Otro patinazo de Odegaard

“El Madrid nos estafó con él, es un jugador estrella de 5 millones… para el Rayo Vallecano”, fue uno de los comentarios furiosos de los hinchas del Arsenal en relación a Martin Odegaard después de la derrota ante el Newcastle que deja al Arsenal prácticamente fuera de la próxima Champions. A pesar de contar con una ventaja amplia sobre el Tottenham, en el tramo final la fueron dilapidando y ahora dependen de un milagro para poder recuperar el cuarto puesto que durante tanto tiempo fue suyo.

Las seis derrotas en los últimos once encuentros han tenido a Odegaard como denominador común. El noruego, brillante durante mucha parte de la temporada, en la que ha logrado seis goles y cuatro asistencias -sus mejores cifras de siempre-, desapareció por completo en los momentos decisivos. No se le vio ante el Tottenham el día en el que el Arsenal podría sentenciar su billete a la Champions y tampoco ante el Newcastle en el duelo que sepulta casi por completo sus aspiraciones.

En los últimos diez encuentros de la temporada marcó solo un gol, ante el Brighton, y dio una asistencia, frente al Chelsea. Su participación, en general, fue escasa. Especialmente pobre fue su rendimiento en duelos ante equipos de la zona media-baja, precisamente aquellos contra los que de verdad se fueron las opciones de Champions del Arsenal: Newcastle, Southampton, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace…

Según datos de Olocip, en los últimos partidos el noruego ha penalizado al Arsenal con sus acciones ofensivas. En el partido ante el Newcastle fue el peor ofensivamente del Arsenal (-0,16) y en el del Tottenhan también (-0,11), empatado con Saka. En el del Leeds, el penúltimo (-0,31), solo empeorado por Martinelli (-0,48)

De esta manera, lo que parecía un año de crecimiento de Odegaard a sus 23 años puede derivar en una nueva temporada con un final tibio. Estaba llamado a liderar el asalto ‘gunner’ a la Champions, pero seguramente deberá conformarse con la Europa League. El ex del Madrid no termina de quitarse de encima una irregularidad que también le ha pasado factura en el cierre de esta temporada.

Xhaka rechnet ab: “Wenn jemand mit dem Druck nicht umgehen kann …”

Nach der 0:2-Niederlage in Newcastle steht der FC Arsenal vor der sechsten Spielzeit ohne Champions-League-Fußball. Der Auftritt bei den Magpies wirft erneut Fragen auf.

Nach der Niederlage in Newcastle bedient: Arsenals Granit Xhaka.

Nach der Niederlage in Newcastle bedient: Arsenals Granit Xhaka.

IMAGO/Pro Sports Images

Nach dem 2:1-Erfolg gegen Leeds am 36. Spieltag sah es noch so aus, als ob der FC Arsenal seine Sehnsucht nach der Champions League stillen könnte und nach fünf Spielzeiten Abstinenz endlich wieder in die Königsklasse zurückkehren würde. Vier Punkte Vorsprung hatten die Gunners auf den Rivalen aus Nordlondon, Tottenham Hotspur.

Es folgte das direkte Duell, in dem sich die Spurs, die zuvor in acht Spielen nur einmal verloren hatten, relativ mühelos mit 3:0 durchsetzten. An diesem Wochenende legte Tottenham einen Sieg gegen Burnley nach (1:0) und zog an Arsenal vorbei, das am Montagabend in Newcastle zum Nachziehen gezwungen war.

Newcastle “hundertmal besser als wir”

Der Druck war groß für die Gunners, letztlich zu groß – auch gegen die befreit aufspielenden Magpies machte Arsenal keinen Stich. “Ich kann einfach nicht glauben, wie wir heute aufgetreten sind. Wir haben alle Zweikämpfe und zweiten Bälle verloren”, versuchte Bukayo Saka nach der hochverdienten 0:2-Niederlage irgendwie die richtigen Worte zu finden. Zu erklären war der Auftritt in Newcastle nicht wirklich, laut Trainer Mikel Arteta waren die Magpies “hundertmal besser als wir”.

Der Spanier tat sich laut eigener Aussage sehr schwer, sich vor seine Mannschaft zu stellen, sie in Schutz zu nehmen. Granit Xhaka nahm derweil nach der Partie kein Blatt vor den Mund: “Wenn jemand mit dem Druck nicht umgehen kann, soll er zuhause bleiben”, so der Schweizer, der noch nachlegte. “Wenn man so auftritt wie wir heute, verdient man es nicht, Champions League spielen.”

