Arsenal claimed an emphatic 3-1 victory over North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates on Saturday to remain top of the Premier League.
Thomas Partey opened the scoring with a superb curled strike from the edge of the 18-yard-box following a softly weighted layoff from Ben White, but Spurs striker Harry Kane hit back to level the scores in an end-to-end first half with a well-taken penalty — his 14th goal in the derby.
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Spurs looked sluggish after the restart, and it did not take Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus long to send the hosts back in front with his fifth goal of the season — despite being left out of last month’s Brazil squad. He punished a mistake from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who parried a strike from Bukayo Saka only to see it deflect off defender Cristian Romero and roll under his body, allowing Jesus to pounce for an easy finish.
Spurs’ task was made harder shortly after the hour mark when defender Emerson Royal was handed a straight red card for a reckless tackle on Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka then extended Arsenal’s lead with a powerful finish past a helpless Lloris.
Saturday’s result means Arsenal stay top of the Premier League ahead of defending champions Manchester City, who face a local derby of their own against Manchester United on Sunday.
“Looking at the table and seeing the club in this position is great,” Arteta said. “It gives you a great feeling obviously. But we are focused. It’s a really hungry and humble teamy, believe me. It’s nothing that we have done yet and there’s still a lot of things to improve. That’s the direction we’re taking.”
When asked if Arsenal are title contenders, Arteta said: “I’ll leave that to you guys, honestly. We just started and we’re really happy with where we are. We understand that you can’t control because emotion is related. The table says what it says and we don’t look at that.”
Meanwhile, Spurs missed an opportunity to leapfrog Arsenal and must wait until this season’s reverse fixture to end their 12-year wait for a league win in the derby.
“From the first second I think we were the better team,” Xhaka said. “After we conceded we were struggling a little bit, but in the second half we were much better, and I am so happy to score my first derby goal and help the team to win.”
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.