On Saturday, North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham will compete for much more than just neighborhood pride. They want to establish themselves as legitimate Premier League championship contenders.
Following the international break, top-flight activity has resumed, with Arsenal sitting atop the standings after an unexpectedly good start. Unbeaten Tottenham is just one point behind Arsenal in third.
North London teams now have a chance to enter the championship fight since Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United are still regaining their composure following rocky beginnings to the season.
If a championship contender was anticipated to emerge from either end of Seven Sisters Road, Tottenham were the more probable contenders following spectacular last-second top-four comeback against their fierce rivals and neighbors.
With just three games remaining, Arsenal moved four points ahead of Tottenham and into first place in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
But Mikel Arteta’s team squandered their opportunity, suffering a humiliating 3-0 loss at Tottenham, a crushing defeat at Newcastle, and blowing their chance to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 2016–17 campaign.
After beating Arsenal, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy gave in to Antonio Conte’s demands and approved a purchasing binge throughout the offseason that raised the club’s morale even more.
Tottenham have improved in their second season under the tough Italian coach Conte because he won’t allow his players take it easy.
Son Heung-min scored a hat-trick in Tottenham’s 6-2 thrashing of Leicester after manager Antonio Conte showed his brutal side by benching him following the South Korean’s eight-match goalless streak.
While Tottenham’s success highlights Conte’s management skill, Arteta may have performed more impressively this season.
Chance of title
Arteta’s methodical rehabilitation of a team stuck in mediocrity since far before the end of Arsene Wenger’s tenure may have taken a serious hit as a result of Arsenal’s collapse in the last week of the previous campaign.
The quirky side of Arteta’s personality was on show in the television documentary “All or Nothing,” which documented the Spaniard’s struggle to guide the team through stormy waters last season.
However, Arteta’s eccentricities should not overshadow the clever method in which he has injected energy and passion into Arsenal by elevating a bunch of excellent young players while simultaneously releasing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a result of behavioral issues.
Arsenal has benefited so far from a rather light fixture schedule thanks to the recent additions of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko as well as the growth of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
Wenger, who guided Arsenal to their most recent championship in 2004, thinks his old side ought to be thought of as a title contender already.
Wenger told Sky Sports, “I don’t see any super-dominating club, therefore I would say they have a strong chance.” “I think this season would be a wonderful time to accomplish it,”
However, Arsenal’s lone game this season against a top-four opponent resulted in a 3-1 loss against Manchester United.
To prove there is substance to the surge that gave Arsenal their greatest start to a season since 2004, thanks to a five-game winning streak, Arteta needs a statement victory.
Given Tottenham’s streak of 11 Premier League trips to the Emirates Stadium without a victory since their previous victory in 2010, history is on Arsenal’s side.
However, Arsenal, who have only lost one of their previous 29 league home meetings versus Tottenham, must find a method to contain longtime foe Harry Kane.
The striker for Tottenham, Harry Kane, has a record 13 goals in 17 appearances in the north London derby, including two in their most recent encounter in May.
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