Tottenham 0-2 Arsenal: Gunners fans dream of the Premier League title after an extraordinary victory

Arsenal fans are still in song celebrating the glory years when they enjoyed winning the title in hostile territory at Tottenham in the year of the double in 1971 and again under Arsene Wenger in 2004.

And Arsenal fans of a different era were singing again after a remarkable, mature display in the Spurs win 2-0 it took them an incredible eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are still a long way from being champions and this victory came in a different arena to the old White Hart Lane, but if they don’t believe they can win the title again after this latest victory, then they never will.

The eye was briefly diverted from the conclusion of this triumph by a clash between Spurs substitute Richarlison and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who was then hit by a home fan.

As the temperatures cooled, Arteta led his players, including Ramsdale, out of the melee to run across the pitch and celebrate with Arsenal’s ecstatic fans in the far corner of the stadium.

He controls the title race. The North London derby double was secured in style. Confidence and self-belief run through Arsenal. They have been the best team in the Premier League in these first 18 games and fully deserve to be in such a powerful position.

And if Arsenal have produced anything more impressive this season than the first 45 minutes here, as they completely outclassed Spurs en route to a derby victory away to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since March 2014, it was certainly one special performance.

Arsenal arrived at Spurs knowing that a win would not only end that barren run, but give them a huge advantage over Manchester City. That would bring a sense of excitement, but also pressure.

Yet if Arsenal’s players felt any pressure, they played it down in a magnificent first half, when Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’s own goal and Martin Odegaard’s low strike took a 2-0 lead less than their dominance deserved.

Arsenal have regularly passed those tests this season and will face another against renaissance men Manchester United at home next Sunday. They sailed through this trial in style at the expense of an old enemy. Arsenal were running on fresh legs, while Spurs seemed to be running on molasses.

There’s still more than half of the Premier League season to go and a lot can happen – but with current champions City out of sorts, Liverpool having a nightmare, Chelsea in chaotic transition and Manchester United on the mend, Arsenal have a great chance to win their the first Premier League title since the “Invincibles” season of 2003-2004.

Sometimes the cards fall and an opportunity presents itself. This is looking more and more like Arsenal’s big chance every week.

There is still work to be done, some of it this month in the transfer market.

Arsenal were disappointed to miss out on Shakhtar Donetsk striker Mykhail Mudryk, who made a sudden switch across London to Chelsea, and attacking reinforcements are needed with Gabriel Jesus sidelined for a long time, although Eddie Nketiah produced an outstanding performance.

And the increasing influence of Thomas Partey in midfield is such that Arteta will be desperate to ensure that some of his previous injury problems do not recur.

Here, however, Arsenal looked the complete team, from intensity, speed, passing and threat in the first half to steel in the second, when their nerves were tested by a trademark improvement from Spurs.

Amid the increased pressure, Ramsdale was outstanding as every Arsenal defender stood up to be counted, the old arguments questioning the team’s heart and stomach for battle looked very tired.

It was all a far cry from this same game in May, when Arsenal lost 3-0 in what proved to be the key to Spurs’ Champions League spot on the final day of the season.

Martin Odegaard
Martin Odegaard is Arsenal’s top scorer in the Premier League this season with eight goals

Odegaard was the ultimate orchestrator and leader of the midfield, while Gabriel Martinelli showed how much he enjoys playing in this Arsenal team in a moment of pure audacity, controlling a pass with his back in the second half.

Bukayo Saka led the way for Spurs in the first half, his cross causing Lloris’ fateful kick for the first goal, while Arsenal’s pressing and ability to quickly regain possession was simply too much for Antonio Conte’s side.

Arsenal’s celebration at the final whistle reflected the importance of this victory, not only because this was a north London derby, but also in the wider context of the title.

It was a perfect weekend for Arteta and his players, and the title race is now firmly in their hands.

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