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 to 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.
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.”