Tottenham muss stolpern

Und das wird Arsenal in der kommenden Saison aller Voraussicht nach auch nicht. Tottenham hat bei einem übrigen Spiel zwei Punkte Vorsprung, dazu ein um 15 Treffer besseres Torverhältnis und muss daher am letzten Spieltag nur einen Punkt bei Norwich City holen – die Canaries sind bereits seit Wochen abgestiegen. Die Gunners haben derweil Everton zu Gast, das den Klassenerhalt zur Stunde noch nicht gesichert hat.

“Wir haben es zweimal verpasst, uns in eine gute Ausgangslage zu bringen”, trauerte Saka den vergangenen Spielen nach, während Xhaka zugab, dass man doch noch nicht so weit sei, wie manch einer gedacht hatte. An den letzten Strohhalm klammern sich die Gunners dennoch, rechnerisch sei laut Saka noch alles möglich. “Am Sonntag werden wir bereit sein und hoffentlich laufen die Dinge in unsere Richtung. Das ist alles, was wir jetzt noch tun können.”

Salah, De Bruyne, Son and Saka on shortlist for Premier League Player of the Season award

Mohamed Salah, Kevin de Bruyne and Heung-min Son feature on a shortlist of eight who have been nominated for the Premier League Player of the Season award.

The EA Sports-backed award will be voted for by fans, along with the captains of the 20 Premier League teams and a panel of experts to select the winner.

Salah is currently leading the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot, and his superb season with Liverpool earned him a place on the list.

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The Egyptian has been joined on the list by his fellow Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has been a shining light down the right flank for the Reds. He has played a part in 14 goals, two of his own and 12 assists.

De Bruyne won the award in the 2019/20 campaign and he is in the mix again. His four goals in Manchester City’s win over Wolves earlier in the week would have caught the eye of many.

Joao Cancelo is a second player from City on the list, with his work-rate for the team winning him many admirers.

‘The most difficult service in tennis is the one you have to be champion’ – Guardiola

Away from the big two, Tottenham star Son has found his way onto the list. He is in the hunt for the Golden Boot and will look to overhaul Salah in the final two games of the season.

Bukayo Saka is the youngest player on the list at the age of 20. He has bounced back superbly from European Championship heartache with England to spearhead Arsenal’s push for Champions League qualification.

Jarrod Bowen has been a starring figure for West Ham, achieving a notable milestone of double figures for goals and assists.

Southampton are the lowest team in the Premier League with a representative. James Ward-Prowse has impressed from midfield for Saints, with his free-kick prowess catching the eye.

There’s no Manchester United player on the list, which is an indication of the kind of season the Red Devils have had, with Cristiano Ronaldo missing out despite twice being named Premier League Player of the Month.

Voting for fans closes on May 16.

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‘If I had to put money on it’ – Neville backs Spurs to beat Arsenal to fourth

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'If I had to put money on it' – Neville backs Spurs to beat Arsenal to fourth

Momentum has shifted in Tottenham’s favour following their north London derby win over Arsenal, and Gary Neville has backed Spurs to beat the Gunners to fourth place in the Premier League.

A win for Arsenal on Thursday evening would have shut the door on Spurs’ hopes, but Mikel Arteta’s men shot themselves in the foot in a 3-0 loss.

Cedric Soares conceded an early penalty for a rash challenge on Heung-min Son, which was scored by Harry Kane, and Rob Holding picked up two cards in quick succession before half-time.

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It all combined to see Spurs secure a comfortable win and move within a point of Arsenal with two games remaining in the season.

Arsenal face Newcastle away and Everton at home in their final two games, while Spurs take on Burnley at home and Norwich away.

Spurs have a vastly superior goal difference, which is another thing in their favour, but Arsenal have their destiny in their own hands.

‘Derby was destroyed’ – Arteta upset with referee after Arsenal defeat to Tottenham

Despite that, Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast that he would put money on Spurs securing fourth place.

“I think Tottenham will beat Burnley and Arsenal will have to win their last two matches – but I’m not sure they will,” Neville said. “Tonight was a really big blow – I might be wrong and I’m neutral between these two clubs – but I do feel now if I had to put money on it, it would be on Tottenham.”

Neville was critical of Holding on commentary, and did not change his stance a few hours after the event.

