Arsenal extended their Premier League lead to a commanding eight points with an outstanding performance and victory over Tottenham in the north London derby.
The Gunners capitalized on Manchester City’s defeat at Manchester United on Saturday, displaying impressive style in the first half and steel after the break to secure a crucial three points.
Arsenal were aided by a blunder by hapless Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris, who fumbled Bukayo Saka’s cross into his own net after 14 minutes, but it was no more than Mikel Arteta’s side deserved, as captain Martin Odegaard drilled in a second from outside the area nine minutes before the break.
Spurs, who were so poor in the first half, had chances but found visiting keeper Aaron Ramsdale in top form, saving Harry Kane twice either side of halftime and also stopping Ryan Sessegnon’s angled effort.
Arsenal were given a huge opportunity to strengthen their grip on the title race after Manchester City were defeated at Old Trafford, but with the expectation came pressure in the heat of a north London derby.
The Gunners responded to the challenge by outrunning Spurs to take control in the first 45 minutes, then held their nerve in the face of an expected comeback from Antonio Conte’s men after the break.
Arsenal were simply unstoppable in the first half, outclassing Spurs, with Lloris’ own goal and captain Odegaard’s strike providing scant compensation for their vast superiority.
In midfield, Odegaard was the epitome of class, while Saka ran Spurs ragged down Arsenal’s right flank, creating chances.
When the Spurs attempted to mount a comeback, the visitors demonstrated that they were willing to do the dirty work. Ramsdale was outstanding in goal, and his defenders were ready to throw themselves in front of anything to keep the lead.
At the end of the game, Ramsdale and Richarlison got into a spat before a Spurs fan appeared to kick England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Arsenal’s players were eventually dragged away to enjoy their well-deserved celebrations with their adoring fans.
Spurs may have created chances and anxious moments for Arsenal, particularly in the second half, but this was a sobering game for Conte and his players, who appeared far behind the pace until it was too late.
They were trailing at halftime for the ninth time this season, the seventh in the Premier League, following a first period in which their mediocrity stood in stark contrast to their opponents’ excellence.
Spurs have a history of slow starts and have occasionally been able to dig themselves out of trouble, but they have given themselves too much to do against this super-confident Arsenal team.
Kane was attempting to equal Jimmy Greaves’ Spurs record of 266 goals, but ran into Ramsdale at his best. On the other end, Lloris made yet another of those costly errors that plague a goalkeeper of his caliber.
Saka’s cross was deflected by Sessegnon, but the French goalkeeper had to do better than simply let the ball drop behind him into his own net.
It summed up Tottenham’s first-half performance, and they remain in fifth place, five points behind Manchester United in the Champions League places despite having played one more game.