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Tottenham returned to the top of the Premier League table with a comfortable victory over arch-rivals Arsenal as Harry Kane became the north London derby’s highest goalscorer.



The deadly double act of Kane and Son Heung-min were at the heart of another impressive Spurs win and both were on the scoresheet as Spurs took control of the game by the interval.

Spurs fans were back inside their vast stadium for the first time in 277 days and were celebrating after only 13 minutes when Son took Kane’s pass, advancing on the retreating Arsenal defence before curling a magnificent right-foot finish beyond diving Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno from 25 yards.

Arsenal dominated possession in the first half but it was Spurs who had the ruthless, clinical edge as they caught the Gunners on the break in stoppage time, Son repaying the compliment by playing in Kane for an unstoppable finish off the underside of the crossbar for his 11th north London derby goal and the 250th of his career for clubs and country.

Mikel Arteta’s side, who lost Thomas Partey to injury right on half-time, showed a little more threat after the break but Spurs closed out the win with relative ease to return to the Premier League summit.

Tottenham have that title look

In a season which has already had many twists and turns, the consistency, clinical approach and relentless efficiency of Spurs under manager Jose Mourinho means they carry all the hallmarks of a side who will have a big say in the Premier League title race.

It would be hugely premature to suggest this is the Spurs team who will end the wait for a title that will stretch back 60 years by the end of this season, but Mourinho is a manager who knows how it is done, has been successful over the course and distance with Chelsea and is presiding over the development of a seriously impressive squad.

Spurs did a comprehensive job on Arsenal in the same manner as they overcame the likes of Manchester City here recently, showing a brilliance in front of goal backed up by the sort of mean-spirited defensive organisation that is the Mourinho trademark.

They have undoubted world class in attack, as Son and Kane proved once more, combining with each other to lethal effect as both creators and scorers. 

Once again there was no need for Mourinho to employ the services of Gareth Bale, who contented himself with regular warm-ups to the acclaim of 2,000 Spurs fans who were able to see him in person for the first time since his loan move from Real Madrid.

Spurs are bursting with confidence and that superb attack allied to a concrete-clad defence is a very potent combination, with summer signing Pierre-Emile Hjobjerg absolutely outstanding as the sentry between defence and attack.

Arsenal’s misery continues

Arsenal languish in 15th place in the Premier League after this north London derby defeat which exposed them as lacking in threat and currently well adrift of their fiercest adversaries.

The Gunners are 11 points adrift of Spurs and there was no evidence here to suggest this gap will be closing any time soon.

Arteta’s side had 62% possession in the first half but were caught out on the break twice by Son and Kane, surely a danger he had warned his players about in advance.

Arteta almost sprinted along the touchline in anxiety as Son advanced for Spurs’ first goal, showing more urgency than his defence as they stood off and allowed this world-class operator to deliver a superb finish.

Arsenal were slightly more of a threat after the break but Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris only needed to make two routine saves and one of Arteta’s biggest concerns will be the form of his biggest names.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was anonymous, as he has been most of the time since signing his new contract, while 32-year-old Willian, secured on a highly expensive deal from Chelsea in the summer, looked a spent force as he was easily outmuscled on many occasions.

It is early days for Arteta – and he has an FA Cup win as insurance – but this sixth defeat of the season demonstrated again the scale of his task and how far away Arsenal currently are from challenging at the top end of the table.

More records for Kane – the stats

  • Spurs have won consecutive Premier League north London derbies for just the third time, after December 1992 and May 1993, and April 2010 and November 2010. 
  • Mikel Arteta is just the second Arsenal manager to lose each of his first two north London derbies after Bertie Mee in 1966-67.
  • Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has taken charge of more home games in all competitions without defeat against Arsenal than he has versus any other side (11 – W7 D4).
  • Arsenal have earned just 13 points from 11 league games this season, their lowest return at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 1981-82 (12 points).
  • This was the 11th time a Mourinho side has had 35% possession or lower in a Premier League match, with the Tottenham manager winning nine of those matches (D1 L1).
  • Tottenham duo Son Heung-min and Harry Kane have now combined for 31 Premier League goals, the second most of any duo after Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard (36) – 11 of these goals have come in 2020-21.
  • Harry Kane scored his 250th goal in his senior career for club and country – 202 for current club Spurs, 32 for England, nine for Millwall, five for Leyton Orient and two for Leicester City.
  • Kane has now scored 11 goals in north London derbies, the most of any player in the fixture’s history, overtaking Emmanuel Adebayor and Bobby Smith.
  • Kane assisted his 10th Premier League goal of the season in just 11 games; no player has ever reached 10 assists in fewer appearances from the start of a campaign in the competition (level with Mesut Ozil in 2015-16).