Gary Neville launches staunch defence of Harry Kane during Tottenham defeat to Arsenal

In pictures: Arsenal v Tottenham

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Gary Neville leapt to the defence of Tottenham striker Harry Kane during Arsenal’s comprehensive 3-1 win in the north London derby. Kane put in another subdued performance as Spurs were schooled by their arch-rivals at the Emirates.

A first half goal blitz for the Gunners from Emile Smith-Rowe, Pierre Emerick-Aubamayeng and Bukayo Saka killed any hopes of Spurs halting their recent slide down the Premier League table.

Nuno Espirito Santo responded by making a double change at the break, introducing Oliver Skipp and Emerson Royale for Dele Alli and Japhet Tanganga.

Son Heung-Min found the net after the break but the damage was already done for Nuno’s side.

The result lifts Arsenal above Tottenham on goal difference as they continue to banish memories of their nightmare start to the season.

Kane has now failed to score in any of his six league appearances for Spurs – who had only found the net three times in Nuno’s first five Premier League games at the helm before Sunday’s trip to the Emirates.

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But Neville spoke out in defence of Kane and insisted that Spurs’ recent struggles in front of goal go deeper than Kane’s failed summer transfer request.

“Well I’m going to talk about the main man for Spurs, Harry Kane, there’s been a lot of talk between Graeme, Tony and Ledley about his positioning and coming a lot deeper,” Neville assessed on Sky Sports.

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“But I don’t buy into that theory, he dropped into that position last season and we lauded him for it, he adapted his game, got 14 assists – the most in the Premier League – I think the only thing I can see that’s changed is, two things, one he’s asked to leave and people are questioning whether he’s unhappy and the second thing is that his manager Nuno does have a record at Wolves for not scoring and creating the most chances, Tottenham’s three goals in five games is a real concern it’s not just a Kane problem.”

As well as blanking in front of goal, Kane also came under fire for his role in Arsenal’s opening goal by Graeme Souness.

Arsenal defender Ben White won an aerial duel with Kane which led to the move for Smith-Rowe’s opening strike.

“He has to do better there Harry Kane,” slammed Souness. “If you don’t win the header make sure the defender doesn’t win the header, disappointing. Spurs in that first half have been shocking, Arsenal have been fabulous, but Spurs have contributed to that.”

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