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Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal: Unstoppable Harry Kane the difference again for Spurs

Rob Meech brings us three talking points as Tottenham stole a march over London rivals Arsenal to further cement their hold on a top four place.

Rob Meech

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Photo: Reuters

Harry Kane was the match-winner as Tottenham Hotspur beat fierce rivals Arsenal to tighten their grip on qualification for next season’s Champions League.

The England striker headed home Ben Davies’ cross for his 23rd Premier League goal of the campaign, just after half-time.

Spurs deserved to win the match – and Kane perhaps should have added to his tally – although substitute Alexandre Lacazette squandered two late opportunities to snatch a point for the Gunners.

Victory moved Tottenham above Chelsea and into fourth spot in the table but crucially, their advantage over sixth-placed Arsenal now stands at seven points.

Having missed out on the top four last season, the Gunners face another uphill battle following their third successive away defeat.

Here are three talking points from an enthralling north London derby…

Dominant Spurs show their mettle

During a tricky spell of results, doubts were cast over Tottenham’s top-four credentials. They have surely now been banished.

Runs of fixtures don’t come much trickier than Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Not only did Spurs come through unscathed with seven points from a possible nine, but the football they played showed they are more than a match for any Premier League team – and arguably the best suited to challenge the supremacy of Manchester City.

The margin of victory over Arsenal may have been only a single goal, but Mauricio Pochettino‘s men were dominant in every department.

They peppered Petr Cech’s goal and the ingenuity and creativity of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen perfectly complemented Kane’s ruthlessness.

Defensively, they are very sound and the depth of the squad was highlighted by the options Pochettino had on his bench.

Now nine games unbeaten, Spurs are peaking at the right time.

Arsenal’s top-four hopes suffer hammer blow

From the positivity that emerged from Arsenal’s thumping of Everton last weekend, this was a reality check.

The big trio of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were in the starting XI once again, but they couldn’t have the influence that tore the Toffees to shreds seven days earlier.

With 11 games remaining, the Gunners are somewhat cut adrift in the race for the top four.

There is no denying this defeat was a hammer blow to their ambitions.

Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification last season for the first time since Arsene Wenger took the reins and revolutionised the club.

Despite the investment made during the summer and in January, it looks like the same fate will befall them this campaign.

Success in the Europa League – mirroring Manchester United last season – increasingly appears to be their most likely route back into Europe’s showpiece competition.

Unstoppable Kane is the difference once again

It feels like every time Spurs win, Kane is the man they have to thank.

The 24-year-old moved to 101 Premier League goals and decided the outcome of this derby with a towering header that gave Cech no chance.

Is there no stopping this prolific goalscorer, who continues to go from strength to strength?

In truth, Kane could have walked away with a hat-trick, but his seventh goal in as many north London derbies was sufficient to claim the three points.

Kane is not just a traditional number nine – his all-round game is mightily impressive.

This was a man-of-the-match display in which he showed off all facets to his game.

From spraying 40-yard passes, holding up the ball and pulling defenders out of position, to possessing an unerring ability to find himself in space, this was a complete performance by a remarkable player.

Keeping Kane at the club could well be the biggest challenge Tottenham face this summer, if suitors come calling.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Arsenal

Three key takeaways from Emery’s Arsenal press conference

Emery is searching for his first win as Arsenal boss.

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Photo: Getty Images

Unai Emery’s Arsenal side travel to face Chelsea this weekend, as they seek to bounce back from defeat to Manchester City last week.

Pep Guardiola’s defending champions secured a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium, leaving Arsenal seeking to avoid back-to-back defeats at the start of Emery’s tenure – a tough challenge as the Gunners have not won at Stamford Bridge in the league since 2011.

Ahead of the fierce London derby, we have identified three key takeaways from Emery’s pre-match press conference.

Cech starts again

One of the big talking points, when the team was selected ahead of the game against Manchester City, was the fact that Petr Cech got the nod ahead of summer signing Bernd Leno – and it seems there will be no changes in that aspect for the trip to Chelsea.

Emery’s comments suggest that Cech’s Premier League experience gives the veteran stopper the edge of Leno and the Germany international will have to continue to wait for his competitive debut for the Gunners.

“I am happy with Petr Cech’s performance and he has lots of quality and experience. For Saturday, the decision for me is easy. Petr Cech can continue to start the match, I believe in him. If [in the future] Bernd starts, I believe in him also.”

