Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen guide Spurs past North London rivals Arsenal
A superb header early in the second half from Harry Kane gave Spurs three points to take them into third place in the Premier League and seven points clear of their North London rivals Arsenal. After a cagey first half in which neither side created any clear-cut openings, the game opened up in the second 45 minutes when Spurs took the lead. Thereafter Tottenham dominated the game and had several clear chances to put the game to bed. With only a one-goal advantage the last 10 minutes were a tense affair, but Spurs held firm.
Victory in the North London derby is always sweet, but there was nothing lucky about this performance. Spurs were more dangerous on the break, more creative in midfield and the defence was so dominant that the Arsenal forward line were left to feed off scraps. Just as important as the morale boosting win, Spurs also go into Tuesday's Champions League tie against Juventus with no injury worries.
Not for the first time in recent weeks, Spurs were less than clinical in front of goal. Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Erik Lamela all had enough good chances to have given the home side a two- or three-goal advantage going into the last few minutes. A game that could have been a cruise was made a lot closer than it needed to be.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- It must have been a tough choice not to play Toby Alderweireld alongside Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the defence, but Davinson Sanchez rewarded Mauricio Pochettino's faith with one of his best displays of the season. Pochettino also used his substitutions wisely, bringing on Lamela for a tiring Son and shoring up the defensive midfield with the introduction of Victor Wanyama. By the end Arsenal were playing three men up front and still could not break down Pochettino's well-organised defence.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 7 -- Made one good save -- albeit one he would always expect to comfortably make -- midway through the second half but was otherwise not called upon. Was alert to Arsenal's attempts to play the through ball and his distribution was much improved.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- Took up some good attacking positions, particularly in the first half, but wasn't able to find the telling final ball. Strong in defence and allowed Arsenal little space down the left flank.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 8 -- A commanding figure alongside Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the defence. Strong in the air and timed his interceptions well. Has also cut out the needless fouls he was making earlier in the season.
DF Jan Vertonghen, 9 -- Spurs' man of the match. Tasked with marking Arsenal's much vaunted new signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he completely bossed the former Borussia Dortmund striker. Strong in the air, positionally alert and not afraid to break from defence, Vertonghen is back to his very best.
DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Delivered the inch-perfect cross from which Kane scored his winner, but generally played a deeper role than his opposite number Trippier. Tackled well and gave Arsenal few chances to get past him on the outside.
MF Eric Dier, 7 -- The better Spurs are playing, the less you recognise the work rate of Eric Dier, as his main role is to break down attacks and set up Spurs on the break. Unfussy on the ball and took up one or two promising positions in the Arsenal box.
MF Mousa Dembele, 8 -- Dominated the midfield. Even when surrounded by two or three opposition players he has the strength and skill to manoeuvre himself a few extra yards of space. The only think lacking from his game is the willingness to shoot.
MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Came close to doubling Spurs' lead with a well-taken free kick that Petr Cech did well to palm away. Otherwise put in a good shift without ever being quite as influential as he has been in recent games.
MF Dele Alli, 7 -- Still not at his very best, but no one can question his willingness to chase down seemingly lost causes. He also has the knack of ghosting into spaces that others can't see and will be disappointed not to have got on the scoresheet when he was clean through one on one with Cech.
MF Son Heung-min, 7 -- Started the game explosively and looked the player most likely to break down the Arsenal defence in a tight first half. Tired later on -- he was the one player to have featured in the starting lineup in Wednesday's FA Cup replay against Newport County -- and blazed the ball over the bar when he had time to steady himself and shoot.
FW Harry Kane, 8 -- The striker who can't stop scoring netted his seventh Premier league goal against Arsenal with a glorious header. Also had one fierce shot parried away, but will probably think he should have done better with two other headers.
MF Erik Lamela, 7 -- Looked busy in midfield and helped to frustrate Arsenal's attempts to build attacks late on. Had a golden opportunity to finish off the game late on, but pulled his shot wide.
MF Victor Wanyama, NR -- Brought on to keep things tight at the back as Arsenal pressed for an equaliser. Did his job comfortably.
John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.