LONDON (REUTERS) - Arsenal's resurgence continued with a 3-1 victory over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur as the two north London clubs continued to move in opposite directions in the Premier League on Sunday (Sept 26).
Goals by Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka crowned a majestic first-half display by Arsenal, who were sharper and hungrier than a listless Tottenham side.
Smith Rowe swept in Arsenal's opener in the 12th minute and then set up Aubameyang in the 27th minute and when Saka made it 3-0 in the 34th minute the hosts were running riot.
There was a little more fight about Tottenham after the break and Son Heung-min pulled a goal back with little over 10 minutes remaining, but it was too little too late for the visitors, whose early-season optimism has evaporated.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris admitted his side got “smashed” in a dreadful first-half display.
“We lost complete control in the first half. We got smashed and then had a good reaction,” the Frenchman said.
“It’s frustrating and very disappointing. It’s the moment to stick together and carry on. The players were ready but we lost a bit of control. We lost balance in the middle of the pitch.”
After losing their opening three Premier League games without scoring a goal, Arsenal have now won three in a row and are above Tottenham who, after winning their opening three to top the table, have lost three London derbies in succession, conceding nine goals in the process.
Arsenal, who were bottom after three games, are now in 10th place with nine points, ahead of Tottenham on goals scored.
A few weeks after some fans were calling for the Spaniard to be shown the door following a calamitous start to the Premier League season, Arteta appears to have turned things around.
Arteta has spoken in depth about rebuilding a squad for the future and in exciting young talents such as Rowe, Saka, Ben White and Kieran Tierney, Arsenal’s fans have genuine hope of brighter things to come.
The fans responded to create a buoyant atmosphere not heard at The Emirates for a long time.
“This win is for the fans. They were there when we needed their support. We started really strongly and were determined. In the second half we had to do what we had to do,” Arteta said.
“It’s a special day. Today is one example of what we want to do. But we have to be consistent.
“We had great determination, great energy and great quality. I really enjoyed it. I see the belief the players have in what we do. They have the quality to put it into practice.”
He added: “When you concede three goals in each of the last three league games you cannot hide the problems.
“But we are professional. There is a long way to go. We need to stay calm.”
Manager Nuno Espirito Santo said his side must now recover “mentally and physically for the next one”, which is a home clash next weekend against an Aston Villa team buoyant after beating Manchester United. Lose that and the rumblings off discontent will increase in volume considerably.
“We didn’t achieve the standards that our fans deserve every day,” the Portuguese said of his side’s display.
“We will try to fix it. The only message I can say by words, after that it is only by work.
“It is taking us too much time to go back to the things we want to do and the things we want to do as a team. We want to be a team that is fast, stronger, solid, dominant.
“We are not being that team.”
Nuno hauled off the disappointing Dele Alli and Japhet Tanganga at half-time and while there was a slight improvement after the break with Son grabbing a consolation goal, the manager said he had to take some blame.
“Not today,” he said when asked whether the players had carried out the tactics. “I decided bad. I didn’t take the right decisions and I refuse to go out more further than that.”