Arsenal have claimed the first North London Derby triumph of the Premier League season, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a well-contested afternoon of football at the Emirates Stadium.
With the visitors coming into the game as favourites, a goal apiece for Skhodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez ensured somewhat of an upset, with Arsenal also picking up their first win in the month November.
The Gunners commenced the main event with a strong XI, complete with the return of Mustafi at the heart of the defence and the likes of Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette in attack.
In a lively start to proceedings, both centre forwards at either end received early sightings of goal within the first six minutes, with Lacazette firing high before Petr Čech was able to smother Harry Kane’s reply.
Lacazette neared his first derby goal in the 19th minute when Mesut Özil spotted Héctor Bellerín’s darting run to set up a daisy-cutter across goal, with Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez doing just enough to keep the French striker away from the ball’s path.
For all the pressure mounted by Arsenal, it was Spurs who’d pick up the next couple of moments in the game, as Christian Eriksen looked to force his team ahead with a shot clipping the outside of Čech’s post prior to Kane’s header in 33rd minute that was well-caught by the Czech Republican.
The hosts replied and would open Spurs up via a set-piece, as Mustafi marked his return to the starting XI with a looping header into the far-post in the 36th minute, giving Arsenal a 1-0 lead.
Arsène Wenger’s men made their momentum count, with Lacazette hanging on the last man before hitting the byline and a cross into Sanchez, who’d eventually compose himself and smash the ball into the roof of the net to double the Gunners’ lead in the 41st minute.
Arsenal readied themselves for a Tottenham response in the second period and dealt with the threat coming from the away end, with a more combative iteration of the Lilywhites muted throughout large portions of the second half.
A pair of sightings of goal came Sanchez’s way in a bid to put the game to bed, the last of which emerging in the 74th minute deep inside the Tottenham area before the Chilean could run out of space to angle a shot past Hugo Lloris.
Čech had to be on his toes to deny Dier’s header from the back-post in the 82nd minute, as both sides geared themselves for the final exchanges.
A renewed Spurs attack consisting of Son Heung-Min and Fernando Llorente linked up for the former to fire at goal, but the South Korean, much like the rest of his team, would have no luck in finding the back of net en route to a 2-0 victory for Arsenal at full-time.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Petr Čech (7) – Laurent Koscielny (8), Shkodran Mustafi (8), Nacho Monreal (8) – Héctor Bellerín (7), Aaron Ramsey (8), Granit Xhaka (7),Sead Kolašinac (7) – Mesut Özil (9), Alexandre Lacazette (7), Alexis Sanchez (7)
Subs: Francis Coquelin (6), Alex Iwobi (N/A)