Paul Merson is adamant that an Arsenal side playing to their best will have too much for Tottenham to handle in Sunday’s north London derby.
The rivals lock horns at Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening looking to gain a morale-boosting result. The pair go into the game on the back of pleasing Europa League results. The Gunners won 3-1 at Olympiakos, while Spurs were 2-0 victors over Dinamo Zagreb.
Jose Mourinho goes into the game revealing the ‘total trust’ he now has in his Tottenham squad. An improved run of form has seen them pushing back towards the top four – and with a five-match unbeaten run to protect.
Merson, however, thinks that it is Arsenal who are the stronger side and is backing them to claim derby success.
“I think their passing and movement is better. Spurs rely too much on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and lately Gareth Bale.
“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.”
Keown tips Arsenal star to exit in summer
Martin Keown, meanwhile, insists Arsenal’s decision to sign David Luiz was ‘wrong from the off’ and he fully expects the Brazilian to depart Emirates Stadium this summer.
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Luiz has often polarised supporter opinions and has been prone to making mistakes due to lapses in concentration.
But the 33-year-old has become a key part of Mikel Arteta’s side of late. As such, he looks likely to start Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham.
That is an opinion that Keown shares. And he believes the Gunners should return to the transfer market in the summer to land another defender as a replacement for Luiz.
“When he came I said it was the wrong signing,” Keown said.
“I didn’t wait for six months or a year, I just felt it wasn’t the direction I would have gone in.
“I was looking at it from a defensive point of view, as what I’m looking for as a priority for a top defender in a one-v-one situation.
“David Luiz has surprised me with how well he has done but he needs to be in a back-five. He plays his best football in a five and at the moment we are playing in a four. So there is always that vulnerability.
“For that reason I would like to go in a different direction. We will see what happens in the summer, but they should be looking at strengthening. They have got to be.”
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