Arsenal’s revival gathered pace as Tottenham Hotspur’s recent decline continued in an entertaining 3-1 north London derby win for the Gunners at the 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.
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 Bukayo Saka, Emile 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.
Smith Rowe started the celebrations for the Arsenal fans when he arrived unmarked to sweep home 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.
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.
But Spurs manager, Nuno, cut a brooding, powerless figure in his technical area as he watched his side taken to the cleaners by Arsenal in that dismal first 45 minutes.
It was as bad as it gets, with Spurs’ body language betraying a lack of belief and no discernible tactical plan. They were pinned on the ropes for the entire half, not helping their cause by being second to pretty much every ball and wasting possession on the rare occasions they had it.
Nuno has watched his side concede three goals in three successive league games, a worrying sign for a manager renowned for establishing a solid defensive platform.
The manager himself looked a beaten man at times, a motionless presence as the full scale of Spurs’ capitulation unfolded in front of him.