Same result but Tottenham’s trip to Arsenal underlines progress under Pochettino
History repeated itself in the north London derby at the Emirates on Sunday, with Arsenal coming from behind to level in a 1-1 draw for the second season in a row – but there were clear signs of Tottenham’s improvement under Mauricio Pochettino.
In September 2014 Spurs only managed six shots on goal in the corresponding clash, compared to Arsenal’s 16, as Nacer Chadli’s opener was cancelled out by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
This time, Tottenham dominated much of the game and had more of the chances, with 14 shots to the home side’s 10.
After Kane’s first-half strike – his sixth goal in four games - Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Kane all had opportunities to make it 2-0 before Gunners substitute Kieran Gibbs grabbed a 77th-minute equaliser.
Tottenham’s share of the possession was also 14 per cent higher than last season’s showdown (31 per cent to 45 per cent), and their progress was underlined by the fact that they were disappointed with a draw as they left Islington, having lost a lead for the sixth time this season.
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Nonetheless, Pochettino’s side have now extended their unbeaten record in the Premier League to 11 matches – no mean feat given they have faced the top two teams, Manchester City and Arsenal, and Liverpool in that spell.
Kane said: “It shows we can be up there with the big teams. We probably deserved to win against Liverpool, we beat City and probably deserved to win this [against Arsenal] as well.
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“We’re not just drawing games where we’re hanging on, we’re drawing where we’re playing very well and there are chances we could be winning these games.
“We played great football, we played a good possession game, pressed them high up the pitch, won the ball back high and created a lot of chances.
“It wasn’t like we were hanging on for a point or hanging on for the 1-0, we were still playing well. But of course if you don’t kill off teams like Arsenal or the top teams, you get punished and that’s what happened - but a point away at the Emirates isn’t the worst result in the world.
“We’re now into the international break and when we come back it’s two more London derbies [against West Ham and Chelsea].
“There’s still a long way to go and we’re not going to come out and say we’re title contenders but we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.
“We’re in a great position at the moment, we’ve played a lot of tough teams but at this level you’ve got to maintain it throughout the whole season.
“We’ve done well in the past but then our form’s dipped in the new year, maybe towards the end of the season, so it’s just about doing it as much as possible over the Christmas break and then into the new year and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Tottenham’s trip to the Emirates was their third game in the space of six days after matches against Aston Villa on Monday night and Anderlecht on Thursday evening, and Kane admits they tired in the closing stages.
With that in mind, Sunday’s result can be viewed positively, even if it could have been so much better – especially as Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea all dropped points in supposedly easier fixtures.
“It was a tight game, I think we probably just edged it,” said Kane. “If we had the three points I don’t think anyone would have had any complaints.
“That’s football, it was a bit of an end-to-end game and they had chances as well. We’re a bit disappointed now but I think probably in a couple of days we’ll look back and say it’s a good point away from home.
“Were we tired at the end? I think so, that’s understandable playing three games in six days. It’s been a tough week for us, all the games we’ve played have gone right down to the last minute as well.
“We’re a fit squad, we came out in the first half with a lot of energy. In the last 10 minutes of the game we probably ran out of energy a bit. That’s understandable, we’ve had a tough week, but seven points from the week is not bad.
“Arsenal scored and then of course the home team always get a leg up and the crowd get behind them, but we hung on, we showed good character and they didn’t create too many clear-cut chances after that. We’re a great, solid unit and we’ve just got to keep going.”
Kane has certainly silenced any remaining critics after his dry spell earlier in the campaign, when he scored just once in his first 13 games for Spurs.
The 22-year-old’s hat-trick against Bournemouth has been followed by goals in each of the following games against Villa, Anderlecht and Arsenal – and he has now struck three times in three games against the Gunners, after his memorable double in last season’s 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane.
“It was my first time at the Emirates and it was great to score,” he said. “It would have been better of course if we won, but I enjoy these games. I enjoy the atmosphere, I enjoy the passion that it brings and I look forward to many more in the future.
“Obviously as a striker you want to be scoring goals but if I’m not it’s not the end of the world. I’m still contributing to the team, I’m doing my best for the team and as a striker that’s what you’ve got to do. But of course I’m delighted to be back scoring.”
With almost a third of the season gone, Spurs find themselves in the surprising position of being 10 points ahead of the reigning champions Chelsea but trailing behind Leicester and being level on points with West Ham.
“Obviously Chelsea aren’t playing very well at the moment but I wouldn’t write them off,” said Kane. “They were champions last year for a reason.
“Leicester and West Ham are playing very well but, again, it’s a long old season. It’s tough to maintain it at this level - we’ll see what happens. I know Leicester have got some tough games coming up, and West Ham as well.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and try not to think about the teams around us. We’re playing very well, we’re got great belief and we’ve just got to keep trying to move up that table.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs