Arsene Wenger congratulates Tottenham on ending Arsenal's run of north London dominance with derby win

James Benge
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Arsene Wenger congratulated Tottenham on finishing above Arsenal for the first time but insisted he wanted his side to be judged on more than where they finished in the North London pecking order.

Goals from Dele Alli and Harry Kane secured victory for Spurs in the final North London Derby at White Hart Lane, a result that guarantees Tottenham will finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.

It ends Arsene Wenger’s remarkable record of finishing above his Spurs during every season of his reign but more pressingly leaves Arsenal reliant on the misfortune of others if they are to finish in the top four. The Gunners are six points off fourth-placed Manchester City with just a solitary game in hand.

After being outclassed from the first minute to the last a magnanimous Wenger offered his praise to Spurs for ending the curse of ‘St Totteringham’s Day’ whilst maintaining that his record was still not one to be scorned.

“Well done to them, but when you start the championship the target is not to finish above Spurs, it is to fight for the title,” Wenger told Sky Sports.

“In 20 years it happened once. Mathematically it has to happen once.

“We are not happy with it but we don't compare ourselves to Spurs, we compare ourselves to where we want to be.”

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The outcome could have been worse for Arsenal, who ought to have been 2-0 down at the break if it weren’t for Alli and Christian Eriksen spurning glorious opportunities for the hosts.

Petr Cech denied Spurs the chance to rout their way through the Gunners with a series of fine saves either side of half-time and Wenger admitted his side had not been close to Mauricio Pochettino’s.

“Overall they deserved it. First of all they scored two goals and we didn't but it was an even game until the first goal. Then straight away after that we conceded the penalty. You could see we were affected by that and Spurs looked more dangerous than before.

“And as we didn't come back to 2-1 they were comfortable. We did not create enough but that is down to Spurs as well, they were sharper than us physically and we were too restricted in our game.

“At the moment we are not back to the level of confidence we need to play in the way we can. The desire was there but we lacked something today.”

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