Tot­ten­ham derby win has Mour­inho eye­ing Europe

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Sta­dium By Ja­son Burt CHIEF FOOT­BALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Jose Mour­inho is tar­get­ing a third Europa League ca­reer ti­tle next sea­son af­ter Tot­ten­ham won the north Lon­don derby to over­take Arse­nal in the race for Euro­pean qual­i­fi­ca­tion. A late header by Toby Alder­weireld (right) earned Spurs a 2-1 vic­tory, which moved them up to eighth in the Pre­mier League.

Jose Mour­inho has al­ways rel­ished a home fix­ture against Arse­nal and how he de­lighted in again ex­pos­ing their soft un­der­belly yes­ter­day.

The Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur head coach will not care that his play­ers had just 37 per cent pos­ses­sion, or were dom­i­nated at times. “Three points” was the cap­tion Tot­ten­ham posted on their so­cial me­dia with a smil­ing Mour­inho, fist clenched, walk­ing to­wards his play­ers. And that said it all.

Af­ter some dispir­it­ing per­for­mances, this was an op­por­tune mo­ment for him to stall Arse­nal’s ap­par­ent mo­men­tum and op­ti­mism and sneer at the time de­voted to whether or not young pre­tender Mikel Arteta was a more ca­pa­ble man­ager than he is.

In­stead it is now 10 games with­out de­feat for Mour­inho at home against Arse­nal, with six wins and four draws. This vic­tory, in his first taste of this fix­ture, moved Spurs two points above their neigh­bours in the ta­ble.

That Spurs are eighth and Arse­nal are ninth does, of course, put it all into con­text, as does the na­ture of the goals which all re­sulted from glar­ing errors. In fact, it al­ways felt like the team that made the fewest mis­takes would end up win­ning. And so it proved.

While this was not quite a “dogs of war” performanc­e from Spurs, Mour­inho will also be pleased by the statis­tic that Lu­cas Moura, of all peo­ple, made 10 tack­les – a record in this matchup. Mour­inho had called for more bite and the Brazil­ian pro­vided it while the head coach will be pleased that, af­ter the sec­ond drinks break, his side pushed on with four strong ef­forts on goal as they took all the points.

There was no two ways about it, though, Arse­nal were un­done at the back and it now means they have lost 12 points from win­ning po­si­tions in the league this sea­son. They have gone to a three-man de­fence, with wing-backs, to try to shore things up and pro­tect David Luiz but it is ba­sic mis­takes, not for­ma­tion or tac­tics, which are their un­do­ing. Again.

Early in the sec­ond half, for ex­am­ple, Luiz played a sim­ple pass to Granit Xhaka who in­ex­pli­ca­bly swept it straight out of play.

Nev­er­the­less the lack of or­gan­i­sa­tion on show at Spurs’ win­ning goal was shock­ing.

Toby Alder­weireld was al­lowed to rise un­chal­lenged and meet a cor­ner to guide his header beyond goal­keeper Emil­iano Martinez. He will not have scored an eas­ier goal.

Be­fore this fix­ture Arteta had sug­gested that Shko­dran Mustafi, un­wanted by his pre­de­ces­sor, Unai Emery, might be of­fered a new con­tract.

He might re­vise his opin­ion af­ter this performanc­e in which the Ger­man was ill-dis­ci­plined and er­ratic. Harry Kane, feed­ing off scraps, still man­aged to con­stantly get the bet­ter of him.

At the same time, it is cu­ri­ous that Arteta spends so much time ca­jol­ing his for­wards – he con­tin­u­ally im­plored Alexan­dre La­cazette and Ni­co­las Pepe to work harder and close down the op­po­si­tion with shouts of “Allez Laca” and “Nico” – but sim­ply shakes his head when it comes to the de­fend­ing. He needs to sort it out and of all the ar­eas of his team that need re­con­struc­tion then it surely has to be there first.

It was even worse for Spurs’ equal­is­ing goal. La­cazette had put Arse­nal ahead with a su­perb strike, a fierce, op­por­tunis­tic shot that tore past Hugo Lloris from 25 yards, al­though that also re­sulted from a mis­take as Xhaka seized on Serge Aurier’s heavy touch. But Arse­nal could not even pre­serve their ad­van­tage for more than three min­utes as Sead Ko­lasinac played an aw­ful back-pass that wrong-footed Luiz with Son He­ung-min steal­ing in. It was not Luiz’s fault but the 33-year-old was slow to re­act with Son run­ning through to coolly lift his shot over Martinez.

Mustafi and Ko­lasinac are 28 and 27 re­spec­tively and should be in their prime. But the sim­ple truth is nei­ther is good enough and while Arteta is tak­ing tough de­ci­sions, such as bomb­ing out Mat­teo Guen­douzi and ig­nor­ing Me­sut Ozil, he has to ad­dress what is go­ing on in de­fence – which is some­thing that Arse­nal have failed to do un­der Emery and go­ing back to the sec­ond half of Arsene Wenger’s regime. Given Arteta was part of that, surely it is some­thing he has iden­ti­fied.

Both sides struck the wood­work with a thrilling, swerv­ing strike from 30 yards by Ben Davies in the first half that Martinez won­der­fully tipped on to the goal-frame, and then Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang’s ris­ing shot can­non­ing back of the bar af­ter the break.

Kane grew in in­flu­ence, mean­while, af­ter wast­ing an early chance when he tried to lift the ball over Martinez when faced by the goal­keeper but Aubameyang, in truth, re­mained mainly in the mar­gins out on the left.

In­stead it was a con­test for the likes of Harry Winks, Gio­vani Lo Celso, Dani Ce­bal­los and Xhaka in mid­field, al­though no one re­ally gained con­trol.

It looked like Arse­nal would hold on with Aubameyang, who later forced a smart save from Lloris at full stretch, and Pepe send­ing shots nar­rowly wide be­fore Spurs gath­ered them­selves with Kane clev­erly find­ing space and run­ning at Mustafi. It was from one ef­fort, as the striker tried to steer his shot around Martinez, that the cor­ner was won, and the match too, as Alder­weireld rose un­chal­lenged to head home.

Big fin­ish: Toby Alder­weireld jumps to head a late derby win­ner for Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur

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