Gary Neville has tipped Tottenham to finish in the top-four following their impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal.
Antonio Conte’s side produced one of their best performances of the season on Thursday night as they closed the gap on their north London rivals to one point thanks to Harry Kane’s brace and a goal from Son Heung-min.
Neville described the match-up between the two sides as ‘lightweight against middleweight’ and believes Tottenham have the better run-in ahead of the final two games of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur beat Arsenal 3-0 during their highly anticipated North London derby
Gary Neville believes Tottenham will pip Arsenal to a top-four finish after their win on Thursday
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, the former Manchester United defender heaped praise on Conte for his ‘methodical’ thinking on Thursday night.
He said: ‘Conte is the type of manager that he would have looked at Arteta tonight, and I think Arteta was right in that you don’t drop your principles.
‘He’s come out of the Pep Guardiola school of ‘we play our way’ and he’s not going to go back to own his box and defend with 10 outfield players behind the ball and say ‘we’re just going to counter-attack’. They try and push up the pitch and at least keep the mid-line.
‘Conte will ruthlessly go back to the edge of his own box. At the start of the game, and I think it was a tactic, to pass slowly along the back, almost trying to draw Arsenal out, knowing that would lead the space.
Neville also heaped praise on Tottenham boss Antonio Conte for his ‘methodical’ thinking
‘It was a clever play by Conte, he’s a clever manager who knows the game inside-out. He’s methodical in his thinking and the patterns of play are there.
‘Arsenal came out in that first five minutes almost like the lightweight against the middleweight whereby they were quicker and sharper, but then the powerhouse of Tottenham gradually started to come.’
‘After 1-0, this crowd were all over the place – it was mayhem after the first goal. At that point, Arsenal did wilt. They capitulated in that part of the game.
‘Once you create that carnival atmosphere in a ground like this, and I think calling it a hostile and fierce atmosphere is fair, it was testing tonight. I always felt like this would be a special game because of what’s on it, why it was cancelled earlier in the season and then what’s at stake.’
A win for Arsenal would have seen them secure Champions League football next season ahead of their final games against Newcastle and Everton.
Pressure will be on them on Monday night when they travel to St James’ park on Monday, with Tottenham taking on Burnley in the early kick-off on Sunday.
Pressure will be on Arsenal ahead of their final two games against Newcastle and Everton
Neville says the loss against their rivals will come as a ‘big blow’ to the Gunners and Conte’s side have the better fixtures and will eventually go on to secure a top four spot.
‘You’d want Tottenham’s games – Burnley at home and Norwich away. Newcastle away [for Arsenal] on Monday Night Football, that’s going to be really tough, especially if Spurs have won on the Sunday… Everton at home on the last day, if Everton need points, then they’ve got two really tough games,’ he said.
‘I think Tottenham will beat Burnley and Arsenal will have to win their last two matches – but I’m not sure they will. Tonight was a really big blow – I might be wrong and I’m neutral between these two clubs – but I do feel now if I had to put money on it, it would be on Tottenham.’