Antonio Conte admits Arsenal are ‘ready’ for Premier League title race as Tottenham fall to derby defeat

Antonio Conte was full of praise for Tottenham’s rivals  (Action Images via Reuters)
Antonio Conte was full of praise for Tottenham’s rivals (Action Images via Reuters)

Antonio Conte believes Arsenal are ready to go the distance in this season’s Premier League title race.

The Gunners moved eight points clear at the top of the table with a 2-0 derby win over Tottenham, producing a performance a world away from the one on the same ground that saw them fall apart at the end of last season.

Hugo Lloris’ dreadful own goal put Arsenal in front before Martin Odegaard doubled the lead before the break, and this time there was to be no second-half comeback from Spurs as they produced another flat display on the whole.

Conte was full of praise for Mikel Arteta’s side after the match, admitting that their performance against his team proved how far they have come.

“Arsenal is a difficult opponent now, like Manchester City,” Conte told Sky Sports. “Both teams are going to be contenders at the end to win the Premier League.

“I’m sure it wasn’t easy today for them to play against us, especially with this atmosphere. Instead they showed they have a great balance and to eat in the right moments and then to suffer in the second half. They showed resilience.

“When a team is good to do this, it means that they are ready to fight and win the title. I think with Manchester City they are the only two teams that are going to fight for the Premier League this season.”

Tottenham, as ever, were a much better side after the break and put Arsenal under pressure, particularly in the early stages of the half as Aaron Ramsdale made good saves to deny Harry Kane and Ryan Sessegnon.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal- Arsenal celebrate win over North London rivals

Martin Odegaard, Gabriel and Granit Xhaka celebrate Arsenal’s win after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Martin Odegaard, Gabriel and Granit Xhaka celebrate Arsenal’s win after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal defender Gabriel celebrates after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal defender Gabriel celebrates after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (PA)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (PA)
Ben White of Arsenal gestures the 0-2 scoreline to fans during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
Ben White of Arsenal gestures the 0-2 scoreline to fans during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
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(Getty Images)
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(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Getty Images)

The Gunners gradually regained control though and saw the match out, but Conte had no complaints about the application from his side.

“The second goal could have killed everybody, but not my players,” Conte said.

“In the second half I think that we tried with a big effort to score and to create problems for Arsenal. The goalkeeper made fantastic saves today.”