Unai Emery’s first north London derby will live long in the memory. With six goals, two penalties, a red card and an almighty skirmish, this was a passionate derby which swung one way and back before a late release of euphoria for Arsenal supporters.
After dominating this neighbourhood for so long, those in red-and-white have taken their medicine as Tottenham rose up under Mauricio Pochettino but this was a day for them to savour.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) scored twice, while Alexandre Lacazette (left) also netted as Arsenal beat Tottenham
The result at the Emirates on Sunday saw new Arsenal manager Unai Emery taste victory on his north London derby debut
Visitors Spurs led 2-1 at half-time following goals scored by England internationals Eric Dier (centre) and Harry Kane (left)
But Lucas Torreira’s goal consigned Spurs to defeat and saw the Gunners climb above them in the Premier League table
Aubameyang levelled after the interval before Alex Lacazette struck after a mistake on half-way by young Tottenham centre-half Juan Foyth and a deflection off Dier, and Lucas Torreira completed the scoring.
Jan Vertonghen was sent off in the closing minutes for a second yellow card and will miss the game against Southampton on Wednesday. It was a contest when tempers flared regularly.
Emery, having spent most of the game directing his team from the touchline, sank back into his seat and allowed himself to smile and enjoy the closing stages.
The new Arsenal manager can be very satisfied with his first four months at work. His team are now 19 games unbeaten in all competitions, playing with energy and desire and are above Tottenham on goal difference.
Mauricio Pochettino will perhaps claim this was one big-game too far after a week featuring impressive victories against Chelsea and Inter Milan.
Pochettino’s players looked weary at times. Vertonghen, in his second game back after injury, seemed off the pace and Arsenal looked far sharper and fresher.
PLAYER RATINGS AND LIVE PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
Arsenal 3-4-3: Leno 7; Mustafi 6.5 (Guendouzi 71), Sokratis 7, Holding 6.5; Bellerin 6.5, Torreira 7, Xhaka 7.5, Kolasinac 7.5; Mkhitaryan 5 (Lacazette 46, 7), Aubameyang 8, Iwobi 6 (Ramsey 46, 7)
Subs not used: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Elneny
Goals: Aubameyang 10 (pen) and 56, Lacazette 74, Torreira 77
Bookings: Mustafi, Xhaka, Torreira
Manager: Unai Emery 8
Tottenham 4-3-1-2: Lloris 6.5; Aurier 5, Foyth 5, Vertonghen 5, Davies 6 (Rose, 82); Sissoko 6, Dier 6, Eriksen 6; Alli 6 (Winks, 79); Son 6 (Moura, 79), Kane 6
Goals: Dier 30, Kane 34 (pen)
Bookings: Vertonghen, Dier, Alli, Aurier.
Sent off: Vertonghen.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Walker-Peters, Llorente.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino 6
Ref: Mike Dean 6
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Aubameyang’s second goal came from a move started by No 16 Holding, who found Bellerin before the right back fed Ramsey, with the Welshman claiming the assist
Kolasinac covered a lot of ground and was frequently up and down the Arsenal left, as illustrated by the wing back’s heatmap
For more stats and maps visit Sportsmail’s brilliant Match Zone.
Jan Vertonghen (centre) was penalised for handball which gave Arsenal a chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot
Aubameyang converted the penalty from 12 yards to hand Arsenal an early lead at the Emirates Stadium in north London
Gabon international striker Aubameyang celebrated his opener in acrobatic style as he flipped his body forward 360 degrees
Arsenal’s first-half lead was short-lived as Tottenham midfielder Dier headed in an equaliser around the half-hour mark
German Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno will be disappointed with his role in Dier’s goal as he failed to gather the shot cleanly
Players from both sides watched on as Leno fumbled the ball and it ended up inside the Arsenal net to make the score 1-1
Dier placed his finger to his lips and hushed the Arsenal supporters after drawing Tottenham level on Sunday afternoon
As Spurs celebrated their equaliser, Arsenal substitute Stephan Lichtsteiner (far right) had a row with Moussa Sissoko
Both sets of players clashed on the pitch and even suited Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino entered the field of play
Emery stuck with the back-three system which proved effective at Bournemouth and Arsenal made a confident start at a healthy tempo. For half an hour they were too quick for Spurs, first to the ball in midfield, and dragged the visitors around out of shape.
