ground. Fortunately for Spurs, advantage was played and Son thumped home the loose ball. The Gunners were now fearing the worst, yet they managed to keep the score at 3-0.

Son came the closest to adding a fourth. He missed a glorious opportunity just after the hour mark - blazing his effort over the bar from close range - before he was subbed with 20 minutes left to play. The forward was not happy with Conte's decision, as he's just one goal behind Mohamed Salah (22) in the Golden Boot race.

Arteta's dithering

Mikel Arteta got his tactics and team selection wrong against Spurs (Reuters)

When Holding was sent off, it was imperative Arteta got a centre-back on to plug the gap in his defence. He didn't and Kane took advantage. The Spaniard needs to act quicker in future.

Arteta will be worried heading into the final two fixtures of the season. Holding is banned for the next game against Newcastle, while Gabriel was forced off with a hamstring strain. It's unclear who will partner White at St James' Park... and he's not even fully fit yet.

The Spurs game was another big chance for Arteta to prove his critics wrong, yet he blew it. He will now be hoping his team can get over the top four line to avoid the wrath of Piers Morgan and whichever ranting supporter appeared on AFTV on Thursday evening.

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Dive Deeper:
Tottenham news: Antonio Conte slammed as Spurs in Paulo Dybala transfer boost
Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has been criticised for saying Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta "complains alot" as Paulo Dybala's agent…
EPL | Tottenham beats Arsenal 3-0 to tighten race for Champions League spot
Goals by Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Son Heung-min demolish Arsenal as the battle for fourth place in the Premier League…
Rampant Tottenham thump sorry Arsenal to blow race for top four wide open
Tottenham kept their Champions League hopes alive as they put 10-man Arsenal to the sword with a 3-0 victory in…
Mikel Arteta channels Jose Mourinho in awkward Sky Sports interview after Tottenham loss
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal were thrashed 3-0 by bitter rivals Tottenham on Thursday evening, leaving them in serious danger of missing…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Tottenham and Arsenal’s predicted line-ups for crucial North London derby
Antonio Conte’s Spurs prepare to take on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal on Thursday night, knowing anything but a win in the…
Tottenham 3-0 Arsenal: Premier League – as it happened
Minute-by-minute report: Spurs are one point behind Arsenal in the race for fourth after thrashing their north London rivals. Scott…
Get all your news in one place