North London derbies are special occasions for everyone involved and Saturday’s lunch-time kick off was no different. Emirates Stadium is rarely home to such raucous support unless the likes of FC Koln are visiting but there is something adrenaline-pumping about meetings between these two.
Arsenal and Tottenham fans hate each other, the players produce the kind of tackles which supporters love to see and major broadcasters across the world stream the game to far-flung countries most haven’t even heard of.
A lot has been written about there being a power shift over the last two years in North London towards Spurs - and it’s clear a gap has formed where consistency in results is concerned. However, there can still be no argument about who the bigger of the two teams still is and that is what many Gooners will take comfort from.
As a supporter, would one prefer three FA Cups in four years or one season of Champions League football and finishing above Arsenal for the first time in 20 years?
Gunners supporters have lofty expectations which haven’t been met by a side who were below par throughout most of last term but they have still had more to cheer about than Spurs fans. And performances such as this provide plenty of hope and give manager Arsene Wenger some respite going into a relatively stress-free set of winter fixtures.
Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette were at their scintillating best against Tottenham, with the former two supplying a goal and assist between them. Goal-scorer Alexis was unplayable at times and could have grabbed a second strike late on after a brilliant solo run.
It was the work-rate from Arsenal’s midfielders and solidity in defence – with the returning Shkodran Mustafi standing out – which really shone through. The German international defender was criticised for several erratic display at the backend of last season but he put in a performance worthy of a £35 million centre back. And he opened the scoring here with a bullet header.
There is no better barometer of success than trophies and Arsenal have put a huge dent in the title hope of Spurs, who were already eight points behind runaway leaders Manchester City before the start of play on Saturday.
While Tottenham may still finish above Wenger’s men, it’s worth noting that they haven’t won a trophy since their 2008 League Cup triumph. The hype over a team filled with England players can certainly be justified at times, but when it has really counted Pochettino’s side have slipped away like Spurs teams of the past.
As full-time approached, the home fans could be heard taunting their rivals by screaming “you ain’t won nothing yet”. This sensation will be felt across north London over the weekend as Arsenal celebrate painting the north side of London red yet again. Derby games mean a lot to everyone involved and Wenger will certainly be delighted with the brilliant performance and result on Saturday.