“The big determining factor was the red card for Holding, but it did take away from the game a little bit,” Neville said. “It’s disappointing in some ways because it would have been great to see Arsenal with 11 men, trying to come back from 2-0 down at half-time, or even 1-0 down.

“It took away from the game a little bit, slowed it down because the first 20 or 25 minutes was really intriguing and had a lot about it. It was quite frantic and fast at times.

“I was watching the run of Son [before the red card], I always watch those inside runs of the strikers to see what’s coming, particularly when there’s a ball there… I think if he leans, then he’s OK and he doesn’t get booked. But I think there’s a little bit of elbow in it and the VAR replays we saw straight away just confirmed that.

“It was absolute madness from Holding, it really was, and I do put that down to Son. Sometimes when you’re playing against a world-class player and you’ve got yourself in that state of ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got mark him’, you’ve probably watched too many videos of him. You watched him play last week against Liverpool and you’re thinking about how to deal with him.”

Neville also felt Cedric made a major error in his challenge on Son for the penalty.

“I’ve given penalties away, I’ve been sent off, I’ve done what Holding’s done two or three times in my career,” Neville said. “But what Cedric did, I used to do pretty well, which is, as the ball’s arriving, he can’t make the contact with the man that you’re blocking before the ball arrives.

“He can do it after, but then it’s a waste of time because the ball has gone past you, but it’s that timing of when you bump the striker so it looks like you’re trying to play the ball at the same time. He got it really badly wrong, his timing. He did it too early, it was too obvious.

“It’s rash, it’s a lack of composure and a bit of a panic.”

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FRIDAY’S BIG STORIES

Played

For Arsenal, the only consolation is that it could have gone worse. Bukayo Saka could have retired at half-time and gone to live out his days on a small island somewhere in the south Atlantic. Granit Xhaka could have been arrested mid-game for fraud. Or Rob Holding could have been sent off a couple of minutes before he was actually sent off. Lucky escape, really. Don’t know what Mikel Arteta’s complaining about.

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The north London derby is only partly a football game. It is mostly a trembling contest of will and nerve, as the Premier League’s two most existentially vulnerable big sides stare into each other’s eyes and see there, reflected back, the deep uncertainty within themselves. Somebody always does something daft. The trick is to make sure the other lot crack first.

And that, more or less, is what Tottenham did. Put the pressure on, poke at the weak spots in Arsenal’s defence, wait for the silly decisions to follow. Look, there’s Rob Holding pulling Son Heung-min to the floor. Look, there’s Cedric charging through his own penalty area and into Son’s back. Look, there’s Holding blocking Son’s run. Whistle, whistle, whistle. Yellow, penalty, yellow and red.

Asked about the refereeing after the game, Arteta reinvented the classic “If I speak I am in big trouble”, announcing that “If I say what I think I am suspended for six months”. And you can understand his frustration. None of the decisions were wrong, as such, but all existed in that squidgy zone of refereeing discretion. Is this a let-things-go day, or a whistle-for-everything day? Ah. The latter. “A beautiful game was destroyed,” continued Arteta, rather overlooking the fact that, for the neutrals, this was exactly what everybody had tuned in to see.

Reading the referee is a skill. So is playing the referee. Tottenham, collectively, were much better at the former, and Son might be the Premier League’s finest artist of the latter. Everything that happens to him, happens to the referee as well; it’s not so much theatrics as it is a constant checking-in. Felt that one. Felt that one too. Oooh, that stung. You getting all this, ref? Ouch, ouch, ouch.

This is not a criticism. It’s high praise. In theory, football is a game about manipulating space and the ball; in practice, before any of that starts to matter, it’s a game of manipulating people. Opponents, officials, and ultimately oneself. A big occasion, a fussy ref, a yammering crowd: these are weapons to be utilised or neutralised. Tottenham gave Arsenal the chance to make fools of themselves and Arsenal blundered in, all clown shoes and squirty flowers.

Perhaps the other consolation for Arteta, and Arsenal’s hierarchy, is that little of what last night exposed about their set-up was new or unexpected. Everybody already knew that they were running a thin squad; everybody already knew that Cedric is a liability, that Holding is a vulnerability, and so an injury here or there could make things very awkward indeed. No summer plans will need revising. The weak points are the weak points, and they were the weak points in January.

