Arsenal were having painful flashbacks to the nightmare moments that threw their Premier League title challenge off course last season as a bump in the road threatened to become a giant boulder at Tottenham.

The Gunners never recovered from losing two-goal leads in successive weeks at Liverpool and West Ham in April last season, those results the catalyst for a collapse that saw Manchester City claim the title.

Here, Arsenal were in danger of throwing away a 3-0 half-time advantage in the most unlikely fashion but gathered themselves to close out a vital win that kept them top of the table with three games left.

And the fact that Arsenal crossed the line this time may yet be the difference between a first Premier League title in 20 years and finishing second.

Mikel Arteta’s side were sitting pretty as they exposed Spurs’ horrible frailty at corners, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s own goal and Kai Havertz’s header bookending Bukayo Saka’s smooth finish on the counter for their second.

Not wishing to make life easy for themselves, Arsenal keeper David Raya’s dreadful clearance then gifted Cristian Romero a goal, a nerve-shredding finish ensuing when Heung-min Son scored from the spot three minutes from the end of normal time.

The away fans, who had run through their full repertoire of taunts aimed at Spurs, suddenly fell silent fearing the worst, especially when the board went up for six additional minutes.

Things, however, have been different with Arsenal this season and they closed out a priceless three points without further alarm, celebrating wildly at the final whistle.

To lose the win at this stage, in these circumstances, would have been close to unbearable so the scenes that unfolded in one corner of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium carried a mixture of elation and relief.

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