Paul Merson explains his prediction for Arsenal v Tottenham
Paul Merson offers his thoughts on Arsenal's north London derby showdown with Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime
Paul Merson insists that he can’t see Tottenham beating Arsenal in Saturday’s north London derby and is tipping the Gunners to claim a 2-1 victory at The Emirates.
Not much separates the two teams heading into the derby showdown, with table-toppers Arsenal a single point ahead of their neighbours and both sides having a similar goal difference.
A victory for Arsenal would keep them top of the table for another week and help to keep up their early-season momentum ahead of another testing clash against Liverpool FC at The Emirates next weekend.
Spurs are the only other unbeaten team left in the Premier League this season along with defending champions Manchester City as Antonio Conte bids to steer the Lilywhites to a genuine title challenge this term.
However, former Arsenal midfielder Merson feels confident that Mikel Arteta’s men will have too much for the visitors on Saturday lunchtime and he is tipping the Gunners to claim a 2-1 win.
“This is a game that never lets you down,” Merson wrote in his column for Sportskeeda. “There are certain other games in the Premier League calendar where we build them up and they disappoint, but that is never the case with this fixture.
“The way they’re playing at the moment, I don’t see Tottenham being able to beat Arsenal. They did defeat Leicester by a 6-2 margin the other day, but the scoreline flattered them in my opinion.
“Son Heung-Min hasn’t done well when he’s started games so far this season, and Antonio Conte might use him as an impact player to turn to from the bench.”
Meanwhile, Gunners captain Martin Odegaard has declared himself fit and ready for Saturday’s game after he sustained a minor calf injury before Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Brentford.
The Norway international missed the victory at the Brentford Community Stadium but featured for his country in their Nations League games against Slovenia and Serbia during the international break.
“I got a kick on my calf in the week before the Brentford game, and was struggling a bit with it beforehand, and I had to leave some of the training sessions,” Odegaard wrote in his programme notes before Saturday’s game. “Then the last session before the game, I had to go out again because it was too sore.
“So I stayed here for a few days after the game to do some rehab and all the scans, and everything was fine so I joined up with the national team and I was able to play twice for Norway. I feel fine now.”
The 23-year-old – who has scored three goals in six Premier League games so far this term – also talked up the importance of Saturday’s derby showdown.
“I’ve played in a few of these derby games now, they are always so special, and I know how much it means to everyone around the club and the supporters,” Odegaard added.
“The whole week is special. You feel it around the club, around the building and everyone is preparing for it, knowing something special is coming.
“And right now, with both teams up at the top, there’s even more on the game. I’m expecting a great fight, and one that we need to win in front of our own supporters.”