Arsenal put an underwhelming Tottenham side to the sword in yet another fiery north London derby as Mikel Arteta’s side underlined their title credentials.
The home side started in frantic fashion, hitting the post through Gabriel Martinelli’s deflected volley in the opening three minutes and the action rarely slowed down from there.
Spurs’ gameplan was obvious. Sit deep, soak up the pressure and counter, though that is much easier said than done. With Arsenal bossing the possession, they were allowed the time and space to craft efforts from outside the box and Thomas Partey needed only a hint of an invitation.
The Ghanian struck a sweet strike from just outside the box with twenty minutes on the clock and while Antonio Conte might argue that little can done against such an effort, the manner in which the Italian’s team passively stood off and allowed Partey to shoot was in stark contrast to the fervent atmosphere in the stands.
To Conte’s credit, Spurs’ goal did come on the counter, albeit after a moment of madness from Gabriel Magalhaes. With Tottenham’s attackers breaking into the box, the Brazilian rashly brought compatriot Richarlison down. As ever, Harry Kane stepped up and scored the from the spot, notching his 100th Premier League away goal and becoming the outright top scorer in north London derby history with 14.
Where Spurs pounced on a mistake to get back into the game, it was their only sloppy pay that swung the momentum against them. Hugo Lloris, a veteran of this occasion, allowed Bukayo Saka’s shot to slip under him, with Gabriel Jesus pouncing and stabbing home an effort from point-blank range.
Emerson Royal – who endured a torrid afternoon up against Martinelli – added to the incidents with a crazily high challenge on his countryman and was sent off on the hour mark. With Spurs more stretched, a liberated Granit Xhaka took his redemption up a level and added a brilliant third. From there, it was all about damage limitation as Conte made all five of his substitutions at once, effectively waving the white flag.
Only months ago, Arsenal saw their season ruined by their bitter rivals. How long ago that seems now.