Alder­weireld de­liv­ers late derby de­light for Tot­ten­ham

Spurs move above Ar­se­nal in the ta­ble af­ter de­fender heads home win­ner

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer - David Hyt­ner at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Sta­dium

Son 19, Alder­weireld 81

Tot­ten­ham

Ar­se­nal

La­cazette 16

José Mour­inho had said that he could not wait for the sea­son to fin­ish and, given the gloomy mood that shad­owed Tot­ten­ham into this derby and the state of the Premier League ta­ble, it was easy to see why. Yet there was a dose of un­ex­pected cheer at the ex­pense of their in-form neigh­bours when Spurs found a way to turn the tide of a sec­ond half that seemed to be slip­ping away from them.

The de­ci­sive blow was struck late on by Toby Alder­weireld, who rose to flick Son He­ung-min’s cor­ner into the roof of the net. De­fen­sively Ar­se­nal broke down – why was Kieran Tier­ney mark­ing Alder­weireld? – but Spurs had done enough.

It was not a vin­tage per­for­mance from them yet Mour­inho would not have cared. He needed this and what it meant was plain. At full-time the Spurs sub­sti­tute goal­keeper, Paulo Gaz­zaniga, ham­mered a ball high into the sky and there were big hugs from Mour­inho for his staff.

Ar­se­nal had led through Alexan­dre La­cazette – Son would find an im­me­di­ate ri­poste – and they con­trolled the game in the first half of the sec­ond pe­riod. It might have been dif­fer­ent if a Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang shot had been a lit­tle lower, rather than hit­ting the cross­bar. But Spurs found a way in the clos­ing stages to move above Ar­se­nal into eighth po­si­tion.

Mikel Arteta stuck with his 3-4-3 sys­tem, de­mand­ing in­ten­sity from his Ar­se­nal play­ers and ad­vanced start­ing po­si­tions, and they went ahead when they were able to win the ball high up – some­thing that the man­ager has de­manded.

Serge Aurier read a pass from Granit Xhaka for Aubameyang but his touch was heavy and set up a 50-50 with Xhaka, which the Ar­se­nal mid­fielder won, send­ing the ball spin­ning to­wards La­cazette. The striker took two touches be­fore un­furl­ing a ris­ing drive that fizzed past Hugo Lloris into the top cor­ner. It was a scorch­ing fin­ish.

Spurs were not be­hind for long and when they lev­elled, Mour­inho’s im­pas­sioned cel­e­bra­tions be­trayed an el­e­ment of vin­di­ca­tion. He had started with two strik­ers for the first time at Spurs – Son along­side Harry Kane – in order to give his team more pres­ence and threat in the fi­nal third.

Dread­ful back pass

It was Son who prof­ited from a dread­ful back pass by Sead Ko­lasinac, which had been in­tended for David Luiz but was off the mark. Son was onto it in a flash, hold­ing off Luiz and clip­ping a lovely fin­ish over Emil­iano Martínez.

Be­hind-closed-doors foot­ball is weird but this game was more weird than nor­mal. Derby day in these parts is nor­mally fren­zied and there were plenty of the usual on-pitch ac­cou­trements in the first half – off-the-ball digs, a high tempo, yel­low cards, thrills and spills. We were left merely to imag­ine how the crowd would have seethed.

Spurs might have taken an early lead. The big chance came

C Liver­pool Man City Chelsea Le­ices­ter Man Utd Wolves Sh­eff Utd Tot­ten­ham Ar­se­nal Burn­ley Ever­ton Southampto­n New­cas­tle Crys­tal Palace Brighton West Ham Wat­ford Bournemout­h As­ton Villa R Nor­wich

P W

D

L

F

APts af­ter Ni­co­las Pépé lost the ball cheaply and al­lowed Lu­cas Moura to run away from him. Lu­cas’s ball was dropped over David Luiz for Kane but Martínez used all of his 6ft 5in frame to stand tall and save the first-time lob.

Arteta’s team be­gan the sec­ond half on the front foot, mo­nop­o­lis­ing pos­ses­sion, prob­ing for open­ings and they fash­ioned a glo­ri­ous one when Pépé robbed Alder­weireld on the edge of the Spurs area and found La­cazette. Aubameyang peeled away into the area on the left, La­cazette found him and the Ar­se­nal cap­tain struck vi­ciously for goal. He was de­nied by the cross­bar.

Grand­stand fin­ish

Ar­se­nal took a more mea­sured ap­proach in the third quar­ter. Spurs stayed in their 4-4-2 shape but they dropped deeper, look­ing hap­pier to punch on the counter.

The lull pref­aced a grand­stand fin­ish from Spurs. Son went close af­ter Kane got the bet­ter of David Luiz and, af­ter Aubameyang had ex­tended Lloris, Kane was de­nied by the ad­vanc­ing Martínez. Spurs might even have em­bel­lished the fi­nal score­line only for Martínez to save from Kane and Son to shoot into Luiz. – Guardian

2

It is cor­rect to be­gin by hail­ing the vic­tors, par­tic­u­larly when they are as good as this. For any­one seek­ing a snap­shot of Wolves’ iden­tity un­der Nuno Espírito Santo, this match would be a fair case study. They had not been at their best in the pre­vi­ous week, look­ing slug­gish enough to sug­gest their top-six cre­den­tials were at se­vere risk, but af­ter a slow start they pulled clear and should have won by more.

Solid, me­thod­i­cal, supremely drilled and al­lowed to spark into life around the fi­nal third: the now-fa­mil­iar notes were all hit and there re­mains the hope that next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League will dance to their tune.

Wolves were helped, though, by an Ever­ton per­for­mance va­pid enough to be listed among the worst in this Premier League sea­son. You could ex­haust your range of pe­jo­ra­tives but a few will do: this was gut­less, list­less, drain­ingly pas­sive fare.

Carlo Ancelotti has worked with far bet­ter play­ers than these, many of whom will surely be shipped out if tak­ers and re­place­ments can be found, and will be best judged when he can en­list a few of his own. The nag­ging doubt is whether he can bring them to a level com­pa­ra­ble with the clar­ity Wolves ra­di­ated here, which seems a daunt­ing bench­mark.

“The tech­ni­cal as­pect was not good enough but the spirit of the team was un­ac­cept­able,” said Ancelotti, who was in no mood to of­fer ex­cuses. “We have to show in the last

0

lose Lu­cas Digne. A split-sec­ond later he was on the floor, Digne mak­ing enough con­tact with his trail­ing foot to con­cede a spot kick, and Raúl Jiménez dis­patched the gift.

Ever­ton were un­for­tu­nate when Yerry Mina de­parted through in­jury and it also felt cruel when the 18-year-old Jar­rad Bran­th­waite, in­tro­duced at half-time to com­pen­sate for that loss of height, in­stantly con­ceded a free-kick and let Le­an­der Den­don­cker run off him to head Wolves’ sec­ond.

But their fail­ure to muster the faintest hint of a come­back spoke louder than any of those woes. Diogo Jota, a sub­sti­tute along­side Traoré, lashed an ex­cel­lent third goal af­ter a mas­ter­ful 70-yard ball from Rúben Neves. Other open­ings came and went, to the dis­plea­sure of the re­li­ably dead­pan Nuno.

– Guardian

PHO­TO­GRAPH: JU­LIAN FIN­NEY/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

■ Tot­ten­ham’s Toby Alder­weireld heads the win­ning goal dur­ing the north Lon­don derby against Ar­se­nal at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Sta­dium.

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