Arsenal moved to within four points of the Premier League summit with a narrow 1-0 win over rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Tomas Rosicky’s thunderbolt after 72 seconds proved decisive, as Arsene Wenger’s side put to bed the disappointment of Tuesday’s Champions League exit to Bayern Munich with a dogged away performance.
Nacer Chadli was denied a certain equaliser when his goal-bound shot was blocked by Laurent Koscielny three minutes into the second period.
Spurs, who have seen their season unravel with three defeats in the space of nine days, are now seven points behind fourth-placed Man City having played three games more.
The Gunners have now clinched the league double to add to the FA Cup success over their North London neighbours, and they couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Czech Republic captain Rosicky, who scored his first goal of the season against Tottenham in that 2-0 Cup win, received a bouncing ball following an interchange with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right before unleashing an unstoppable drive which flashed past Hugo Lloris.
It was the Arsenal’s fastest ever Premier League goal against the Lilywhites, and Oxlade-Chamberlain should have doubled their lead on the quarter-hour mark when he skipped past Nabil Bentaleb’s challenge only to miss-cue his finish with only Lloris to beat.
Tottenham responded well thereafter, with Emmanuel Adebayor, playing against his former club, coming close to restoring parity after 30 minutes. The Togolese striker ran in front of Per Mertesacker at the near post to meet Kyle Naughton’s low cross only to flick the ball inches wide.
Despite his side’s superior possession, Tim Sherwood must have known it wasn’t his day three minutes into the second half when Wojciech Szczesny failed to gather Naughton’s deep cross and when Chadli seized on the loose ball, the Belgian’s point-blank effort was kept out by Koscielny’s outstretched leg.
Adebayor, the highest scorer since this became a Premier League fixture with 10 goals, again came within a yard of levelling on 64 minutes when he climbed above the excellent Koscielny to head wide from eight yards.
The French centre-back was again in the thick of the action in the 75th minute as Tottenham were fortunate not to concede a penalty – Jan Vertonghen appearing to haul down the former Lorient man inside the box.
The margin of victory may have flattered the visitors, as Mertesacker swivelled to produce a sharp reflex save from Lloris with 12 minutes remaining.
Arsenal absorbed the inevitable final onslaught, and now head to Stamford Bridge next Saturday lunchtime knowing that another crucial away win would move them to within a point of Jose Mourinho’s side at the top.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose, Chadli (Sigurdsson 69), Sandro (Paulinho 68), Eriksen (Soldado 82), Bentaleb, Townsend, Adebayor.
Unused Subs: Friedel, Kane, Walker, Lennon.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosicky (Flamini 69), Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Vermaelen 84), Cazorla, Podolski (Monreal 77), Giroud.
Unused Subs: Fabianski, Sanogo, Jenkinson, Gnabry.