ON nights like these, you can actually imagine Antonio Conte enjoying a long and fruitful reign at Tottenham.
But as the Tottenham Stadium throbbed with menace, and Arsenal’s youths fell into naivety and ill-discipline, Conte must have felt properly at home.
This thumping Tottenham victory, aided and abetted by Rob Holding’s early red card, means the fight for Champions League football between these two bitter rivals seems certain to go to the wire.
Harry Kane, the all-time record scorer in this fixture with 13 goals against the Arsenal, struck either side of Holding’s dismissal as Son Heung-Min stepped up his pursuit of the Golden Boot with his 21st of the season after the interval.
Unlike most modern stadiums, the new Lane does not lack for atmosphere. Here, for its first North London Derby with a full house, it rattled and hummed as an intimidated Arsenal were blown away.
Now Arsenal must win their last two games, at Newcastle on Monday and at home to Everton the following Sunday, to ensure an end to their five-year Champions League exile.
Because Conte’s Spurs are only a point behind, with just Burnley and Norwich to play.
And this week, in the defiant draw at Liverpool and this ruthless dismemberment of their neighbours, it really has started to feel like Conte’s Spurs.
They have been comprehensively whipped into shape. They compete with a crazed determination and they possess a street-fighting wisdom too.