Gary Neville has revealed why he would put money on Tottenham beating Arsenal to the final Champions League place, despite the Gunners still being in pole position after their north London derby mauling.
A victory for Mikel Arteta’s men on Thursday night would have sealed a top-four spot. However, poor decision-making and discipline ultimately cost them as Spurs ran out deserved 3-0 winners.
Cedric Soares’ ill-timed barge on Son Heung-Min in the area allowed Harry Kane to score from the spot. The striker then nodded home a second after Rob Holding was dismissed for two quick yellow cards.
Son completed the rout at the start of the second period as Tottenham cruised to a crucial win.
Spurs are now just a point behind the Gunners with two games remaining. And Neville knows who he’s backing for fourth place.
He told the Gary Neville Podcast: “After 1-0, this crowd were all over the place – it was mayhem after the first goal. At that point, Arsenal did wilt. They capitulated in that part of the game.
“Once you create that carnival atmosphere in a ground like this, and I think calling it a hostile and fierce atmosphere is fair, it was testing tonight. I always felt like this would be a special game because of what’s on it, why it was cancelled earlier in the season and then what’s at stake.
“You never want to create a cliff edge but Champions League football or no Champions League football for Arteta and Conte, for Tottenham and Arsenal from an economic point of view is just off the scale. It’s huge and the drop is so big. Then you’ve got the way the game was cancelled earlier in the season… It was all a little bit messy. They should have been made to play it, in my opinion.
Home support spooked Arsenal players
“So there was a little bit of needle coming into this game on three fronts… and it being a Thursday night game just adds to it. You don’t ordinally get that, they’ve usually been Sunday afternoon fixtures. It was red hot in here in terms of the atmosphere and it got to Arsenal and those young players. They looked mentally weaker in that period of the game from 10 minutes to 35 minutes. It just got to them. It can happen.
“You’d want Tottenham’s games – Burnley at home and Norwich away. Newcastle away [for Arsenal] on Monday Night Football, that’s going to be really tough, especially if Spurs have won on the Sunday… Everton at home on the last day, if Everton need points, then they’ve got two really tough games.
“I think Tottenham will beat Burnley and Arsenal will have to win their last two matches. But I’m not sure they will. 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.”