‘Stop complaining!’ – Conte blunt with Arteta after Tottenham beat Arsenal

That Race For Fourth Then

You know, perhaps we expect too much of the teams scrapping for fourth place. After all, if Arsenal had a deep and well-balanced squad, with the ability to cover for injury and disciplinary crises, then they’d probably have more points and none of this would matter. And if Tottenham weren’t the kind of team to randomly lose to Burnley for no good reason, they wouldn’t be concerned about randomly losing to Burnley for no good reason.

At the beginning of the campaign, if you’d offered Arteta two games against 14th and 16th to seal Champions League football he’d have shaken you by the hand. If you’d then added: “Oh, but one of them’s away at Newcastle and they’ve been bought by Saudi Arabia and are quite good now, and also all of your central defenders are injured or suspended,” he might have started to ask questions. Like, “Who are you? Are you from the future? How do you know all this?” And then, “Where’s security?”

Presumably, Arteta has some strategy in mind to keep his squad focused and to keep the fear at bay. But every Arsenal fan in the country will be spending the next few days dreaming, and they will not be easy dreams. Joelinton striding through midfield. Granit Xhaka back-pedalling. Chris Wood rising. Shelvey arriving… wake up! Wake up! It’s only Friday morning!

So Tottenham have the easier job, right? Not just in terms of opposition – 17th and 20th, although with the caveat that Burnley may still need something – but in terms of the whole sense of how things have to go. Easier to chase than be chased; simpler to look forward than over your shoulder. Right?

It all depends. Which is stronger, footballing common sense or the magical narrative power of the Barclays? Arsenal the sensible, decent, broadly competent football team need just two fairly routine wins. Arsenal the exploding headache need to avoid a total meltdown in the face of their own inadequacies. Which will we get on Monday? Your guess is as good as Arteta’s.

Philippe, Continue

At 7.13 pm yesterday, Aston Villa announced the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho for an “undisclosed fee”. Four minutes later, Barcelona announced the same transfer, but happily fessed up to receiving a mere €20m in exchange. All that careful negotiation, and they forgot to be mysterious.

This is part of the Steven Gerrard effect: a sprinkling of elite charm that makes Villa stand out among the Premier League’s mid-table. It’s no disrespect to Dean Smith to note that this move probably doesn’t happen if he’s still in charge. It’s also no guarantee that this will work, for any given value of work. But it’s pretty exciting either way, and that’s what having a big name earns you. The right to be exciting when you spend your money.

And this brings a formal end to the story of Coutinho at Barcelona, a wildly expensive lesson in how not to run a football club. They probably didn’t need him, and they certainly didn’t need to spend as much as they did on him. And they really didn’t need him to head out on loan to Bayern Munich, then come on for the last rites of that 8-2 humiliation. We need the most obvious metaphor for a totally out-of-control club that doesn’t know what it’s doing. No, that’s too obvious.

RETRO CORNER

Luton Town begin their play-offs campaign tonight, which is all the excuse we need to pop this in here. 39 years ago today (er, tomorrow), Raddy Antic scored a really quite well-taken goal in the 86th minute to send Manchester City down and keep Luton in Division One. And off went David Pleat, a-skipping and a-hopping and a-shuffling across the Maine Road pitch.

HAT TIP

Enjoyed this Guardian piece from Emma Kemp, a look back at the life and wild predictions of Celtic’s newest title-winning manager, Ange Postecoglou. It turns out the key to being a successful manager is just to predict that you can win everything, in whatever context: mostly it comes true!

This is, after all, a man that has predicted on more than one occasion that Australia can win the World Cup. “To the neutral the sentiment appears mulish,” writes Kemp. “To Australians who watched their national team squeak into the Russia 2018 finals via the playoffs (don’t mention three at the back) it is infuriating. But it is also somehow pleasing in its consistency. Wherever he goes, with whatever team, the unrelenting blueprint remains.”

COMING UP

As noted, the Championship play-offs begin this evening. They play 46 games just to set all this up, just to break tens of thousands of hearts in a slightly more elaborate way than usual. What a sport this is. It’s Luton against Huddersfield at Kenilworth Road.

Have a good weekend everybody. Tom Adams will be here on Monday to bring you all the build-up to Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal (Shelvey 87′).

Premier League

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Premier League

Conte urges Arteta to ‘stop complaining’ after Spurs beat Arsenal to open up top-four race

A DAY AGO

Conte urges Arteta to 'stop complaining' after Spurs beat Arsenal to open up top-four race

Antonio Conte has told his Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta to stop complaining, following Tottenham’s 3-0 win over the Gunners.

