For as much as I hate the pre match build up to a North London Derby, the feeling of euphoria after a well deserved win is something that is unmatched at any other stage of the season. It’s like getting the greatest reward for your suffering and yesterday mornings suffering has certainly been rewarded with the most jubilant of celebrations yesterday afternoon and today.

It’s Arsenal’s weekend this weekend with a second consecutive year of 3-1 home victories against the Scum and although it wasn’t as quick for the game to be over this time (after all, last season we were three goals up within half an hour), the level of dominance showed by the team yesterday was similar to the performance from last season, maybe even more dominant.

Yesterday morning I wrote that the key to victory over them would be an early start and that’s exactly what we set about doing. I feared the Tottenham ‘smash and grab’ on the counter and within minutes you could see that was their plan to soak up and hit us, but conversely what we all wanted to see was a ball-dominant Arsenal who imposed their possession-based dominance on a Scum team with little intention to go out and play.

Martinelli hit the post within the first ten minutes I think and that set the tone, but converting chances is key and so until you get that, there is always a worry that it’s going to be ‘one of those days’. It wasn’t, thanks to Thomas Partey, who finally found his range and nestled an absolute pearler in to the postage stamp to make it one nil to The Arsenal. Block five went nuts. The stadium went nuts. The Arsenal players gathered together for a little huddle, with the super Granit Xhaka leading the discussion, most likely saying “lads. Reset. We have won nothing yet. Game faces on”.

And this season I feel like that’s The Arsenal for you. There is a focus about this team that looks to be there. This is a serious group of players and they offer a serious threat to teams. The media narrative has been that we haven’t played anyone decent yet. The Scum will always be the Scum, but you can’t argue they aren’t a decent outfit, especially going in to this game without a loss.

They are a threat, even when they aren’t threatening, so when Gabriel knocked in to Richarlison, there was only ever going to be one outcome: the standard Harry Kane penalty. All the talk is of the fact he has 14 goals for them against us and the most of any player in the Derby, but SEVEN of those have been penalties. Seven. The man is a stat-pad master.

It was pretty much their only shot yo until then. Ramsdale had made a decent save before we went ahead, but it would have been ruled out for offside anyway, so I’m inclined not to count it. Perisic had blazed over from a wide angle a minute before the penalty, but that was it. After they scored to bring it level The Scum had a good seven or eight minutes in which they had more ball and looked a little more threatening, but for Conte to claim (as he did afterwards) that they created ‘many’ chances in the first half, is deflection tactics of the highest order. But that’s Conte to be fair.

The irony of him saying Arteta complains too much last season – as little as five months ago – should not be lost on the footballing world. He thought the red card decision was wrong. Nope, sorry Toni, but Emerson Royal went in high, with studs up, he caught Martinelli. If that isn’t a red card then you can’t be looking at Holding’s red last season at their ground and said “the red card was clear”. So was this mate, so wind yer neck in.

It’s not as if the game truly swung on that either, because we had started the second half in the same way we started the first: dominant. we controlled possession, we created chances and thankfully for us, we were ahead again on 49 minutes and the stadium was rocking. Bukayo Saka – who I thought had one of his best games this season – weaved inside Lenglet and forced Lloris to parry. His and Romero’s next action was of course clumsy, but Gabriel Jesus did his part in hassling them into the error and when it squeezed under Lloris for Jesus to tap in on the goal line, Block five went in to rapture again. Gabby J sprinted off to the corner flag where we were and it was limbs everywhere. Brilliant stuff.

Then came the red – deserved – and five minutes after that the game was done and dusted thanks to the now weekly heroics of Granit Xhaka. His best tally in an Arsenal shirt was in 2018-19 where he scored four goals and registered two assists. That’s six goal contributions in total. This season he already has five goals and assists combined. He was the best player on the pitch and the way he sent Dier for a hot dog on the third goal was just brilliant. He looks a transformed player; released of the shackles and the demons on his past, demons which aren’t so much in his mind, but in ours. The love he’s getting from within the stadium is amazing and I’m so happy for him. This advanced role he has is perfect for his skill set and we are profiting from his performances 100%. I mentioned his role in bringing players together after the Partey goal, there was the goal itself yesterday, but also when Martinelli was brought down it was Granit Xhaka who was in there first looking after his teammate. Great to see.

The rest of the game petered out after that as we set about controlling it until we got to full time. I was kind of hoping that we’d go for the jugular and see if we could make a statement, but I’m not going to complain too much, because first and foremost the win is what we needed. And we got it. We remain top of the league and although I don’t think any of us think we can get close to Man City this season, at least we’re having fun looking at the table this time around. The destination is so important, but our journey so far this season has been hella fun.

As I’ve already mentioned, it’s another media narrative that we’ve debunked this weekend, having now beaten a ‘big’ team. The media are waking up to the fact that this is a good Arsenal side and I for one am delighted to see it. We still need to get an away win on a big ground, but if we continue to play like we have done this season, that will 100% come for sure.

Yesterday was a victory for ‘good’ football. It was a triumph over evil football. It was an opportunity for us to plant our stake in the ground and say “you can play good football AND win”. Conte’s brand of boring football could have prevailed yesterday, but thankfully good triumphed and I think there are a lot of Arsenal fans feeling vindicated this morning having had to read lots about how the Scum are ‘efficient’. Nope. They’re just boring.

I could probably write another 1,000 words on the game yesterday, the result, the belief, what Arteta has done to drive this team forward, etc, but I think I’ll leave it there for now. It’s absolutely bucketing it down outside as I write this, but that won’t stop me basking in the glorious reflective glow of a North London Derby victory.

Catch you all tomorrow.