Younes Kaboul headed the winner as the team came from two goals down to register three points in the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium.
Banking those points looked a unlikely prospect at half-time after the team were caught out twice and it appeared that it might be a case of same old story on the road against the top four sides of recent years.
But a quick response after the break from Gareth Bale, a Rafael van der Vaart penalty and that header from Kaboul saw it that talk of 69 games without a win against such sides will now cease.
Harry Redknapp made just the one change from last week's 4-2 win against Blackburn with Aaron Lennon back from injury. He started on the right with van der Vaart pushed forward alongside Roman Pavlyuchenko. Jermain Defoe was back on the bench after 10 weeks out.
Samir Nasri was at the centre of most occurances in the opening stages of the game - from avoiding shaking the hand of William Gallas in the pre-match line-up, to being stopped in his tracks by the same player in the home side's first attack.
Then, after a bright spell which saw a Bale flick gathered by Lukasz Fabianski following a van der Vaart corner, Cesc Fabregas dissected our central defensive with a ball from deep and Nasri was on the run again with nine minutes on the clock.
Heurelho Gomes maybe hesitated in coming out to close down the Frenchman, while still managing to apply a block, but the ball ran loose and Nasri was on hand slot home from an acute angle despite the attentions of Benoit Assou-Ekotto. It was almost like the goal happened in slow motion.
The goal was a setback after a positive beginning and fluency disappeared for a little while before the team were caught with another sucker punch on 27 minutes.
Andrey Arshavin stole in from the right and dispatched a low delivery that Marouane Chamakh, who had guided himself goalside of Younes Kaboul, steered into the net.
Pressure was being mounted towards the break without Fabianski being seriously worked - the keeper diverted one drive from Luka Modric - but a foothold was being established in the contest all the same.
However, in first half stoppage time, Chamakh could have ended the contest had Kaboul not retrieved the situation when the Moroccan found himself in the clear.
Defoe was introduced after the break in place of Lennon, but the next major impact was made via the now familiar source of Bale on 50 minutes.
Defoe flicked on a long ball from Assou-Ekotto and Van der Vaart had the vision to play in Bale, who calmly slotted past Fabianski.
Modric next came close with a rasping drive after strong and lively work from Defoe. Arsenal then began dictating the play again, Chamakh again finding himself in the clear with this time Hutton doing enough to see that no damage was done.
Modric was impeded midway through the half and van der Vaart looked to curl his free-kick from 20-odd yards. For some reason, Fabregas elected to throw his arm in the way of his shot and referee Mr Dowd pointed to the spot.
Step up van der Vaart and the scores were level, his kick stuck cooly to Fabianski's right.
The home crowd thought they had regained the lead through Squillaci but it was quickly ruled out for offside.
Pavlyuchenko was withdrawn with 17 minutes remaining and replaced by Peter Crouch.
A Modric interception ended up falling into the path of Fabregas, who advanced and placed a curling effort towards the corner. Gomes stretched and made a fantastic save, 78 minutes on the clock.
A Bale cross led to a big chance in the area for van der Vaart inevitably from Crouch's knockdown, but the ball would just not sit for the Dutchman and Arsenal were able to crowd him out.
Gallas bravely carried on after Sebastien Bassong was ready to step in - after Wilson Palacios was initially getting himself prepared.
Bale was leading the attacking change and was crudely chopped down on two occasions in the closing stages. From the second one a van der Vaart inswinging free-kick into the area was glanced into the back of the net by Kaboul.
The travelling thousands erupted and there was a further chance when Bale sprinted forward leaving defenders in his wake, only to cross behind Crouch.
Five minutes said the board held up by the fourth official at the end of normal time.
Gomes was forced into a smart save from Rosicky down to his right but that was Arsenal's only effort in the extra minutes.
It was a long five minutes - but worth the wait! Our first win at Arsenal since 1993 and up to fifth in the Premier League.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy; Nasri (Walcott, 77), Fabregas, Denilson, Song, Arshavin (Rosicky, 77); Chamakh (van Persie, 68). Unused subs: Szczesny, Eboue, Wilshere, Djourou.
Spurs: Gomes; Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Defoe, 46), Jenas, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart (Palacios, 87); Pavlychenko (Crouch, 74). Unused subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Bentley.
Goals: Arsenal - Nasri 9, Chamakh 27. Spurs - Bale 50, Van der Vaart 67 pen, Kaboul 85.
Referee: Mr P Dowd.