Arsenal continue ‘countdown’ to title by setting amazing London derby record

As well as finding themselves just 11 games from clinching the Premier League title, Arsenal reasserted their local superiority on Sunday after cantering to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

A hat trick of assists laid on by Leandro Trossard set up goals for Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard as the Gunners easily dispatched their cross-town neighbours, and the result pushed them five points clear of rivals Manchester City at the top of the table.

As well as racking up their third five-game winning streak of the 2022-23 league season thus far, the victory also saw Mikel Arteta’s effervescent side become the first team in the entire 134 years of English Football League history to win five consecutive London derbies away from home without conceding a single goal.

Here’s a look back at the Gunners’ record-setting streak, which began on the opening day of the season.

The opening game of the season saw Arsenal start as they meant to go on with a straightforward win over Palace at Selhurst Park. August proved to be a good month for the Gunners as they won their first five games of the campaign by a cumulative scoreline of 13-4. However, September brought with it their first loss, a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United on Sept. 4.

Arsenal bounced back from defeat at Old Trafford in their next league outing with a resounding three-goal drubbing of Brentford at the Community Stadium, the site of a chastening 2-0 loss to the then-newly promoted Bees in the opening game of last season. The goals came via William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira, who iced the cake with a superb 25-yard thrash that ricocheted in off the post.

Victory over Brentford sparked a 13-match unbeaten run for the Gunners as they continued their ascent to the summit of the Premier League. The middle game of the streak was a tense win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with centre-back Gabriel’s close range tap-in proving the difference in a match of very few clear-cut chances.

The penultimate game in that 13-match streak was the first north London derby of the season. Arteta’s side won thanks to an early, calamitous own goal from Hugo Lloris which was swiftly followed by a far more convincing 25-yard strike from Odegaard. As well as securing local bragging rights, the result also sent the buoyant Gunners eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

With just two-and-a-half months of the season left, Arsenal restored the five-point buffer between themselves and Man City by cruising to victory over Fulham, the day after a narrow 1-0 win over Crystal Palace had seen Pep Guardiola’s team loom large in the Gunners’ rear-view mirror.

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After the Fulham game, the Arsenal squad and staff celebrated en masse with a group photo, posted on social media by Oleksandr Zinchenko. In the picture, they all posed with a replica of the famous old Highbury clock, which is now installed at the Emirates stadium.

Quite why the replica clock face was floating around the Craven Cottage locker room to begin with is yet to be established, but Arsenal fans certainly had fun vin the comments attempting to decipher why the hands were positioned at the ’11’ and ‘2’ marks, which some saw as a cryptic message.

Some believed those two numbers being pointed to was a reference to there now being just “11 games 2 go” or “11 games and 2 months” left in the hunt for Premier League glory. Others thoughts the 2 related to the fact that the Gunners were still chasing the number of trophies the Gunners still had to play for, as they are still competing in the Europa League. Meanwhile, others suggested that the fact that the precise time (just approaching 14:00 hours) was a visual depiction of just how close the Gunners now are to collecting a 14th league title.

Most likely, the clock had been brought to Fulham by Arsenal in order to make them feel more at home — the Gunners have made a habit of putting up posters and squad photos in away locker rooms when on their travels. It might even have been used by Arteta for one of his notoriously intense prematch teamtalks. The maverick head coach’s process may well be unconventional, but his players obviously trust it and you simply can’t argue with the results.

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