First-half goals from Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane were enough for Tottenham Hotspur to claim a 2-0 win over local rivals Arsenal as Jose Mourinho’s men reclaimed the top spot in the 2020-21 Premier League table.
The hosts’ clinical counter-attacking display saw them take the lead in the 13th minute with Son running on to a pass from Kane before unleashing a curling effort from 30 yards out that gave a diving Bernd Leno no chance in the Arsenal goal.
The South Korean then turned provider just before half time, slipping the ball through for Kane to smash home from close range to finish off another counter-attack, dashing Arsenal’s hopes of making a comeback as the visitors had just started to enjoy a sustained spell of possession in the opposition half.
Although Arsenal gave a much better account of themselves after the break, the damage had already been done, as Hugo Lloris was never unduly troubled and the home side remained a threat on the counter.
The 2-0 win sees Jose Mourinho’s men return to the summit of the Premier League table in style, with the victory made all the sweeter by a vociferous crowd of 2,000 socially-distanced fans that Spurs were able to welcome into the stadium.
On that note, let’s take a look at the hits and flops as Spurs claim the spoils in the latest edition of the North London derby.
#5 Hit: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
While most of the headlines surrounding Spurs have centered around their dazzling array of attackers, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has quietly become one of the most effective midfield enforcers in the Premier League.
Having established himself as a tough-tackling, ball-winning midfielder during his time in Germany and in England at Southampton, Hojbjerg showed exactly why Jose Mourinho was keen to bring him in by putting in an excellent display in the heart of the Spurs midfield.
Since his arrival, Hojbjerg has wasted no time in striking up an excellent partnership with Moussa Sissoko, one which gives Spurs a solid platform from which the likes of Son and Kane can launch a series of potent attacks.
The Danish international not just tenacious and dogged in his tackling but also extremely alert in his positioning, enabling him to win possession back for his side on a number of occasions, halting numerous Arsenal attacking moves in the process.
Notably, Hojbjerg was also one of the most vocal players on the pitch, constantly marshaling his teammates and ensuring that his side maintained their shape on and off the ball, another reason for Spurs’ success on the night and in the season in general.
#4 Flop: Alexandre Lacazette
Having lost out on the center-forward spot to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in recent fixtures, Lacazette was rewarded by Mikel Arteta for his excellent goal in midweek for Arsenal with a return to the starting lineup in the Premier League.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Lacazette was unable to find his goal-scoring touch and had a largely unenjoyable time leading the line as he was effectively marked out of the game by Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier.
The Frenchman’s struggles up top were further compounded by a lack of service to him from his teammates, resulting in him having to drop deeper and deeper to pick up the ball and have an impact on the proceedings.
As such, when Lacazette got on the ball, it was mostly in and around the halfway line, with little movement in and around him. In fact, one could argue that he contributed more defensively, nipping in at vital moments to stop a few possible Spurs counter-attacks.
His defensive contributions notwithstanding, Arteta and Arsenal would be justified in expecting more by way of goalscoring from one of their star attackers, something that the side as a whole has been lacking of late.