Fifteen first half minutes in which we conceded twice and had a man sent off proved to be our undoing on a night when nothing went our way in the north London derby.
After an even start, Spurs took the lead from a questionable penalty, and doubled the advantage moments after Rob Holding was shown a debatable red card.
It was always an uphill battle after that, and Tottenham’s third at the start of the second half ended any hopes of a comeback.
With the stakes so high for both sides, predictably, the game started at 100 miles an hour. Both sides were struggling to keep the ball but we had half chances through Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka.
Gabriel Martinelli was released by a wonderful pass from Takehiro Tomiyasu, but his cut back to Martin Odegaard was snuffled out by the home defence.
Just as it looked like we were starting to settle, Spurs were awarded a soft penalty. Cedric was adjudged to have bundled over Heung-Min Son at the far post. Referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, despite Arsenal protests.
Harry Kane sent Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way to open the scoring.
Moments later a sliding block from Tomiyasu denied Kane a second when he worked the ball on to his right foot in the area.
Just after the half hour the referee made another huge call that went against us. This time Rob Holding, who had already been booked, was shown a second yellow card for a clash with Son. Replays were inconclusive as to whether the defender had moved his arm in to Son, or just stood his ground.
Either way, we were down to 10 men, and soon down by two goals too. Kane doubled his tally, tapping in at the far post when a corner was flicked on.
We needed to regroup, and quickly. We reshaped at the back and started to attack the hosts again. Nketiah had a shot tipped over after a searing run from Saka, and Odegaard failed to make clean contact when the ball fell to him on the edge of the area.
There looked to be chances for us if we could get at the Spurs defence, but our night from bad to worse right at the start of the second half. Kane turned Gabriel inside the box and the ball fell to Son to tap home.
The next chance fell our way, Martinelli the architect again, but Saka’s goalbound shot was blocked.
Not surprisingly though, it was Spurs who had most of the ball, and Ramsdale made a fine save to deny Emerson Royal on the hour mark.
Son screwed a shot over from close range, while at the other end Odegaard shot straight at Lloris, but the game was over as a contest by then.
Despite the huge sense of frustration at the final whistle, our fate remains in our hands. We are a point clear with two games to go. It’s still all to play for.
WHAT IT MEANS
On Monday night we head to Newcastle United for our final away game of the season. We then complete the season at home to Everton next weekend. Wins in both games will guarantee us a top-four finish.
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