Arsenal had the chance to guarantee their place in the top four with a win in the north London derby, but they capitulated and fell to a 3-0 defeat.

Arteta was extremely upset during and after the game, as he felt a number of decisions went against his side.

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Cedric Soares conceded a penalty for a foul on Heung-min Son, while Rob Holding was sent off after picking up two cards in a seven-minute spell.

After the game, Arteta said: “If I say what I think, I am suspended for six months so I cannot say it.

“I’m allowed to give my interpretation of what happened in the game, but I don’t know how to lie and I don’t like lying, so I prefer not to say what I think.

“The referee needs to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”

Conte was aware of Arteta’s comments and said: “I (hear) him complain a lot.

“Yeah. I think that, he has to be focused more, (on) his team, and not to complain and to… because he has just started this work (his managerial career), and I think that, he has to (be) calm and to try to continue to work, because he is very good.

“But to (hear) a coach complain a lot of the time is not good.”

Conte praised the Spurs fans for creating an incredible atmosphere following a 3-0 north London derby win over Arsenal.

‘Derby was destroyed’ – Arteta upset with referee after Arsenal defeat to Tottenham

Harry Kane’s brace and a goal from Son proved to be the difference to deny the Gunners from guaranteeing fourth place.

“For sure a good result. The most important thing was to get three points. This way we continue to stay in the race for a place in the Champions League,” he told BBC Sport.

“Tonight was very difficult because when you must win it is never easy. I know the pressure that is on the shoulders of the players and on my shoulders. To play in this way with this intensity and this passion makes me very happy.

“I have to thank my players and the fans because the atmosphere was amazing. They pushed us from the start until the end. Now I ask our fans to do the same on Sunday because we have another must-win game against Burnley. We are playing against a team trying to avoid relegation.”

Kane changed his usual penalty side by slotting his spot kick to the left of Aaron Ramsdale to get Spurs off to a perfect start against the Gunners.

“I haven’t been that side for a while,” he told Sky Sports.

“Obviously my regular side is to the left, but I’ve been practising them in training all week and I like to go where I’m feeling good and I just thought that was the better side today.

“I’ve taken a few against Aaron for England in training, so I thought he was going to go the way he did and thankfully I was able to put it away.

“We’re delighted to get the win, whenever you win in the derby it’s always nice. There are two games to go and we need to focus on them now. It’s a quick turnaround, but it was a very special night here.”

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‘A beautiful game was destroyed’ – Arteta fuming after Arsenal defeat to Tottenham

Mikel Arteta was left fuming after a bruising north London derby, as Harry Kane’s penalty and Rob Holding’s sending off proved to be decisive in Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Tottenham.

Defender Cedric was penalised for a push on Son Heung-Min for the Spurs opener, while Holding was shown a second yellow card for barging the South Korean to the ground.

“If I say what I think, I am suspended for six months so I cannot say it,” he told Sky Sports.

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“I’m allowed to give my interpretation of what happened in the game, but I don’t know how to lie and I don’t like lying, so I prefer not to say what I think.

“The referee needs to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”

Arsenal’s focus is now on next Monday’s match away at Newcastle, with the Gunners still in fourth and a point above Spurs despite this result.

‘Stop complaining!’ – Conte blunt with Arteta after Tottenham beat Arsenal

Arteta hopes to have Gabriel fit for selection after being withdrawn from the pitch, and that Ben White can start the game after being an unused substitute tonight.

“To take that risk in the situation the game was in didn’t make any sense [to bring White on after the sending off].

“He [Gabriel] felt something, so hopefully Ben will be fit and Gaby will recover because we don’t have enough players at the back.

“This game is now history and I just said that in the dressing room. We know it was taken out of our hands, now we have to accept it and now go to Newcastle.”

Premier League

‘If I had to put money on it’ – Neville backs Spurs to beat Arsenal to fourth

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Tottenham close in on Arsenal in top four chase with thumping derby win

Harry Kane struck a double as Tottenham reignited the battle to finish in the top four with a convincing 3-0 victory at home to 10-man Arsenal.

The England striker coolly converted a spot kick awarded for Cedric Soares’ foul on Son Heung-Min to put the hosts in front on 22 minutes.

The Gunners’ evening then took a further turn for the worse when Rob Holding was given his marching orders for a second yellow card following another foul on Son just past the half hour.

