Arsenal stole the bragging rights in north London with a 2-0 victory over neighbours Tottenham at The Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
There was talk pre-match of a power shift in this area of London after Spurs finished above the Gunners last season but goals from Shkodran Mustafi (36) and Alexis Sanchez (41) ended Arsenal’s longest ever winless run against their fiercest rivals (six games).
Both goals seemed to irk the Tottenham coaching staff, who could be seen remonstrating with the officials at half-time over some debatable calls from referee Mike Dean and his officials but Arsenal were worthy winners.
The defeat was Mauricio Pochettino’s first north London derby reverse in the Premier League as Spurs continued to struggle away from home against the other top six teams, having now claimed just three wins from 32 away days against the ‘big six’.
Meanwhile, Arsenal – who showed steel as well as style when it mattered – have won their opening six Premier League home games for the first time since 2007.
The Gunners showed positive intent early as Spurs played a waiting, counter-attack based game.
There was a heart-in-mouth moment for Jan Vertonghen on seven minutes as Mesut Ozil barged in behind him but referee Dean spotted a foul. Alexandre Lacazette was then inches away from connecting with a Hector Bellerin centre on 19 minutes but Spurs just did enough to survive.
Christen Eriksen clipped a post with a 20-yard effort but it was slim pickings for Spurs, who fell behind on 36 minutes.
After a debatable foul was awarded down the left flank, Ozil whipped in an accurate ball that was wonderfully headed home by Mustafi, who was making his first start since recovering from a thigh injury.
Arsenal’s pace in behind always seemed to worry Vertonghen and Eric Dier, therefore it was not a surprise when the Gunners made it 2-0 via that method on 41 minutes. Lacazette – who looked borderline offside – sprinted to the byline and cut the ball back for Sanchez. He took a touch before firing home from a tight angle. Spurs look stunned.
There was a brief rally after the break from the visitors as Harry Kane appealed for a penalty under pressure from Granit Xhaka before he picked himself up and had a low effort blocked away by the impressive Mustafi.
Moments of pressure like that were all too rare though from Pochettino’s men, who looked short on confidence despite winning more away Premier League games in 2017 than any other team.
Pochettino summed up their struggles by removing Kane and Dele Alli for Fernando Llorente and Heung-Min Son with 15 minutes left. It had little effect on proceedings as despite a flying save from Petr Cech to deny Dier, Arsenal seemed in full control and saw the game out.
© Sky Sports