A thoroughly dominant first-half performance laid the platform for an excellent away win at Leeds.
Gabriel Martinelli netted twice and Bukayo Saka was also on target in a mesmerising opening 45 minutes, in which we mustered 11 shots on target - the most in a single first half of Premier League football since 2003/04.
Leeds rallied briefly in the second half, scoring from the penalty spot, but Emile Smith Rowe came off the bench to net his seventh Premier League goal of the season late on to seal the three points.
There were signs of what was to come from the very first whistle. We had three very good chances within moments of kick off.
Martin Odegaard found Alexandre Lacazette with a fantastic throughball, but the Leeds keeper Illan Meslier was down well to deny him when one on one. The rebound was prodded wide by Saka and with our next attack Thomas Partey saw his shot turned away at the near post.
It was a bright start full of intent and ambition, with Kieran Tierney next to test the keeper with a right-footed strike.
That was all in the first five minutes, and the game settled down until Martinelli lashed us into the lead.
The Leeds defence hesitated, appealing for a foul by Lacazette, but referee Andre Marriner waved play on, and crucially Martinelli remained alert, to smash the ball home. VAR also saw nothing untoward with the strike.
The goal brought up a milestone for the Gunners - it was our 7,000th scored in the top-flight of English football, becoming the third side to the landmark, after Everton and Liverpool. Our first came some 117 years ago.
Leeds, severely depleted with injury and missing nine players, were still full of running, and nearly brought themselves level when Raphinha wriggled past Tierney and shot just wide with Aaron Ramsdale wrong-footed.
We continued to make chances though, and soon doubled our lead. This time Granit Xhaka released Martinelli through the middle, and the 20-year-old forward kept his composure, bore down on goal, and lifted a wonderful finish over Meslier.
It was no more than we deserved after an excellent start.
We were swarming around the Leeds defence, and Lacazette was next to go close, forcing another save from Meslier after great build up play involving Saka and Odegaard.
Saka increased the lead just before half-time, his shot was deflected in past the keeper, after just about beating the offside trap.
The only surprise is that we weren't leading by more at the interval.
Leeds were in no mood to lay down though, and cheered on by the Elland Road faithful, came out fired up for the second half.
A clumsy challenge from Ben White inside the area gave them a route back into the game when Raphinha fired home the resulting penalty. More than a quarter of an hour remaining and all of a sudden it was game on again.
The hosts' tails were up, but a thumping finish from substitute Smith Rowe restored our three-goal advantage.
Odegaard pounced on a loose ball and weighted his pass into the advancing Smith Rowe, and the England man made no mistake with his first-time finish.
It sealed an excellent away win - our first since beating Leicester in October - and consolidated our place in the top four going in to Christmas.
WHAT IT MEANS
For the fourth game in succession, Mikel Arteta named an unchanged side, so Alexandre Lacazette took the armband again, and led the line up front.
It's the first time for more than six years that we have kept an unchanged starting XI for four games in a row.
Emile Smith Rowe, who scored our second against West Ham last time out, remained on the bench with the in-form Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka either side of Martin Odegaard.
The only absentee from the squad was Sambi Lokonga, missing after a positive covid test, though the midfielder is asymptomatic.
A NOTABLE MILESTONE
Our first goal was the 7,000th scored by the club in all-time top flight football. We are the third side to reach the tally, following Everton (7,139) and Liverpool (7,069).
The other landmark goals were as follows:
1,000 – Len Thompson (against Liverpool, October 27, 1928)
2,000 – Reg Lewis (against Preston North End, March 15, 1947)
3,000 – Ken Barnes (own goal) (against Manchester City, January 23, 1960)
4,000 – Alex Cropley (against Coventry City, October 11, 1975)
5,000 – Paul Merson (against Nottingham Forest, March 31, 1992)
6,000 – Cesc Fabregas (against Portsmouth, September 2, 2007)
We have a brief diversion from the Premier League, when we are back in action as soon as Tuesday evening at the Emirates. We take on Sunderland in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup, and then return to the Premier League programme away to Norwich City on Boxing Day.
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