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Kane took full advantage of Arsenal’s disarray when he boosted his tally in North London derbies to 13 goals overall, tucking in a flick-on from a right-wing corner on 37 minutes.

Spurs were in complete control and they made sure it would be a long second period for their rivals when Son netted within a minute of the restart to claim his 21st league goal of the campaign.

The result means fifth-placed Spurs move to within a point of Arsenal in fourth spot, with just two matches to play.

Next up, Spurs host Burnley on Sunday while Arsenal visit Newcastle on Monday.

‘Derby was destroyed’ – Arteta upset with referee after Arsenal defeat to Tottenham

Talking Point

Advantage Spurs? If there was a worst-case scenario for Mikel Arteta this was it. A resounding defeat with defensive deficiencies exposed and issues over personnel to consider with Holding set for a suspension and Gabriel appearing to limp off injured.

Fourth place remains in the Gunners’ hands, but it’s likely to now go to the wire. Spurs meet Burnley next and could be ahead of Arsenal prior to their clash at Newcastle. Arteta’s side then finish with battling Everton at home while Spurs are at rock-bottom Norwich.

The fixtures, the momentum and the goal difference appear to favour Spurs, but Arteta’s young guns have bounced back plenty of times already this season and will need to show real character from here if they to achieve their target.

Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 3-0 during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 12, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson)

Image credit: Getty Images

Man of the match

Son Heung-Min (Tottenham). Kane will get the headlines for his brace but Son was the player Arsenal simply could not handle. Holding’s red card is testament to that as he capped another live-wire showing with a goal that moves him to within one of Mo Salah in the race to be the Premier League’s top marksman.

Player Ratings

SPURS: Lloris 7, Emerson Royal 8, Sanchez 8, Dier 8, Davies 8, Hojbjerg 8, Bentancur 8, Sessegnon 8, Kulusevski 8, Son 9, Kane 9. Subs: Bergwijn 6, Moura 6, Rodon n/a.

ARSENAL: Ramsdale 7, Tomiyasu 6, Holding 4, Gabriel 6, Cedric 5, Xhaka 6, Elneny 6, Saka 6, Odegaard 6, Martinelli 5, Nketiah 6. Subs: Smith Rowe 6, Lacazette 6, Tavares 6.

Matchcast: Full match stats and commentary

Key moments

22’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal. Kane sends Ramsdale the wrong way with a clinical low spot kick into the corner.

33’ – ARSENAL RED CARD! Holding is shown a second yellow card for blocking Son’s run. The referee has no option. That’s so rash from the Gunners man.

37’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal. Kane stoops in at the far post to nod home from close range after Arsenal had failed to deal with a flick-on from a right-wing corner.

47’ – GOAL! – Tottenham 3-0 Arsenal. Son gets in on the act as he calmly tucks a first-time shot into the corner after Kane had caused havoc inside the area.

59’ – TOTTENHAM CHANCE! Emerson almost steals in for a fourth but Ramsdale pulls off a fine stop to keep out his header following a brilliant cross from Kane.

Key Stats

Arsenal have had 13 players sent off in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta’s first game in charge, which is five more than any other side during this time frame

Rob Holding’s dismissal after 33 minutes is the earliest in a North London derby in the Premier League since November 2012, when Emmanuel Adebayor was sent off for Spurs in the 18th minute.

Spurs have won three consecutive home league games against Arsenal for the first time since August 1961, while this is their biggest league win against the Gunners since April 1983 (5-0).

Son Heung-min has scored 21 non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season, with only Harry Kane ever netting more goals, excluding penalties, in a single season in the competition for Spurs (28 in 2017-18 and 24 in 2016-17).

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Arsenal ready for Tielemans bargain transfer this summer – Paper Round

Tielemans ready for Arsenal move

Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is keen on a move to Arsenal, or another club with Champions League football next season. The Daily Mail reports that the 25-year-old Belgian international is preparing to move on as his contract is a year from expiring, meaning he can negotiate a free transfer from January next year. Arsenal are keen to strike a bargain deal for him now.

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Paper Round’s view: Tielemans has not been at his best this season, but neither have Leicester City. If Arsenal – or any other suitor – can get hold of him for a reasonable price and without going overboard on wages then they have a potentially brilliant player for less than he would normally cost. The need for Champions League football will focus Arteta’s mind.

