Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 0
Kane 49

The very least you expect from your team in a derby is that they turn up and fight. In a North London derby? Well it’s par for the course to stand your ground, but should you fall short, you know that you gave it everything and went down fighting. Unfortunately Arsenal did neither. Tottenham Hotspur turned on the power and the pace, and having held them to 0-0 at the break, Harry Kane rose above Laurent Koscielny to head past Petr Cech from Ben Davies’ cross. Kane and Spurs could have been out of sight but for some good saves from Cech. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henri Mkhitaryan, so lethal against Everton, failed to have any impact on proceedings with the Armenian making way for Alexandre Lacazette on 65 minutes. Finally Arsenal threatened Hugo Lloris’s goal with Lacazette blazing one over and moments later when he did beat Lloris, he saw his effort go agonisingly past the upright. It would have been a late twist to the tale, but that didn’t happen as Spurs inflicted a 1-0 Wembley loss on the Gunners.

Arsenal now face an even harder route to a top four Champions League earning spot, their alternative route via winning the Europa League is by no means an easy option either. A game which Arsene Wenger claimed his side could ” not lose,” has left the Gunners wondering how much worse this Premier League season can get. Wenger later claimed that a lack of a cutting edge and finishing cost his side.

“Possession is basically 50/50 in this game. Firstly, I think the game should have been finished at half-time for me. We missed opportunities on counter-attacks that are not missable at our level, due to the final ball. In the second half, we should have lost the game by more than one goal at the start. We were destabilised by the goal they scored and they had two or three more opportunities that they could have scored. In the final part of the game, we should have come back to 1-1. That maybe would not have been enough, but would be better than being 1-0 down. Overall, we’ve got mixed feelings because for long periods in the first half, with a bit more quality in our final pass, we would have won this game.”

With Mesut Ozil pulling the midfield strings, Mkhitaryan was stationed out on the left with Aubameyang in the central role. The Gabon striker was denied any kind of service and the one time he looked to get his skates on and away from Davison Sanchez was when the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. But Arsenal contained their rivals in the first half and only Kane ghosting in from Christian Eriksen’s cross to head over was the single time alarm bells rang in the Arsenal back four.

Four minutes after the break however, Kane rose as Laurent Koscielny became pinned down to head past Cech. The opener came as hammer blow and both Kane and Erik Lamela in particular wasted chances to increase Spurs’ lead.

Wenger denied that his team lacked hunger and pointed to the world class striker Arsenal were up against.

“No, I don’t think they lacked the hunger to defend. They were up against a super striker who is one of the best in the world. He scores against everybody, so all of the defenders who play against him must lack hunger then!”

When Lacazette missed the target late on, Wenger agonised on the touchline. That was the chance for his side to have salvaged a point. But it wasn’t to be.

“I believe that we had opportunities, dangerous situations that we didn’t transform into opportunities. That’s where my regret is, that in the final ball we missed something. When you have two or three opportunities like we had in the final part of the game, you want to take your chances in these kinds of games. You know you will not have 10 chances. If you don’t take them, you will suffer at the end of the day. To be at the level mentally is to be capable of using your opportunities. That’s what the top level is about.”

Arsenal next come against runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, when the hope will be that the form which saw off Everton will re-emerge to spark the Gunners back into life again.