Arsenal maintained their position at the Premier League summit as an outstanding display overpowered Tottenham in the north London derby at Emirates Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s side were superior throughout and Spurs’ cause was not helped by Emerson Royal’s red card for a second-half foul on Gabriel Martinelli. Arsenal made a fast start and took a deserved lead when Thomas Partey side-footed a precise finish into the top corner from 25 yards after 20 minutes. Spurs were handed a lifeline before the break when Gabriel’s foul on Richarlison gave Harry Kane the opportunity to score his 14th goal in 18 derby games and his 100th goal away from home in the Premier League from the penalty spot.
Arsenal were gifted the lead once again when Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris fumbled badly to allow Gabriel Jesus to score four minutes after the break, Antonio Conte’s frustration made worse by Royal’s reckless challenge on Martinelli that prompted referee Anthony Taylor to produce a straight red card. Conte was attempting to make three changes when Granit Xhaka effectively ended the contest with a low finish past Lloris from inside the area. Arsenal’s outstanding start to the season, aided by some smart work in the transfer market in the summer, has raised hopes that they might be coming out of a long period of post-Arsene Wenger transition.
The Gunners were bitterly disappointed to miss out on Champions League football on the final day of last season but there is an energy, verve and threat about Arsenal that suggests they can make a serious impact in this campaign. Even in defeat at Manchester United last month, Arsenal showed signs of maturity and progress, emphasised here by the manner of their victory over the old rivals. Arsenal flew out of the blocks to take the lead and even recovered from the frustration of handing an out-of-sorts Spurs a route back into the game via Gabriel’s challenge on Richarlison. Jesus has proved to be a superb signing, while William Saliba has been outstanding in central defence since returning from loan spells at St Etienne, Nice and Marseille.
There is still work to be done but Arsenal look like a club and a team who finally have a clear direction again, a mouth-watering mix of younger players and experience that bodes well for the future. Arsenal’s next game, here against Liverpool next Sunday, will be another significant test but there is growing confidence around Emirates Stadium.