Arsenal in control of EPL, Newcastle loom

Eight points clear in the Premier League, playing the most free-flowing soccer in England, and now humbling their fiercest rivals in front of their own fans.

For Arsenal, this season can hardly get any better.

A 2-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday left no doubt over who rules north London at the moment.

And it's becoming increasingly hard to dispute that Arsenal are the best team in the country, having surged into the best position they've been in all season in their bid for a first league title since the unbeaten "Invincibles" of 2003-2004.

"We knew the game could be really difficult because Arsenal are a really strong team and they showed why they deserve to be top of the league, Spurs manager Antonio Conte said.

"They deserve to be title contenders. In my opinion, Arsenal and (Manchester) City are the two teams that can fight for the title."

The Gunners and City have now both played the same number of matches - 18 of a possible 38 - with Pep Guardiola's men struggling to keep pace.

The first-half display of Mikel Arteta's team was irrepressible, with Bukayo Saka running amok down the right and playing a part in both of the goals.

It was the England winger's deflected cross that was bundled into his own net by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at the near post in the 14th minute, before Saka then led a break forward in the 36th and slipped a ball inside to captain Martin Odegaard, who lashed home a low shot from 25 metres.

"There is nothing better than winning and playing the way we played," Arteta ssaid.

"It's great and going in the dressing room and just feeling the joy and the togetherness around the team and how much it meant for them is special."

The only thing to mar Arsenal's day came after the finish as a spectator climbed onto an advertising board and appeared to attempt to kick their goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale as he went to retrieve his water bottle from behind the goals in front of the South Stand.

Ramsdale didn't seem hurt and was dragged away by teammates.

"It's a shame because it's only a game of football at the end of the day," Ramsdale shrugged.

So who'll challenge Arsenal? City are likely to improve and have previously gone on long, unbeaten runs down the stretch, while both third-placed Newcastle, who beat Fulham 1-0, and fourth-placed Manchester United, can't be discounted, nine points behind.

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic had been looking to impress back at St James' Park against Newcastle, where he spent two-and-a-half years, but had a game to forget.

His penalty was ruled out for a double touch which occurred when he slipped as he struck his penalty, kicking the ball against his standing foot and into the net.

Alexander Isak's 89th-minute goal, converted from close range from Callum Wilson's poked cross, then added to Mitrovic's woe.

Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Graham Potter had his best day for some time.

Firstly, the Blues announced the signing of one of Europe's most sought-after young players in Ukraine winger Mykhailo Mudryk, who was paraded on the field at halftime at Stamford Bridge.

Then they held on to beat Crystal Palace 1-0, only their second league win since October, with Kai Havertz heading home in the 64th minute.

Chelsea stayed 10th but trimmed the gap to fifth-placed Tottenham to five points.

With PA.