Football: Gareth Bale continued his fabulous scoring streak with his 16th league goal of a stunning season as Tottenham opened up a gaping seven-point lead over their rivals in the battle for a Champions League spot.
Arsenal had the better of the opening half hour that was heavy on perspiration and light on imagination.
Arsenal have never finished below Tottenham in the league under Arsene Wenger, but that record looks in serious danger after this result saw Tottenham extend their unbeaten sequence to 12 games. It was again Wenger’s defenders who will bear the brunt of the blame.
Schoolboy Arsenal defending gifted Spurs a two-goal lead before half-time.
Bale had been having one of his quieter games until he opened the scoring in the 37th minute. There seemed little danger when Gylfi Sigurdsson had possession on the left wing but his exquisite pass caught Per Mertesacker out of position and Bale was left to saunter unmarked through the static defence and flick the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.
Two minutes later and Spurs were allowed to repeat the same act with different cast members. Scott Parker carried the ball up the left wing and was given time to take out the slide rule before playing a perfect pass through the porous Arsenal defence. This time Aaron Lennon waltzed past the statuesque Thomas Vermaelen before rounding the stranded Szczesny.
Arsenal scored early in the second half as they threatened a comeback that has recently been a feature of the north London derby. A Theo Walcott corner was headed across goal by Mertesacker, taking a slight deflection off Bale on its way past Hugo Lloris.
Yet as much as Arsenal pressed it was Spurs who created the better chances. On the hour mark Bale skied the ball over from six yards. On 69 minutes Sigurdsson was guilty of trying to pass the ball square when he had a brilliant chance to test Szczesny when put through by substitute Jermain Defoe.
On this showing Wenger faces a huge task to get his charges into a Champions League spot.