Tottenham Win The North London Derby
As was the case with their game against Chelsea on New Year’s Day, the early part of Saturday’s North London derby appeared to be a typical Spurs performance – on both occasions I was pleasantly surprised by what followed.
After dominating the early exchanges, Tottenham fell behind after some poor defending to a well-taken Mesut Özil goal and went into half-time 1-0 down on the score sheet, but ahead in manner of performance and time of possession. It is goals that win games though and, luckily for Mauricio Pochettino, he has a man who has found the knack of getting them. That Harry Kane grew up 15 minutes from White Hart Lane and is a Spurs fan must have made scoring a brace against their biggest rivals – including a fantastically placed header to win the match four minutes from the end – all the more sweeter for the English striker. To those who remain in the crowd rather than on the pitch, it is great to see a local lad come good for the club. As the chant goes, Harry Kane, he’s one of of our own.
Any victory over Arsenal will is significant for us Tottenham supporters, but this result had wider implications as well. It lifted Spurs above the Gunners in the table (albeit probably just for three days, but we will get to that in a minute); moved Pochettino’s men to within a point of the Champions League qualification places; and extended a secretly-not-too-bad home league record against Arsenal in the Premier League era. Since the rebranding of the top flight in 1992, Spurs have finished below their arch rivals in 20 of the 22 completed seasons. However, in the 23 North London derbies played at White Hart Lane in that period, Tottenham actually have a positive record, winning eight, drawing ten and losing just five.
Despite all the good feeling that surrounds Spurs right now, there is unlikely to be much time to enjoy it. On Tuesday, they face a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool, who have thrashed them on each of the last three meetings between the two sides, while the Gunners have a home fixture against bottom club Leicester. Why could there not have been a break this week, followed by the F.A. Cup this weekend and Tottenham could have basked in the glow of their derby win for a fortnight. Instead, reality will come crashing back down upon them (us), along with some Daniel Sturridge goals and – somehow – Martin Skrtel will get a brace. Continue reading