Saturday’s clash between Tottenham and Arsenal was as riveting as it promised to be. With Spurs emerging as victors after a pulsating encounter, we take a look at five talking points from one of the most engaging games of 2015 so far:
Harry Kane is exactly what Spurs have been waiting for
It’s fair to say that at the beginning of the season, not many people would have been championing Kane to fill the vacant centre forward role at White Hart Lane, but that’s exactly what he has done. With 20 goals already netted, Kane has had a season beyond his wildest dreams–and it’s still only February.
What is perhaps most compelling about Kane’s rise to prominence is that no one gave him even a slight chance of doing so. Even when the young Englishman has scored goals in the past, journalists and pundits alike have been guilty of suggesting that Kane is just on a‘streak’that’s likely to come to an end soon. On the basis of his performance against Arsenal, this is no streak.
In Kane, Tottenham have a serious all-rounder, and his instinctive finishing ability as well as his power in the air were both very evident as he scored the two goals that earned his side three points, putting a serious dent in Arsenal’s hopes for the top four.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties will concern Wenger
What will concern Arsenal fans even more than losing a game against their bitter rivals is the fact that, in reality, the game was rather one-sided. Despite the Gunners taking the lead, the fact of the matter is that Spurs were always the more lively and attacking of the two sides, with both their fullbacks awarded acres of space down the flanks by the narrow Arsenal.
Both goals came from Arsenal’s lack of focus at the back, and with the transfer window now closed, this does not bode well for the rest of the Gunners’season.
Advantage Tottenham in the race for the top four
Of course, the implications of this game go far beyond the initial three points. Spurs’victory has taken them a point ahead of their North London rivals, and with positions in the top four the prize, it’s definitely advantage Tottenham after this result. Spurs have failed to finish above Tottenham since the early 1990s, but this could well be their season if Pochettino’s men continue at their current rate.
Mauricio Pochettino has made a vital difference
As we come onto the Argentine, we can’t help but to beimpressed by the impact the coach has had at White Hart Lane. Despite a slightly iffy start, his side now clearly has a real direction, and despite not investing in January–and indeed barely investing during the summer–Pochettino has built a squad more than capable of challenging on several fronts. As he did at Southampton before his Spurs tenure, Pochettino has been a revelation.
Arsenal struggle without Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez has undoubtedly been the star of Arsenal’s season so far, and the Chilean’s impact was badly missed during a game in which the front three of Welbeck, Ozil and Giroud failed to make a meaningful impact. Sanchez’s hamstring injury may only rule the forward out for a week or so, but if it is any longer, Arsenal will certainly feel his absence. I won’t go quite as far as to suggest that the Gunners are a one-man team, but they are significantly weaker without him.