Luton pushed the league leaders Arsenal to their limits, but this was the sort of white-knuckle victory that wins titles

Perhaps this topsy-turvy old venue, where the more sanitised precepts of the Premier League football experience simply do not apply, was always going to be the place where Arsenal surrendered themselves to the rollercoaster. Stability and control have been two of the buzzwords around a run that has traded some dazzle for durability; here, performing in a snapping chill to a snarling audience, they wheeled away with the kind of white-knuckle victory that wins titles.

Declan Rice was purchased to add precisely the composure Arsenal had lacked during their doomed title chase last spring. This time he brought the chaos, lighting the touchpaper with the final action of added time for a prolonged blur of limbs, wild‑eyed faces and tracksuited figures hurtling ecstatically down the touchline. With the victory confirmed, David Raya – at fault for Luton’s second and third goals, and seemingly destined to be the night’s villain – embraced his teammate with added meaning.

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