Revived 'Gunners' claim easy derby win over sorry Spurs
Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka were all on target as Arsenal defeated Tottenham in the North London derby.
Having initially made a strong start to life under Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs have now lost three successive league games, with their manager seeing his first derby effectively lost inside the first 45 minutes.
Emile Smith Rowe's 12th-minute strike gave Arsenal a deserved lead, which was doubled when he teed up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 15 minutes later.
Spurs offered limp resistance and the game was essentially put to bed by the excellent Bukayo Saka, with Son Heung-min's effort a mere consolation for Tottenham.
Smith Rowe rewarded Arsenal for a bright start when he drifted towards the near post to slot Saka's clever low delivery beyond a rooted Hugo Lloris.
Thomas Partey tested Lloris from range and Aubameyang fired a long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar before Spurs threatened a riposte through Son, who forced Aaron Ramsdale to turn behind from a tight angle.
Aubameyang found the desired accuracy to double Arsenal's lead as Spurs were caught on the counter, the Gabon forward freeing Smith Rowe down the left with a neat backheel and then firing into the bottom-right corner from the eventual return pass.
Tottenham failed to learn their lesson and were undone by another Arsenal break. It was Saka this time who was given the freedom of one flank, and he surged into the open space to tuck home after seeing Harry Kane block his attempted pass to Aubameyang.
After his defensive efforts fell short, Kane then missed a glaring opportunity to offer a more traditional contribution to proceedings as he headed wide unmarked from a corner, encapsulating an awful first half for Spurs.
Kane did draw a save from Ramsdale on the hour mark and then beat the Arsenal goalkeeper, only to see his dinked effort drift wide of the right-hand post.
Son side-footed beyond Ramsdale, with Granit Xhaka injured in the build-up, but those were the only blots on a superb day for Arsenal, who survived an injury-time scare when their goalkeeper tipped a Lucas Moura strike onto the crossbar.
2020 - Arsenal will end today above Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table for the first time since October 25th 2020. Superiority. pic.twitter.com/Lw5tYv6epQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 26, 2021
What does it mean? Arsenal into top half above slumping Spurs
Arsenal lost their first three league games of the season by an aggregate score of 9-0, while Tottenham reeled off three successive wins to set the early pace.
Spurs clearly looked like the superior North London side at that point, but a reversal in fortunes means Arsenal are now into the top half, above their arch rivals on goal difference.
Young Gunners firing on all cylinders
With his opener, Smith Rowe became the youngest Arsenal player to score in a North London derby since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2014 at 21 years and 43 days.
That was until he was upstaged by Saka, who found the net at the age of 20 years and 21 days. Smith Rowe and Saka each finished with a goal and assist, the latter replacing Cesc Fabregas as the youngest player to do so in a North London derby in Premier League history.
Three not a magic number for Tottenham
Spurs' dismal defensive display saw them concede three goals in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since September 2003. Tottenham already appear to be fading as a force in terms of competing for the Champions League.
Arsenal visit surprise package Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday. Spurs host Aston Villa a day later, three days after taking on Mura in the Europa Conference League.
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