Dele Alli and Harry Kane scored to keep Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge on track and consign Arsenal to derby disappointment.
Tottenham signed off on the last north London derby at the old White Hart Lane in fine style on Sunday, beating Arsenal 2-0 to ensure they will finish above their fierce local rivals in the Premier League for the first time since 1995.
There is also the small matter of the convincing victory keeping Spurs in the hunt for the title, as goals from Dele Alli, his first in this fixture, and Harry Kane, the ultimate specialist at delivering against the Gunners, moved Mauricio Pochettino’s men back to within four points of league leaders Chelsea, who won 3-0 at Everton earlier in the day.
Arsenal have enjoyed plenty of success at the home of their neighbours, twice sealing the title at the historic venue, but they will leave for the final time before its redevelopment unfulfilled, having failed to take advantage of the points dropped by Manchester City and Manchester United in the hotly-contested scrap for Champions League qualification.
The result leaves Arsene Wenger’s side sixth, six points back from fourth-placed City and five behind United, who visit Emirates Stadium next weekend, when Tottenham contest another London derby against West Ham.
Spurs threatened early through a Kane shot and Toby Alderweireld’s near-post header, before Alli nearly broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute, heading wide with the goal gaping after Kane’s deflected strike wrong-footed goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Three minutes later it was Christian Eriksen’s turn to go even closer, the playmaker clipping the bar with a volleyed effort after Victor Wanyama had played Song Heung-min into space down the left.
The South Korea international left Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for dead on the touchline, raced into the area and saw a curling attempt blocked, his Danish team-mate then proving unable to stroke home the loose ball.
Having struggled to impose themselves, Arsenal were restricted to half chances for Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez from range, Jan Vertonghen returning the favour by testing Cech in first-half injury time.
Spurs began the second half strongly, Wanyama calling Cech into action with a fierce curling strike following a rapid counter-attack.
They deservedly broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, Alli’s neat footwork creating a chance for Eriksen, who had his close-range shot from a tight angle saved by Cech. The goalkeeper could only parry the ball back into the danger area, where it was coolly stroked home by the young England midfielder.
Just three minutes later the hosts were gifted a second, Gabriel giving away a penalty with a needless trip on Kane inside the area. The striker made no mistake with the subsequent spot-kick, tucking his effort just inside the post to leave a motionless Cech with no chance, becoming the leading Spurs scorer in Premier League north London derbies.
The novel 3-4-3 formation that had prompted a change in Arsenal’s recent fortunes failed them against their newly imperious rivals, as Wenger’s second-half substitutes, Theo Walcott among them, proved unable to force a route back into a contest that Tottenham comfortably dominated throughout.