Paul Merson backs Arsenal to win north London derby against Tottenham and warns Jose Mourinho over Spurs’ top-four chances

Paul Merson is backing Arsenal to beat Tottenham in the north London derby
Paul Merson is backing Arsenal to beat Tottenham in the north London derby (Picture: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson is backing Arsenal to beat Tottenham in this weekend’s north London derby and says Spurs’ top-four hopes will be over if they lose.

Arsenal welcome Tottenham to the Emirates on Sunday with both teams desperate for points to climb up the Premier League table.

Mikel Arteta’s side are only tenth after 27 matches – 12 points outside the top-four places and 30 points behind champions-elect Manchester City.

Spurs have fared marginally better than the Gunners so far this season but are still five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of this weekend’s action.

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham beat Arsenal 2-0 in the first north London derby of the season but Merson expects his former club to reverse the form on Sunday.

He told the Daily Star: ‘I think Arsenal are favourites against them this weekend. I really do.

‘If both teams play to the best of their ability I think Arsenal win the game. I think their passing and movement is better.

‘Spurs rely too much on Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, and lately Gareth Bale. But Arsenal are a different team to the one Spurs beat in December.

‘Bukayo Saka is playing really well. Willian looks like he has turned a corner. Nicolas Pepe had his best game yet against Leicester.

‘And Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is scoring goals again and looks much more confident. Arsenal will have to keep the back door shut, but I give them every chance in this game.

‘And if Spurs don’t win, that’s it for their top four chances. They can’t afford to lose this game. One hundred per cent.’

Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson disagrees with former Arsenal and England star Merson and expects Tottenham to clinch a comfortable win at the Emirates.

He told BBC Sport: ‘Tottenham are firing properly now – they have scored four goals in three of their past four games – and Jose Mourinho is always very keen to let people know about it.

‘I don’t blame Jose for banging his drum about it, because Spurs have hit form and found some consistency.

‘That’s what Arsenal need – they have produced some good performances recently but I am still not really sure what to expect from them week to week. Arsenal 0-2 Tottenham.’

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