Nobody expects Arsenal to remain at the top of the Premier League but on a beautiful, crisp autumn day in the Emirates, in front of a full house of insanely happy fans, celebrating a stunning, exuberant start to the season and the sweeping sacking of their north London rivals no one cared too much about the title.
That moment was sweet enough for Arsenal to enjoy in isolation. Many had expected Antonio Conte’s Tottenham pragmatism to burst the bubble of Arsenal’s idealistic, elegant start to the season, but that didn’t happen. Everyone believes Manchester City will win the league but Arsenal continue to pass the tests put in front of them and it’s good to see.
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 29 PL games at home to Tottenham.
Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the table with a 3-1 win over Tottenham in the north London derby on Saturday
Thomas Partey opened the scoring in spectacular fashion and found the back of the net from outside the box (pictured above).
Spurs found their way back into the game thanks to Harry Kane’s penalty after Gabriel’s foul on Richarlison in the box
They’ve won seven of their eight league games this season and played champagne football, and that 3-1 win over a Spurs side that played ten men for much of the second half put them four points clear at the top of the table at least until City play Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Spurs have not won at the Emirates for 12 years and after Emerson Royal was sent off after 62 minutes for a longing foul on Gabriel Martinelli they never looked like they would spoil that sequence. They’re well organized under Conte, but they’re limited once you get beyond the brilliance of their forward line. In contrast, Arsenal have started to play like a team that doesn’t accept restrictions.
It was Gabriel Jesus who found the backing just after half-time to restore Arsenal’s lead over rivals Tottenham
Hugo Loris fumbled the ball straight into Jesus’ path but a goal is a goal and Arsenal’s summer signing was delighted
It’s still hard to imagine they can live with City as the season peaks after the World Cup, but who knows how the shape of the squads will change after the stresses of the tournament in Qatar. For now, it’s enough that Arsenal, whose fans have suffered so much frustration after Arsene Wenger’s peak years, are undeniably a team on the rise again under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal started quickly. Lloris deflected a Gabriel Martinelli volley around the post, Bukayo Saka, freed from the role of left-back where Gareth Southgate had used him in Italy eight days ago, constantly checked down the right flank, Thomas Partey mopped up loose balls and Martin Odegaard orchestrated the play as gracefully as ever.
Spurs had their best early chance to score, however, when Son Heung-Min unleashed a clever free-kick behind Arsenal’s defensive line and a host of Spurs players rushed towards it. Eric Dier came on first but was only able to help to Richarlison, who reacted instinctively and pinned the ball towards goal. It was heading for the corner until Aaron Ramsdale had a fine reaction and pushed it wide.
Things went from bad to worse for Tottenham when Emerson was shown a red card for a poor challenge against Gabriel
Emerson’s card sent Tottenham into a downward spiral. The fans just waited for the end of the game
Arsenal took a deserved lead midway through the half. Saka would tease and taunt his tracer on the right side, faking and groping, making space and time for those around him. He passed the ball squarely to Ben White, who passed it on to Partey, who was lurking on the edge of the area. Partey had time to time his shot and curled it up past Lloris’ desperate left hand into the net.
Arsenal’s starting XI: Ramsdale; Weiss, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus.
substitute : Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Lokonga, Vieira, Marquinhos, Nelson, Nketiah.
Tottenham’s starting XI: Lloris, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic, Richarlison, Kane, Son.
substitute : Forster, Doherty, Skip, Sanchez, Gil, Sessegnon, Spencer, Sarr, Bissouma
However, Arsenal’s lead didn’t feel secure and ten minutes later Spurs were level. Richarlison, who was having a quiet game, made a rare foray into the box and, after dodging a challenge, was knocked down by a clumsy tackle from Gabriel. It was a clear penalty and Kane delivered it with aplomb, slicing it down the middle, over Ramsdale’s trailing, flailing legs as he dove to the right. It was Kane’s 14th goal in north London derbies, more than any other player has ever scored.
Four minutes after half-time, Arsenal regained the lead with a goal that was a comedy of the Spurs defence’s mistakes. Saka had too much time to slice in from the right and curled up for a left footed shot. Lloris comfortably covered it, but he weakly pushed it into the crowded box. It fell at the feet of Cristian Romero, who should have cleared it but tripped over it and wrongly threw it back at Lloris.
It should have been the easiest catch for Lloris – although it might have resulted in back pass requests – but somehow the French keeper allowed the ball to slip through his hands and squirm beneath him. Gabriel Jesus happily grabbed the loose ball and whipped it over the goal line.
Spurs’ chances of getting back into the game were scuppered just after the hour mark when Martinelli sprinted to the right and Emerson Royal came his way. Martinelli is something of an agent provocateur, but the defense attorney’s challenge was premature and foolish. His lunge caught Martinelli above the ankle and was high and late. Anthony Taylor showed him the red card straight away, the right decision.
Arsenal immediately benefited from Emerson Royal’s stupidity. Partey charged forward from midfield and put the ball on Martinelli. Martinelli charged towards the Spurs box before Granit Xhaka took it from him, catching the Spurs defense flat-footed. Xhaka took a touch, holding Dier back and whipping a left foot low past Lloris.
The game was over. Conte brought on four Spurs subs in a burst of radical frustration, but apart from destroying the rhythm of the game, they made little difference.
Xhaka scored Arsenal’s third and final goal of the game after receiving the captain’s armband late in the second half
Bukayo Saka enjoyed a successful second half and found himself in the middle of Arsenal’s attacking game against Spurs
Relive the action with Sportsmail’s live blog for the Premier League clash between Arsenal and Tottenham.
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