Pochettino deployed a midfield diamond but they were unable to get a grip on possession and bring the two strikers into the game.
Arsenal took an early from a penalty, given against Jan Vertonghen who, having lost Shkodran Mustafi at a free-kick, deflected the ball from Granit Xhaka away from his head with a hand.
It was the right call by referee Mike Dean and Aubameyang stepped up to convert from the spot, sending goalkeeper Hugo Lloris the wrong way as he claimed his 11th goal in all competitions this season.
Arsenal had opportunities to consolidate this lead with wing-back Sead Kolasinac causing major problems for Spurs right-back Serge Aurier, and a terrific chance fell to Aubameyang, soon after his opener.
One Kolasinac cross clipped Juan Foyth and dropped just behind Aubameyang, who adjusted his feet to turn an effort on target but could not generate the power to beat Lloris.
Referee Mike Dean had already pointed to the spot once when he awarded Spurs a penalty before the half-time interval
Arsenal’s Rob Holding (left) was punished for sliding in and fouling Tottenham’s South Korean superstar Heung-min Son
England captain Kane sent Arsenal keeper Leno the wrong way as he converted his penalty to give Tottenham a 2-1 lead
London derby specialist Kane jumped in the air as the Spurs striker celebrated his 13th goal of the season for club and country
Alex Iwobi connected sweetly with another low cross from Kolasinac and Lloris saved with his right boot.
Arsenal might have been comfortably ahead but slowly Tottenham survived the barrage and found a way back into the game through Dier, who beat Bernd Leno with a glancing header at the near post from an in-swinging free-kick, delivered by Christian Eriksen.
Leno has been impressive since he dislodged Petr Cech as number one goalkeeper but he ought to have done better with this at his near post.
The celebrations turned ugly with players and staff from both teams sprinting to get involved near the corner of the pitch.
Tottenham took advantage of the mayhem which briefly descended and punished Arsenal with a second goal within four minutes of the first.
It came from a penalty won by Heung-min Son, who had been the most dangerous Spurs player on the break in the first half.
Twice he forced saves from Leno but this time, darting into the penalty in an inside left channel, he waited for Rob Holding to make a challenge as he sprinted across to cover.
As soon as Holding arrived, Son hit the turf. The contract was minimal but Referee Dean pointed to the spot and Kane made no mistake.
Tottenham goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris pulled off a fine save early in the second half to tip the ball onto the crossbar
Arsenal levelled when Aubameyang got his second goal of the afternoon by curling home under pressure from Serge Aurier
Aubameyang celebrated by stretching out both arms after notching his 12th goal of the season in all competitions for Arsenal
France forward Laczette was soon celebrating too after scoring the goal that put the Gunners 3-2 ahead after 74 minutes
Laczette lost his footing as he shot but his effort took a significant defection off Dier before creeping into the corner of the net
The visitors had fought their way back and into the lead.
Lloris saved from Aubameyang and Mustafi before half-time when Emery made a double-change, sending on Aaron Ramsey and Alex Lacazette and adjusting to a 3-4-1-2 shape.
Ramsey played in the hole behind the two strikers and Pochettino responded by shifting Dier into the centre of a back-three.
It was Leno who made the first save of the second half, tipping over a free-kick by Kane and Arsenal were soon level.
Again, it was Aubameyang with a superb finish to a clinical move. A pass from Hector Bellerin was cut square by Ramsey and Aurier was caught flat-footed as Aubameyang eased onto the ball and smashed it past Lloris.
Emery’s team applied more pressure. Alli cleared off the line to deny Mustafi and Lucas Torreira fired over. Sokratis headed over from a corner.
A mistake by Bellerin presented Son with a chance but 20 yards from goal and unable to beat Leno who pushed his effort away with ease.
Foyth was dispossessed by Ramsey in the lead up to Lacazette’s goal and Torreira scored a delightful fourth, whipping off his shirt to celebrate.
Midfielder Torreira gave Arsenal a two-goal advantage when he beat Lloris to score for the first time in his English club career
Arsenal ace Torreira was shown a yellow card for taking his shirt off while celebrating the game’s sixth goal on Sunday
Tottenham ended the contest with 10 men after Belgian centre back Vertonghen was dismissed for two bookable offences
Ref Dean looked certain he had made the correct decision as he held the red card aloft during the 85th minute of the game