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