Read the full story

Mbappe visits Madrid

Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Kylian Mbappe sparked speculation after he visited Madrid earlier in the week. The 23-year-old French international forward visited the Spanish capital – and the home of Real Madrid, who are keen on signing the player this summer on a free contract – and he avoided meeting the president of Paris Saint-Germain, who was in town at the same time.

Paper Round’s view: It looks almost inevitable that Mbappe will join Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer, though rumours rumble on of PSG putting together an enormous financial package to persuade him to stay on for a year or two longer. Mbappe holds all the cards and if he is visiting the city even before his move away, his current club should be worried.

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Pepe in, Pepe out at Arsenal

The Mirror claims that Arsenal are considering a bid for Porto’s 25-year-old Brazilian winger Pepe, with various suggestions that he has a release clause of between 50 and 60 million euros. He would be brought in as a replacement for Arsenal’s own Pepe, Nicolas, who has failed to impress since his £72 million move from Lille, and who could be sold for just £25m this summer.

Paper Round’s view: While there is no indication that Arsenal’s Pepe has been anything other than a professional, he has not been able to get much joy at the English club and the time has come for him to move on and try somewhere new. As for Porto’s Pepe, at 25 he needs to move on to a big club and a bigger platform before he becomes too old to be considered.

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Rudiger’s huge release clause

The Sun reports on the huge deal that has seen Antonio Rudiger apparently commit to joining Real Madrid this summer. The 29-year-old German international will sign until 2026, and earn £400,000-a-week wages to do so. Beyond that, the player will also have a release clause worth £340m, which will essentially rule him out of a sale on anything but Real’s terms.

Paper Round’s view: Rudiger has improved rapidly over the last couple of years and if he is taking care of his fitness and health, then he should be able to perform at the highest level for a few years yet. But clubs are often burned when they shell out for players who are approaching 30, and if he starts to fall off then Real will be lumbered with a massive liability.

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Tielemans ready for Arsenal move

Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is keen on a move to Arsenal, or another club with Champions League football next season. The Daily Mail reports that the 25-year-old Belgian international is preparing to move on as his contract is a year from expiring, meaning he can negotiate a free transfer from January next year. Arsenal are keen to strike a bargain deal for him now.

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Paper Round’s view: Tielemans has not been at his best this season, but neither have Leicester City. If Arsenal – or any other suitor – can get hold of him for a reasonable price and without going overboard on wages then they have a potentially brilliant player for less than he would normally cost. The need for Champions League football will focus Arteta’s mind.

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Mbappe visits Madrid

Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Kylian Mbappe sparked speculation after he visited Madrid earlier in the week. The 23-year-old French international forward visited the Spanish capital – and the home of Real Madrid, who are keen on signing the player this summer on a free contract – and he avoided meeting the president of Paris Saint-Germain, who was in town at the same time.

Paper Round’s view: It looks almost inevitable that Mbappe will join Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer, though rumours rumble on of PSG putting together an enormous financial package to persuade him to stay on for a year or two longer. Mbappe holds all the cards and if he is visiting the city even before his move away, his current club should be worried.

Read the full story

Pepe in, Pepe out at Arsenal

The Mirror claims that Arsenal are considering a bid for Porto’s 25-year-old Brazilian winger Pepe, with various suggestions that he has a release clause of between 50 and 60 million euros. He would be brought in as a replacement for Arsenal’s own Pepe, Nicolas, who has failed to impress since his £72 million move from Lille, and who could be sold for just £25m this summer.

Paper Round’s view: While there is no indication that Arsenal’s Pepe has been anything other than a professional, he has not been able to get much joy at the English club and the time has come for him to move on and try somewhere new. As for Porto’s Pepe, at 25 he needs to move on to a big club and a bigger platform before he becomes too old to be considered.

Read the full story

Rudiger’s huge release clause

The Sun reports on the huge deal that has seen Antonio Rudiger apparently commit to joining Real Madrid this summer. The 29-year-old German international will sign until 2026, and earn £400,000-a-week wages to do so. Beyond that, the player will also have a release clause worth £340m, which will essentially rule him out of a sale on anything but Real’s terms.

Paper Round’s view: Rudiger has improved rapidly over the last couple of years and if he is taking care of his fitness and health, then he should be able to perform at the highest level for a few years yet. But clubs are often burned when they shell out for players who are approaching 30, and if he starts to fall off then Real will be lumbered with a massive liability.

Read the full story

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