Tottenham blew the Premier League top-four race wide open again as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min inspired a thumping 3-0 win over Arsenal.
The Gunners came into Thursday’s north London derby – one of the biggest in years – with daylight over their rivals. Indeed, boss Mikel Arteta made his pre-match message clear: win and Champions League football next season is Arsenal’s – not Tottenham’s.
But Arteta’s team relinquished all their hopes of finishing Spurs off in a chaotic first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. In fact, they themselves imploded.
Kane opened the scoring with a penalty and subsequently made it 2-0 after Rob Holding saw red for the visitors.
And Tottenham immediately suffocated any chance of a fightback within two minutes of the second half. Son moved to within a goal of the Premier League’s top scorer Mohamed Salah.
The result moved Antonio Conte’s side back to within a point of Arteta’s men with two games left for each.
The atmosphere was raucous from the off and that fed the players, with the battle between Son and Holding sparking into life when the pair clashed after 12 minutes.
Ben Davies and Tottenham manager Antonio Conte received the first two bookings. However, Holding’s yellow for a push and pull on Son was a sign of things to come.
Nevertheless, it was in fact Cedric Soares who found himself in trouble first of all. Son got his head up to meet Dejan Kulusevski’s inviting cross, but Cedric pushed him and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the penalty spot.
England captain Kane made no mistake to put the hosts in front and put Arsenal on the back foot.
However, things only got worse for the Gunners from there. Holding received his first yellow after 26 minutes and his second seven minutes later, butting Son in the face in the battle to meet Eric Dier’s long ball.
Spurs subsequently smelled blood and Kane made it 2-0 by nodding in Rodrigo Bentancur’s flick-on from a corner at the back post – where Arsenal were a man light.
Tottenham punish Arsenal again
Arsenal knew they needed the first goal of the second half to have any chance of getting back into it.
However, Son made sure Tottenham got all three points. The South Korean was the calmest man in the place as he finished his 21st league goal of the season coolly after something of a goalmouth scramble.
From here, it was all about control for Tottenham – but even then they still cut Arsenal open more.
Emerson Royal had a powerful header well saved by Aaron Ramsdale. The Arsenal stopper then had an easier job to stop hat-trick-seeking Kane from long range.
At the other end, Hugo Lloris kept it at 3-0 with an impressive low save from Martin Odegaard from close range.
And that was all Arsenal could muster as they were left to ponder how they would regroup ahead of what has again become a thrilling top-four race.
They also have fresh selection concerns. While Holding is suspended for one match, fellow defender Gabriel Magalhaes came off injured in the second half.
Arsenal are now only a point ahead of Tottenham, with Newcastle away and Burnley at home their respective next fixtures.