Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has conceded that title rivals Arsenal "deserve to be at the top" after the Gunners stunning late victory on Sunday.
The two teams met at the Emirates and played out an absolute barnstormer, with Marcus Rashford putting the visitors in front before Eddie Nketiah levelled things up less than 10 minutes later. Bukayo Saka's wonderstrike then handed the hosts the lead, but Lisandro Martinez's first goal in United colours made it 2-2.
With the pace of the game at break-neck speed, it was always destined for someone to go and make themselves a hero and Arsenal forward Nketiah was the man who stepped up, flicking home from close range to hand the Gunners all three points and spark wild celebrations from the home faithful.
United's players looked crestfallen, with Erik ten Hag's men defending for their lives for the majority of the final 20 minutes. Aided by the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey, Arsenal formed a barrier on the edge of the Red Devils box, ensuring every time that they cleared it the ball came straight back.
While the nature of the win may have broken United hearts, Shaw was honest enough to concede that the warning signs had been there and Arsenal are worthy of their current status of league-leaders.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the England international explained: "I think you have to give them credit for what they have done this season, you know we are only half way but they deserve to be at the top from the way they are playing and how they play.
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In just under a decade, the standard of quality in this fixture has declined while both clubs recovered from the departures of two respective icons of the game in Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. However, both Arsenal and United at long last appear to be heading in the right direction, something Shaw acknowledged.
"I think the quality of these games now are getting much more, it was a very tough game to be involved in but you know these are the games that every player wants to play in to test themselves against the best."
Some have claimed that despite the turnaround in fortune under Ten Hag, United are not in the title race this term.
However, had the Red Devils won in North London on Sunday, the gap would have been closed to just five points between them.
Instead, Mikel Arteta's side now boast a 10-point advantage over United and remain five points ahead of nearest challengers Manchester City.
Remarkably, Arsenal are actually currently operating at a 100-point pace, given they have already accrued 50 at the half-way mark this season.