Both capital giants sit on 13 points from their opening five games of the new term, but Mikel Arteta’s side also come into the mouthwatering clash on the back of a Champions League thumping of PSV Eindhoven.
For the past several years, Arsenal fans have been forced to witness Tottenham emerge to the Champions League theme on Tuesday and Wednesday nights while they were gunning for glory in the Europa League, but this time around, it was the Gunners’ turn to prove that they warrant a reservation at the continent’s top table.
A PSV side unbeaten in 26 matches in all competitions did their best to flaunt their attacking firepower on a wet North London evening, but Arsenal rained on Peter Bosz’s parade thanks to a flurry of goals from four usual suspects in Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard and Leandro Trossard.
Facing a side as open as PSV may have come as somewhat of a relief for Arteta’s men, who had previously struggled to penetrate a backs-against-the-wall Everton team before a moment of magic from the silky Trossard, who is unsurprisingly proving a more than capable deputy for the injured Gabriel Martinelli.
A four-goal home draw with Fulham remains the only blot on the Gunners’ 2023-24 notebook, and they sit fourth in the rankings owing to their respectable haul of 13 points from 15 on offer in the top flight, albeit below Liverpool and upcoming foes Spurs owing to the goal difference column.
In fact, Arsenal are the only team in the top seven spots yet to hit double figures in goals this term, as Arteta adopts a slightly more conservative approach to his side’s attacking play, but even the most optimistic of Tottenham fans will not be holding out hope of keeping the Gunners on nine top-flight goals this weekend.
The script was written for Richarlison to play a starring role in Spurs’ most recent showdown with Sheffield United, which came after the hitherto misfiring striker had admitted to seeking psychological help for off-field problems, having struggled to keep his emotions in check in a Brazil shirt during the international break.
Before Richarlison’s introduction off the bench, Tottenham had fallen a goal behind in North London to Gustavo Hamer’s strike and had no answer to Wes Foderingham’s heroics – or indeed his time-wasting tactics – but the Blades number one was left red-faced right at the death, as Richarlison headed home the leveller before teeing up Dejan Kulusevski to fire home a sensational late winner in the 10th minute of added time.
Breaking their own record for the latest winning comeback in Premier League history – which was previously held by the Steven Bergwijn-inspired 3-2 success at Leicester City – Spurs remain without defeat in the top flight since Ange Postecoglou took the reins and have only performed worse than a perfect Manchester City so far this term.
Thanks to last weekend’s astonishing fightback, Spurs have also kept up their streak of scoring at least twice in all of their Premier League games under Postecoglou so far, and not since the 1965-66 season have they sat on 13 points after five games, but few will need reminding of Antonio Conte’s acrimonious exit several months after he also led Spurs to their best start to a season last year.
Sunday’s contest will mark the 208th competitive North London derby since Arsenal and Spurs first locked horns in 1896 – during which the Gunners were a South-East London side – and Arteta’s men have triumphed in four of the last five meetings with their worst enemy, who have gone an unlucky 13 years without winning a top-flight game on Emirates soil.
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
We say: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal’s powers can sometimes wane when faced with a low block, but the Gunners ran riot against a bolder PSV team and will need no second invitation to subject an aggressive, front-footed Spurs side to similar treatment, as Postecoglou should not be expected to abandon his principles.
Clean sheets at home still elude the Gunners in the Premier League, but if their performance on Wednesday is anything to go by, Arteta’s men have rediscovered their clinical edge and should end Postecoglou’s unbeaten start with their customary Emirates North London derby triumph.