Arsenal fans still celebrate in song the glory years when they enjoyed title victory on enemy territory at Tottenham in the Double-winning year of 1971 and again under Arsene Wenger in 2004.
And Arsenal supporters of a different vintage were singing again after an outstanding, mature display in a 2-0 win at Spurs gave them a formidable eight-point advantage at the Premier League summit.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are still very a long way from champions and this win came at a different arena than the old White Hart Lane, but if they do not believe they can win the title again after this latest victory then they never will.
The eye was briefly taken away from the conclusion of this triumph by a flare-up between Spurs substitute Richarlison and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who was then kicked by a home supporter.
When temperatures cooled Arteta took his players, including Ramsdale, away from the melee to run the length of the field to celebrate with Arsenal’s ecstatic fans in the far corner of the stadium.
In control of the title race. The north London derby double secured in style. Confidence and self-belief coursing through Arsenal. They have been the Premier League’s best team over these first 18 games and fully deserve to be in such a powerful position.
And if Arsenal have put together anything more impressive this season than the first 45 minutes here, as they completely outclassed Spurs on the way to winning a derby away from Emirates Stadium for the first time since March 2014, it must have been one special show.
Arsenal arrived at Spurs in the knowledge that a win would not only end that barren sequence but give them that big lead over Manchester City. It would have brought a sense of excitement but also pressure.
Yet if Arsenal’s players felt any pressure they made light of it in a magnificent first half, when an own goal by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Martin Odegaard’s low shot gave them a 2-0 lead that was less than their supremacy deserved.
Arsenal have been passing these tests with regularity this season and they face another one against Manchester United’s renaissance men at home next Sunday. They sailed through this examination in style at the expense of the old enemy. Arsenal were running on fresh legs while Spurs seemed to be running in treacle.
There is still more than half the Premier League season to go and much can happen – but with reigning champions City not quite themselves, Liverpool having a nightmare, Chelsea in chaotic transition and Manchester United rebuilding, Arsenal have a huge chance to win their first Premier League title since “The Invincibles” season of 2003-04.
Sometimes the cards fall and an opportunity presents itself. This looks more like Arsenal’s big opportunity with every passing week.
There is still work to be done, some of it this month in the transfer market.
Arsenal were disappointed to miss out on Shakhtar Donetsk forward Mykhailo Mudryk, who suddenly changed direction across London to Chelsea, and attacking reinforcements are required with Gabriel Jesus a long-term absentee, even though Eddie Nketiah has stepped up to outstanding effect.
And such is Thomas Partey’s growing influence in midfield that Arteta will be desperate to ensure any of his previous injury problems do not recur.
Here, however, Arsenal looked the complete team, from the intensity, speed, passing and threat of the first half to the steel of the second, when their nerve was tested by a trademark improvement by Spurs.
Amid the increased pressure, Ramsdale was outstanding while every Arsenal defender stood up to be counted, the old arguments questioning the team’s heart and stomach for battle looking very tired.
It was all a far cry from this same game back in May, when Arsenal crumbled to a 3-0 loss that proved pivotal to Spurs pipping them to a place in the Champions League on the final day of the season.
Odegaard was the consummate midfield orchestrator and leader while Gabriel Martinelli showed how much enjoyment he gets from playing in this Arsenal side in a moment of sheer audacity, controlling a pass with his back in the second half.
Bukayo Saka ran Spurs ragged in the first half, his cross causing Lloris’s fateful fumble for the first goal, while Arsenal’s pressing and ability to regain possession quickly was simply too much for Antonio Conte’s side.
Arsenal’s celebrations at the final whistle reflected the significance of this win, not just because this was a north London derby, but in the wider title context.
It’s been a perfect weekend for Arteta and his players, and the title race is now firmly in their hands.
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