There aren’t many tactical battles by which Antonio Conte comes out second greatest, however Saturday’s north London derby was a kind of uncommon moments.
As a substitute, it was Mikel Arteta who had his fingers held excessive at full-time, echoing Arsenal’s standing on the prime of the Premier League desk.
The Spaniard has confronted loads of criticism for a perceived lack of tactical consciousness in his previous and doubters can have been licking their lips on the concept of seeing him humbled by Conte, however these sceptics have retreated into the woodwork after Arteta masterminded a beautiful 3-1 victory over Tottenham.
His inverted wing-backs – Oleksandr Zinchenko for probably the most half and Kieran Tierney in a while – labored to perfection in assault as they merely outnumbered Spurs’ midfield. Zinchenko wasn’t even notably good, maybe attributable to his latest harm, however his presence alone was the catalyst for every part.
The additional physique meant Granit Xhaka may proceed his remontada as a one-man wrecking crew, whereas Thomas Partey shone on his personal return from harm and was clearly delighted to have somewhat extra assist inside.
The trio laughed their method round Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the admittedly strong Rodrigo Bentancur, getting by on the Spurs again line time and time and time once more.
That was a powerful name from Arteta, nevertheless it was his response to a play from Conte which deserves most reward.
Clearly conscious of the specter of Bukayo Saka, Conte doubled up on the Englishman and had Ivan Perisic and Clement Lenglet neutralise him nicely within the first half. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal seemed somewhat flustered with out one in every of their star man.
Conte did job, however Arteta reacted by telling Ben White, over at right-back, to cease coming into midfield and as an alternative fly spherical the skin on the overlap. Make it two-vs-two and provides Saka the prospect to run at one defender alone.
Actually inside minutes of this transfer, White overlapped Saka and allowed the winger to get a shot off, and it ended up on the boot of Gabriel Jesus to prod Arsenal 2-1 up.
Spurs did attempt to reply however Emerson Royal’s pink card introduced an finish to that hope, permitting Arsenal to cruise to victory.
What was spectacular about this victory was not solely Arsenal’s skill to win this sport, however their supervisor’s willingness to maneuver away from his most well-liked setup seeking a season-defining victory. He wasn’t scared to make an enormous name and deservedly acquired the rewards.
With dominant gamers and a tactically astute supervisor, Arsenal have despatched a message to the remainder of the league – they’re coming for the title.