Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham: Gunners extend perfect home record and lead at the top of the table
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal ensured that they will remain top of the Premier League until the next round of fixtures comes around, with a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium against rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

A fast start from the hosts was reflected by Thomas Partey putting the hosts ahead in the 20th minute. His long-range, curling effort seemed to set off a comfortable afternoon for the Arsenal - who looked a class above the visitors.

However, Spurs came alive midway through the first half. Harry Kane struck from the spot after 31 minutes and ensured that the two teams headed into the break level, with the game nicely poised for the restart.

The second half will be one that Tottenham will want to swiftly forget. An early goal from Gabriel Jesus, following a disappointing bit of play from Hugo Lloris, was compounded by Emerson Royal's sending off in the 62nd minute.

The final nail in the coffin was Granit Xhaka's precise strike from inside of the box to seal the final scoreline and a deserved win for Arsenal.

Story of the match

Arsenal welcomed Martin Ødegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko back into their 11 after the pair missed the previous trip to Brentford through injuries. They were the hosts' only two changes, with Fabio Vieira and Kieran Tierney dropping down to the bench.

A 6-2 win against Leicester last time out did not lead to an unchanged Tottenham team - Cristian Romero, Emerson and Heung-min Son came in to strengthen the visitors. The trio replaced Davinson Sanchez, Ryan Sessegnon and the injured Dejan Kulusevski - who could not make the bench today. 

A lighting start from the hosts led to Tottenham being put under severe pressure right from the first few minutes. Gabriel Martinelli had a shot from inside of the box, which struck Lloris' near post in the 3rd minute. Within a minute, Xhaka almost produced an audacious, acrobatic finish as the visitors struggled to get any kind of early possession.

Antonio Conte's men continued to sit in and aimed to maintain some defensive stability. The flurry of early half-chances from the hosts was negotiated and Tottenham, surprisingly, were the team with the best chance of the game early on.

Arsenal's high line - attempting to deal with Tottenham's deep free-kick, led to Richarlison having a huge chance to break the deadlock. A soft, perfectly-placed delivery into the large open space from Son led to Eric Dier touching the ball onto the Brazilian forward - his sharp, low effort was very well kept out by Aaron Ramsdale.

The hosts looked to respond swiftly to that scare. Granit Xhaka's long-range, low effort was powerfully struck and whistled just wide of the far post as the clock ticked past the quarter of an hour mark.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Just a few minutes later, it was another long-range strike which gave Arsenal the lead. Partey produced a first-time shot after Benjamin White's lay-off, which nestled in the top corner of the near post of Tottenham's goal. It was a fantastic, whipped strike from the midfielder, with the perfect combination of power and precision.

Following the opener, Arsenal continued to look like the more threatening team and Tottenham's unbeaten Premier League record - dating back to April, looked under serious threat.

Ivan Perisic had an unexpectedly large pocket of space open up in front of him, down his left-hand side. He took the opportunity to enter the Arsenal box and produce a left-footed strike, but it sailed just wide of and over the near post. 

However, this was only a sign of the Tottenham threat. A neat bit of play involving the visitors' front three led to another entry into the Arsenal box. It seemed as if the danger of Richarlison was negotiated, but a poor headed clearance led to the ball falling back to the Brazilian. He took it down well and lured his international team-mate - Gabriel, into a loose challenge, leading to an easy penalty for Anthony Taylor to give.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Kane, as ever, was reliable from the spot. He slotted his penalty down the middle, past the diving Ramsdale and Tottenham were right back in the game.

The action-packed first half was living up to the North London derby tag. Following the equaliser, both teams looked bright and dangerous going forward. The early level of assurance and confidence displayed by Arsenal seemed to have faded away as Tottenham improved significantly.

The most notable chance, before the break, came after a magical bit of play from Jesus. He effortlessly took on Emerson and Romero, showing off his fantastic, quick feet and found himself within close range of Lloris. The goalkeeper did well to close down the space for Jesus and was forced to make a good save and keep the score level going into the break.

Spurs implode in second half

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Following the restart, the action did not stop. Bukayo Saka had an effort at Lloris' goal from the right side. The shot was not optimally dealt with by the keeper as he parried the ball directly ahead of him - into the path of Romero. With no time to react, the defender could only have the ball bounce back off him into Lloris - who had the ball creep under his body, as he tried to claim it, leaving Jesus with a tap-in into the open net, to put the hosts back ahead.

Much like the start to the first half, Tottenham were struggling to pose any kind of threat to the hosts in the early stages of the second half. It took until the 59th minute for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to have the visitors' first threatening attempt at Ramsdale's goal. In an identical situation to when Partey got the game's opener, Hojbjerg's strike ended up going quite comfortably over the bar.

A completely needless challenge from Emerson on Martinelli ended up with Tottenham going down to ten men. With no threat to his team whatsoever, in the Arsenal half, the wing-back drove his foot into Martinelli's calf, leaving his team in a desperate situation. The tackle may not have seemed an obvious red card decision, but it was never going to be regarded as a 'clear and obvious error' - required for the decision to be overturned. 

Shortly after, the game was put to bed. Just as Antonio Conte was preparing a triple substitution, Martinelli's neat movement inside saw him laying the ball off to Xhaka - finding plenty of room around 11 yards from goal, slightly left of the penalty spot. The midfielder produced a smart, low strike to Lloris' left side and doubled Arsenal's lead.

As such, the fate of the visitors was sealed. With Son and Richarlison coming off in the 70th minute, Tottenham's intentions were clear and understandable - down by two goals and to ten men, damage limitation became the priority of the afternoon. 

The pace of the game dropped off fairly significantly as it entered the last quarter of an hour. Arsenal were content with keeping a hold of the ball, as they did for the majority of the afternoon, but doing so with a significantly larger degree of comfort than earlier in the game.

Without any events of significant note occurring before the final whistle, a 3-1 North London derby victory for Arsenal was confirmed. The Gunners extended their lead over second-placed Manchester City to four points before tomorrow's Manchester derby. 

For Tottenham, this was only their first defeat in the Premier League, this season. However, with performances not being overly impressive in a large part of games in this campaign, there is going to be a bit more concern among the fanbase. Until next weekend, they will remain in third place in the league, with an important midweek Champions League fixture at Eintracht Frankfurt to come, before that.

Player of the match - Granit Xhaka

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Xhaka is a rejuvenated man, this season. He has been playing with the license to operate in attacking areas and his two goals and three assists are a fair reflection of the success he has been having in this role, so far.

He was the player to put the game to bed, by getting Arsenal's third goal of the afternoon and was a vital, energetic presence throughout the game. 

Xhaka's connection with new signing, Oleksandr Zinchenko, down the left side looks to be one of the significant new elements of this Arsenal team, which might be turning them into unlikely title challengers.

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