Arsenal’s revival gathered pace as Tottenham’s recent decline continued in an entertaining north London derby at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners propped up the table after three games while Spurs were top under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo – how things have changed as a rampant Arsenal ripped their shambolic rivals to shreds in a brilliant first half.
Emile Smith Rowe started the celebrations for the Arsenal fans when he arrived unmarked to sweep home Bukayo Saka’s cross after 12 minutes before the scorer turned provider as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the second midway through the half.
Spurs were producing a horror show and nothing summed it up better than Arsenal’s third after 34 minutes. Harry Kane fell over the ball in a Spurs attack then missed two tackles on Saka as he raced back into his own penalty area to try to rescue the situation. Saka compounded the agony with a calm finish.
Inevitably, Spurs improved after the break, Kane bringing a good save from Aaron Ramsdale and wasting a good chance, before Son Heung-min pulled one back.
Ramsdale spared Arsenal any late anxiety with another superb stop, touching Lucas Moura’s shot on to the bar as Mikel Arteta’s side closed out a richly deserved win.
Arsenal’s young guns lead the charge
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has staked his Arsenal future on a long-term plan but admits he will not get quick results and has called for patience.
But there was evidence for optimism here despite those three opening league defeats.
The Gunners’ latest win was based on the brilliance and exuberance of Saka, Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard, aged 20, 21 and 22 respectively.
The talented trio were all involved in the goal that got the hosts on their way, Odegaard bursting through Spurs’ non-existent midfield before feeding Saka, whose inviting cross was turned in by Smith Rowe.
Smith Rowe set up the second and Saka got the third, showing an energy, invention and commitment that shamed Spurs’ efforts in an embarrassingly one-sided first 45 minutes.
Saka tormented Sergio Reguilon on Arsenal’s right flank, Smith Rowe’s rapier runs and creativity carved Spurs wide open and Odegaard took full advantage of the gaping holes in the visitors’ midfield.
Aubameyang, whose own form and commitment have been questioned as he struggled, set the tone and lit the fuse on an explosive atmosphere inside the Emirates by chasing down Spurs’ defenders in the opening moments.
It was the signal for a magnificent first 45 minutes from Arsenal, who were unrecognisable from the timid and flimsy side that opened the season.
Arteta will point to the fact that he now has Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes starting to form a defensive partnership, while Ramsdale offers presence in goal and is now surely undisputed Arsenal number one ahead of Bernd Leno.
When Spurs did raise a gallop in the second half, Ramsdale dived low to turn Kane’s shot wide then showed ability and technique to thwart Moura.
Arteta was all smiles as he took the acclaim of Arsenal’s elated fans after the final whistle – and who can blame him? This was as convincing as the Gunners have looked for a long time under his stewardship.
More to follow.
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- 34XhakaSubstituted forSambi Lokongaat 82′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 7SakaSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 87′minutes
- 8ØdegaardBooked at 88mins
- 10Smith RoweSubstituted forVarela Tavaresat 88′minutes
- 17Cédric Soares
- 20Varela Tavares
- 23Sambi Lokonga
- 25TangangaSubstituted forLeite de Souza Juniorat 45′minutes
- 6D Sánchez
- 20AlliSubstituted forSkippat 45′minutesBooked at 67mins
- 28NdombeleSubstituted forGilat 70′minutes
- 27Lucas Moura
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 12Leite de Souza Junior
- 18Lo Celso
- Craig Pawson
Match ends, Arsenal 3, Tottenham Hotspur 1.
Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Tottenham Hotspur 1.
Foul by Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur).
Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Bryan Gil (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal).
Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Eric Dier tries a through ball, but Son Heung-Min is caught offside.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Attempt saved. Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Bryan Gil (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Albert Sambi Lokonga (Arsenal).
Foul by Emerson Royal (Tottenham Hotspur).
Nuno Tavares (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur).
Thomas Partey (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Arsenal. Nuno Tavares replaces Emile Smith Rowe.
Substitution, Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaces Bukayo Saka.
Foul by Emerson Royal (Tottenham Hotspur).