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 scored early with a penalty but Spurs led after half-time after an equaliser from Eric Dier and a disputed penalty converted by Harry Kane.
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.
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.