Tottenham vs. Arsenal: Gunner’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League are still in doubt. Spurs season isn’t quite gone yet, either.
Spurs beat 10-man Arsenal 3-0 at home on Thursday to close to within a point of fourth-placed Arsenal with two games remaining in the Premier League season.
Arsenal would have qualified for the Champions League with a win, but a lack of composure when it mattered most, along with Tottenham’s shrewd and effective blueprint, saw Spurs dominate from start to finish. Tottenham scored all of their goals before the half-hour mark.
The score could have been considerably worse for Arsenal if it hadn’t been for Aaron Ramsdale’s heroics in goal. The Gunners had been the hottest team in England after four straight triumphs, but Tottenham were at their best on this night, scoring twice through Harry Kane and once through Heung-min Son.
A look at the numbers
Tottenham dominated in every basic measure from start to end, outshooting Arsenal 16-8 with a 2.90 xG. However, things changed dramatically in terms of possession when Rob Holding was sent off in the 32nd minute. Spurs dominated possession and took 13 of Arsenal’s 16 shots in the last hour, running circles around them.
Five of those were on target, which could have been even worse if Aaron Ramsdale had not made three saves despite facing six shots on target.
When it mattered most, Arsenal lacked poise
For an Arsenal team that has been composed recently, it was bonehead mistake after bonehead mistake. Holding’s red card was completely ridiculous. You’d think he’d adjust after the first yellow, but he didn’t, and he deservedly got sent off for a foolish challenge on Son.
It wasn’t like Son had gotten into his mind or something, and they were only down 1-0 at the time the second yellow was shown.
All of this happened after Cedric’s bad challenge on Son cost him the penalty. Look at this:
And here is Holding getting the second yellow:
Mikel Arteta could be seen getting on the bus and getting out of there as the minutes ticked down on the clock. Arsenal were on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League, and their blunders added to the pressure they now face in the remaining games.
To avoid a Premier League fine, Arteta refrained from stating his thoughts about such judgments. Holding and Son started fighting in the 11th minute, and he was just given a warning for it. Holding received his first yellow card in the 26th minute for dragging Son back to the touchline after being beaten before being sent off for a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge.
Holding may not have been sent off if all three fouls were not on Son, but obstructing Son while already receiving numerous talking tos was nearly a given for being sent off.
He said, “I can’t talk about the referees.” “On Monday night, I’d like to be on the sidelines. I’m going to be suspended. You can ask the referee if he’d like to come over and assess the game. It’s impossible for me. I have two options: I either lie to you, which I will not do, or I can get suspended, which I will not do because I really want to be on the sidelines against Newcastle.”
Cedric’s foul on Son was more difficult to discern, but that’s most likely the ruling Arteta was upset with. Because of the perspectives available, it’s difficult to see how Son went to ground other than that he was surrounded by several Arsenal players.
The race for the golden boot has begun
As we go closer to the last matchday, the competition for the top four is heating up, as is the battle for the golden boot between Heung-min Son and Mohamed Salah. Son now has 21 goals this season, one more than Salah. That’s without being Tottenham’s penalty-kick taker.
Son has scored 13 goals in the Premier League this season, more than any other player in the league. With two games remaining against Burnley and Norwich, Son has a decent chance of winning the golden boot.