Arsenal’s anxious kids fail biggest test of nerves for years vs Tottenham and can afford no more mistakes this season


NOW we’ll see what Arsenal are really made of.

Because after failing their biggest test of nerves for years there is absolutely no margin for error in their remaining two games of the season.


Arsenal failed in their biggest test for yearsCredit: Reuters
Arsenal never recovered from Rob Holding's early dismissal for two yellow cards


Arsenal never recovered from Rob Holding’s early dismissal for two yellow cardsCredit: Reuters
Bukayo Saka's frustration summed up the night for Arsenal


Bukayo Saka’s frustration summed up the night for ArsenalCredit: Reuters

They made the short trip along the Seven Sisters Road knowing that victory in this North London derby would have guaranteed a top four finish and Champions League qualification.

However, this chastening defeat means they could actually be behind Spurs in the table when they travel to Newcastle on Monday night.

For should Spurs beat struggling Burnley at home on Sunday – and you have to fancy them to do just that – they will move two points ahead of Mikel Arteta’s anxious young team.

The good news for Arteta is that Arsenal’s fate is still in their own hands. Win their last two fixtures at Newcastle and then at home to Everton and they will be safely over the finishing line.

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Although anything less than maximum points against the Geordies would leave them relying on bottom of the table Norwich to take something off Spurs on the final day.

And that ain’t going to happen.

So now Arsenal have four days to regroup and get their heads back in the game after being stopped dead in their tracks by Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.

They came into this game on the back of four straight wins against Chelsea, Manchester United, West Ham and Leeds.


But they were derailed by Rob Holding summoning up the spirit of Martin Keown and never recovered from the 16th red card of Arteta’s reign.

Holding had already been booked for fouling Son when he blocked the South Korean with a raised arm to the face and didn’t give ref Paul Tierney any option other than to dish out a second yellow.

Arsenal were already a goal down by then, with Kane converting from the spot after Cedric’s shove in the back on Son.

And before they had time to sort themselves out at the back, they fell further behind when Kane nipped in behind Eddie Nketiah to nod in at the back post.

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After that it was simply a question of damage limitation for the visitors because if fourth place should go down to goal difference they would be screwed.

But rampant Spurs were not finished yet and Son twisted the knife right at the start of the second-half when he smashed another past the helpless Aaron Ramsdale.

There was no coming back from that one for a team who have only drawn three games all season.

Now only wins will do and anything less means Arsenal will be playing Thursday night football many more times next season.

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