Away tactics

While Arsenal suffered defeat against Manchester City, there were aspects of the Gunners performance that caught the eye and Unai Emery wants that momentum to continue in the trip across London to face Chelsea.

It seems Arsenal will not change their set-up for the match away from home but Emery is keen to ensure his side continue to play with the right pace, personality and mentality at Stamford Bridge – where they have the chance to make a statement of intent.

“When we are going to play away I want us to keep our personality and mentality because I think against Man City on Sunday, when we were losing, we kept our speed in the game. I want us to continue that and be competitive in 90 minutes and produce a better performance that Sunday.”

Big game improvements

It’s no secret that Arsenal have struggled in recent years against their ‘big six’ rivals and history at Stamford Bridge is not on their favour. Therefore, it’s clear that the Gunners need to improve in this area – and Unai Emery is aware of that.

The Spaniard’s comments do not necessarily address the latter years under Arsene Wenger but they might as well have. Emery has shown he can play the game in the press conferences but he now needs his side to improve their form on the field.

“We wanted to start well against a great team like Manchester City in front of our fans, but we lost. The result is very big, but it’s also important the way we achieve that. The difficulty is clear but I believe in our players and we need to improve in the biggest games. We lost the first game but I do not want to change our mentality.”

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Arsenal fans want Emery to sell Granit Xhaka after Man City loss

Fans are demanding Arsenal sell Xhaka in the next two weeks.

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Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal fans have made it clear throughout the history of the internet they need someone to be angry at and Granit Xhaka has inherited the crown.

With Arsene Wenger finally out, the Switzerland international has followed the likes of Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott as Arsenal’s weekly scapegoat, a title that is tough to shake, and his performance against Manchester City did not help matters.

Poor on the ball and struggling to cope with the Citizens’ quota of stars, fans on social media quickly flocked to criticism the midfielder and demand that Unai Emery sells the former Borussia Monchengladbach man ASAP.

With Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira amongst Emery’s summer acquisitions, Xhaka has plenty of competition for his role in midfield and many fans have made it clear they don’t want to see Xhaka wear the Arsenal shirt once again.

Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen and, a few months down the line, another scapegoat may have been identified. For now, it’s best Xhaka avoids logging onto Twitter…

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Emery’s Arsenal conference: Left-back options, Ramsey & further exits

A new era under Emery dawns for Arsenal.

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Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal enter a Premier League season with a new manager for the first time in over two decades, with Unai Emery now at the helm in north London.

The new boss starts life in English football with a baptism of fire as Arsenal host defending champions Manchester City on Sunday, where Emery has five new signings to potentially include in his starting line-up.

Ahead of his Premier League debut, Emery spoke to the press and we picked up three key takeaways from his comments.

Maitland-Niles in defence

Arsenal begin the season with a major issue in defence, as Sead Kolasinac will miss around ten weeks through injury and Nacho Monreal is not back to full fitness after returning from the World Cup with a knee problem.

(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

That means that young Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be thrown into the deep end due to his versatility, featuring on the left-side of a defence against the Premier League champions. Fortunately, he has experience in this position and Emery is confident he can impress.

“We want to give him confidence and the possibility to play. I’m not sure because I am going to decide tomorrow or on Sunday on the first 11, but Ainsley is the player who started the last match against Lazio.”

Ramsey update

Arsenal fans will have breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the transfer window closed yesterday, as it brought an end to speculation that Aaron Ramsey would be sold. However, it is far from the end of the saga concerning the Wales international.

(Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images for ICC)

With less than 12 months remaining on his contract, Arsenal are fearful that Ramsey could walk for nothing next summer and are working hard behind the scenes to secure the 27-year-old favourite to fresh terms. Unfortunately, Emery did not have a positive update to share.

“That’s not my work. For me it’s very important he stays with us. His experience here in Arsenal and the Premier League is very important and will give us all the information and performances in his quality. Then, the contract is for speaking with the club and the players.”

Three could still leave

The transfer window has come to a close in the Premier League but the European window remains open until the end of the month, while Football League sides also have until the end of August to negotiate loan deals.

(Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Emery named three players that could leave by the end of the month in David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell – with goalkeeper Ospina currently the closest to an exit as Besiktas try to complete a deal for the stopper.

Interestingly, Danny Welbeck was omitted from the list despite speculation that a number of sides were keen on his services and that suggests he could still have a part to play this season.

“Today, we had a meeting with the players to close all the possibilities to leave or come with more players. We only have three players: Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell, with the possibility to leave.”

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