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Arsenal denies Spurs comeback amid title chase

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After falling behind 3-0, Tottenham Hotspur closed the gap with two second-half goals, ensuring a nervy finale in Sunday’s North London derby, but Arsenal held on to secure a crucial 3-2 victory and maintain their push for the Premier League title.

An own goal from Spurs’ Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was the first of Arsenal’s three first-half goals, with Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz netting the other two.

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However, Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya gifted Spurs a goal on 64 minutes after a dreadfully executed chipped pass landed to Cristian Romeo, who found the bottom-left corner.

Arsenal were made to sweat late when Declan Rice fouled Ben Davies, prompting the Video Assistant Referee to award a penalty that was converted by Son Heung-min in the 87th minute.

But Arsenal held on, moving them to 80 points after 35 games and putting pressure on second-place Manchester City, who play Nottingham Forest later Sunday.

Arsenal arrived at the home of their neighbours desperate for a win and got the perfect start after 15 minutes when midfielder Hojbjerg headed the ball back into his own net from a corner.

Spurs responded, with defender Romero hitting the outside of the post off a James Maddison cross.

The hosts thought they had equalised when Micky van de Ven placed the ball past keeper David Raya after Pedro Porro’s strike deflected to him, but after a long delay the goal was ruled out by the VAR for offside.

Arsenal extended their lead just before the half hour mark, when a counterattack was calmly finished by Saka after Spurs’ Dejan Kulusevski slipped in the Arsenal area.

Havertz added the third with a simple header from a corner that eluded the home defence, and the visitors were flying.

It was the first time Tottenham had fallen behind 3-0 at home to Arsenal since 1959.

Spurs replaced Rodrigo Bentancur with Pape Matar Sarr at halftime and scored their first through Romero just past the hour after Raya played the ball straight to him and the Argentina defender found the bottom corner to lift the home fans.

Spurs were awarded a penalty after a VAR check in the 87th minute when Rice kicked Ben Davies just inside the area as the Arsenal midfielder tried to clear the ball. Son stepped up to convert the spot kick, setting up a nail-biting finale. Spurs piled on the pressure but could not breach the Arsenal defence again.

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