LONDON (AFP) – Arsenal underlined their credibility as genuine Premier League title contenders with an impressive 3-1 win over 10-man Tottenham in a bloody derby in north London on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta’s side have recorded seven wins from eight league games this season to move four points clear at the top of the table.
The 192nd meeting of these bitter rivals from opposite ends of the Seven Sisters Road was a typically frenetic event from the moment Thomas Partey put Arsenal ahead early in the first half.
Harry Kane equalized with a penalty but third-placed Tottenham imploded after the break when an error by Hugo Lloris saw Gabriel Jesus restore Arsenal’s lead.
Tottenham defender Emerson Royal was sent off for a nasty foul on Gabriel Martinelli before Granit Xhaka’s goal ensured Arsenal avenged the 3-0 loss to their hated neighbors last season which cost them a place in the Champions League.
The end of Tottenham’s 13-game league unbeaten streak was an important statement of intent from Arsenal.
Arsenal have now lost just once in 30 league games at home to Tottenham, but there was much more at stake for the Gunners than home bragging rights.
Their only previous game against one of the top four rivals this season ended in a 3-1 loss at Manchester United, but that dynamic performance showed they need to be taken seriously in the title race.
Next Sunday’s showdown against Liverpool will be another test for Arsenal, but with champions Manchester City remaining title favorites, Arteta’s side are proving to be a force to be reckoned with.
Arsenal quickly seized the initiative and pushed Tottenham back into their own box before Martinelli hit Bukayo Saka’s cross with a fierce punch that Lloris pinned at the post.
Despite their spirited opener, Arsenal were lucky not to fall behind when Son Heung-min’s cross caught Richarlison, who should have done better than obediently push from six yards out.
But with Tottenham sitting too deep in a desperate attempt to ease the pressure from Arsenal, the Gunners took the lead in stunning style after 20 minutes.
LLORIS COSTLY BLUNDER
An intriguing 22-pass streak ended with Ben White setting up Partey and the Ghanaian midfielder curling a superb shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.
Tottenham responded to Partey’s first goal since March with an equalizer eleven minutes later as Kane extended his North London derby record to 14 goals in 18 games.
William Saliba’s weak header defense was followed by Xhaka’s ferocious touch in his own area and Richarlison stepped in to steal the ball, which led to a panicked tackle from Gabriel, which extended the Brazilian.
Kane stepped forward to drill the penalty straight down the middle, making him the first player to score 100 away goals in the Premier League.
Jesus nearly restored Arsenal’s lead with a fine run through the heart of the Tottenham defense before Lloris made a good save from his scrum.
Lloris had saved Tottenham on that occasion but the French keeper was guilty of a costly error four minutes after the break.
Saka sliced into the Tottenham box for a low punch that Lloris weakly parried in front of him.
When Cristian Romero failed to clear, Lloris compounded his initial mistake by rolling the ball through his hands and tapping Jesus virtually from the goal line.
Jesus has been one of the catalysts for Arsenal’s impressive run this season, scoring five times since joining from Manchester City last season.
Emerson dashed Tottenham’s comeback hopes when the right-back was shown a red card in the 62nd minute for raking Martinelli’s ankle with his studs.
Arsenal needed just five minutes to make the most of their power play as a flowing move involving Partey and Martinelli culminated as Xhaka fired a fine finish into the far corner from 18 yards out.
English Premier League Results:
Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham
AFC Bournemouth 0-0 Brentford
Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea
Fulham 1-4 Newcastle
Liverpool 3-3 Brighton
Southampton 1-2 Everton