LONDON: Harry Kane wrote his name on England’s team-sheet for the ongoing Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with his latest goals which inspired Tottenham to hit back and beat Arsenal 2-1 in the north London derby.
Mesut Ozil volleyed the Gunners ahead from close range early in the first half but Kane equaliser early in the second then headed the winning goal with four minutes remaining. Kane’s 22nd goal in all competitions this season earned Spurs their 50th league win over Arsenal in the 160th north London league derby.
Arsene Wenger’s 700th match in charge of Arsenal could have brought a win to lift them five points clear of Spurs in the Premier League. Instead it ended with Tottenham one point above their old rivals.
Per Mertesacker had a solid first half but both he and Ozil and all their team-mates faded steadily as Arsenal succumbed to the relentless pace which Spurs applied ever more intensely as the match ran on.
Wenger deflected criticism of his team by praising Kane who chose the perfect stage of his first north London derby to display his burgeoning talent with England manager Roy Hodgson in the crowd.
“When you have scored the number of goals he has scored,” said Wenger “if you don’t put him in the national team somebody else will give him a passport instead. The regret I have is that we gave him a cheap goal.
“It’s worrying that at the back, with five minutes to go, we are always making the same mistakes.”
Yes, he Can . . .
** Manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted with Emre Can’s performance on the right of Liverpool’s three-man back line against Everton. “He was like a Rolls-Royce,” said Rodgers after the 0-0 draw at Goodison. Steven Gerrard thus missed out on the victory he craved in his last Merseyside derby before he heads off to LA Galaxy.
** Branislav Ivanovic’s second goal in three games earned leaders Chelsea a 2-1 win at Aston Villa. Paul Lambert’s are only two points above the relegation zone. Eden Hazard scored after only eight minutes before Jores Okore ended Villa’s 11-hour wait for a goal. This was Mourinho’s first win at Villa in six visits.
** Southampton went third as Sadio Mane’s last-minute goal sealed a 1-0 win at QPR in the strugglers’ first match since Harry Redknapp quit. QPR have not won since December 20 and have lost their last four league games. Ex-Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood is favourite to be appointed manager after Tuesday’s visit to Sunderland.
** Crystal Palace’s revival under Alan Pardew continued as Joe Ledley’s goal earned a 1-0 win at bottom side Leicester, Palace’s fourth successive away win since Christmas.
** Jermain Defoe’s second goal in three games since his Premier return from Toronto and the MLS earned Sunderland a 1-1 draw at Swansea.
** The next Premier League TV package for 2016-19 will be announced this week. Competition between Sky and BT Sport is expected to lift the value by a further one-third to a record £4bn, the equivalent of £8m per match.