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Mourinho praises Kane and Son all-round performance as defensive Spurs beat Arsenal in north London derby

Tottenham Hotspur moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a typically Jose Mourinho-esque 2-0 win over north London rivals, Arsenal.

Spurs went in front after just 13 minutes, and did so in sensational style. In what is becoming a regular feature of his game, Harry Kane dropped deep to get the ball before releasing his forward partner Heung Min Son, the South Korean advancing down the left, drifting inside before unleashing an absolutely unstoppable curling effort past Bernd Leno from all of 25 yards.

Tottenham came into the game with the best defensive record in the division, while Arsenal have endured well-documented struggles in front of goal, and when another Gunners attack broke down on the stroke of half time, the home side launched a devastating counter. Serge Aurier intercepted in his own area before releasing the ball into Giovani Lo Celso who drove towards the box before laying it on to Son, who in turn played a well-weighted reverse pass into the path of Harry Kane who duly smashed the ball into the back of the net off the underside of the bar.

Arsenal actually had the better of the play, and dominated the ball throughout, though they were unable to break down Jose Mourinho’s well-drilled side with cross after cross being cleared by the Spurs backline – Hugo Lloris only being forced into two saves in the entirety of the game.

Speaking afterwards, Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Mikel Arteta and his side, but insisted his team were deserving winners despite their defensive approach.

“It was a big game in every sense, not just because it was Tottenham-Arsenal,” he told Sky Sports. “I want to give words, congratulations to Mikel [Arteta] because he gave us a very difficult game.

“Tactically they were very good, very organised. They gave us problems, problems we were able to resolve. They have a good tactical culture and incredible spirit. They are a good team and he is a good coach. But we deserved to win, with two amazing goals.

“We were reading the game and making the changes to win it because 2-0 was in our hands against a great and difficult opponent, but my boys did well today.

“I am very happy with the result and the performance but of course I want the team in the second half to play in a different way. In reality, you don’t always do what you want to do because your opponent forces you in a different direction. It was not the moment to start taking risks.

“You are winning 2-0, why would you expose your defensive block if you don’t have to? It was a very difficult game. I can imagine tomorrow the headlines will about them not being in a good position in the table but I believe with these players and Mikel it will be Arsenal v Tottenham again.”

Kane and Son finished the game with a goal and an assist apiece to take their goal combinations for the season to 11, though the Portuguese was pleased with the pairs all-round game, while also relishing being at the top table for another week.

“Harry Kane clearing balls in the box, Sonny for the first 60 minutes as a winger and then a second striker – it is not just about scoring goals and being world class players. It is about being great guys and doing your best for the team.

“We grew up. I can imagine lots of people can imagine three matches in a row – against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal – would be a moment for us to drop points and go back to ‘normality’ but we didn’t go back to ‘normality’. We are there. I believe one more week at the top of the table unless Liverpool win by many [against Wolves].”

Next up for Spurs is a home game against Antwerp, before travelling to south London to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next weekend.

Tactical Analysis: Why Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal struggle to find the net

See also – Tweets of the Week: Solskjaer’s not-so-super subs, football’s weirdest ad, and Millwall’s shame

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