Mauricio Pochettino masterminded a 2-1 win in the North London derby, spearheaded by the man of the moment – Harry Kane. But the victory was down to determination, resilience, character, class and cutting edge. Every player on the pitch had an impact on proceedings and overall, it was a fantastic performance.
A quick analysis of the players:
Hugo Lloris – Didn’t have a lot to do in terms of saves, apart from a very good stop diving to his left against Danny Welbeck. A superb organiser of the back four and a real assurance for the entire side to know he’s there.
Kyle Walker – A return to the Walker of old. Bombed down the right flank tirelessly, showing what we missed for the nine months he was out. Best moment was when he beat Mesut Özil to the ball, knocked it past him and beat him for pace. The Lane loved that. He’s slowly getting back to his best.
Eric Dier – This was one position that could have been up for debate pre-match. Federico Fazio has been very solid recently and has formed a great partnership with Jan Vertonghen. However, Dier’s pace and aerial ability helped him to nullify Olivier Giroud and prevent the Frenchman from having much of an impact. Completed 100% of his tackles, eight clearances, three blocks and one interception; without picking up a booking.
Jan Vertonghen – Jan looks more and more like the Jan from the 2012/13 season as the games go. A real leader, an assured figure at the back and a very good passer of the ball. Solid again yesterday next to Dier. Also completed 100% of his tackles – compared to Koscielny’s 0% – as well as 80% of aerial duels, five interceptions, eight clearances and didn’t pick up a card either.
Danny Rose – A real menace down the left, forcing Welbeck to track back and assist Hector Bellerin. Arguably the best player of the first half, except his part in Özil’s goal. He had two shots, created one chance, completed 70% of passes, won 100% of aerial duels as well as making five clearances and three interceptions.
Nabil Bentaleb – Like a new signing. A composed figure in central midfield. Has a tendency to misplace passes but had a much better accuracy, with 87% completed. He created three chances and made one cross – the assist for Kane’s winner. Also won 80% of his tackles, made four clearances, two interceptions and one block. The midfield sorely missed him during his time at the African Cup of Nations.
Ryan Mason – Another impressive performance from the 23 year old. He controlled the midfield alongside Bentaleb, making himself a menace going forward and doing the dirty work defensively, too. He had four shots, completed 78% of his passes, made four crosses and was the thorn in Arsenal’s side for long periods. He roamed between their midfield and defence, finding gaps and getting passed away quickly, something essential to the system. Also made two clearances and one block.
Erik Lamela – Was superb in his pressing and tracking back but we are still yet to see the best of him going forward. He did take two shots, created three chances and made four crosses – one leading to Kane’s equaliser. He also completed 81% of his passes in what could be described as a tidy performance. In terms of his pressing, he completed 60% of his tackles, made two interceptions and two blocks. He’s not there yet but it’s good to see him working so hard for the cause.
Mousa Dembélé – He seems to have been a revelation in his new attacking midfield role. A great performance going both ways. Offensively, he completed 83% of passes, created four chances and completed three take ons, a known strength of his. He also succeeded in 100% of his tackles, made one interception, two clearances and only gave away one free kick.
Christian Eriksen – He was slightly quiet in comparison to recent performances but cutting in from the left, it was difficult for him to make room. Completed 71% of passes, still creating four chances and making seven crosses. His free kick in the second half wasn’t his best but still had Ospina stretching to make sure it didn’t drop underneath his crossbar. Was a help defensively; making one interception, one clearance and a block.
Harry Kane – What is left to say about this young man? Four shots; two goals, the winning goal in the North London derby, the man behind scenes of ecstasy inside White Hart Lane. Aside from his two goals, he created one chance, made three take ons and was a nuisance for the entire second half. After a quiet first half by his standards, the extra space and fitness allowed him to drift between Coquelin, Koscielny and Mertesacker. He was unmarked for his first goal and found the perfect gap between the two centre backs to head home the winner in the 86th minute. That’s now 22 goals for him in all competitions and seven league goals in 2015 – a feat only matched by one player in world football, Lionel Messi.
It was a superb performance and one that, even when 1-0 down, most fans seemed confident about. White Hart Lane was rocking for 90 minutes and the majority of Arsenal fans put their hands up to admit that the superior team on the day won and deserved all three points. Pochettino, once again, got the team spot on and the tactics just right. The Arsenal goal came against the run of play and being picky, could have been ruled offside. However, unlike Spurs teams of the past, going a goal behind did nothing to dent our confidence and everyone had a belief that we would win. It was the first time we’d seen Spurs dominate against a big team for 90 minutes and for that, the entire team deserves credit.
Man of the match has to go to one of our own, Harry Kane. Two goals and he’s now got an ever bigger place in Tottenham fans’ hearts.