For the first time in a long while, Arsenal fans will go into a North London derby expecting them to win. That may sound a bit strange coming off a defeat at Anfield where Liverpool beat them easily, even if they did win their first two games.
Tottenham, meanwhile, sneaked over the line against Aston Villa, got lucky at Manchester City in a game where they were battered, then lost at home to Newcastle.
There is uncertainty over the futures of Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen. I get the feeling Spurs is not the happiest place at the moment.
Although Arsenal lost at Liverpool, I think the supporters are fully behind Unai Emery and believe they can have a good season. Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino are under more pressure.
Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino are under pressure ahead of the North London derby
KEY MAN ERIKSEN JUST HAS TO START
The big conundrum for Pochettino is does he put Christian Eriksen back in the side. They have missed him when he’s not there. He was poor in his only start against City but when he came on against Villa and Newcastle he changed the dynamic.
Against Villa, he was only on the pitch for 26 minutes but in that time Spurs created more chances and had more shots than they had all the game.
He is so important. Just look around their midfield, there is really no one else with his ability to create. Moussa Sissoko is a runner. Harry Winks is a holder. Tanguy Ndombele has shown he is capable but he is not fit. Eriksen has been there and done it in North London derbies. Poch needs to pick him.
Eriksen has been there and done it in North London derbies and Pochettino needs to pick him
TIME FOR EMERY TO PLAY ATTACKING TRIUMVIRATE
Unai Emery needs to ditch the diamond and unleash Arsenal’s ferocious front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Lacazette and new signing Pepe together for the first time.
The Gunners boss defended his choice of formation against Liverpool but I thought they were all over the place. They did not look like a team that had worked together in that formation.
Emery must field front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Pepe
I understood his desire to do something different after numerous failed attempts at playing their own way at Anfield but it just let Liverpool dominate with their full-backs. That’s why I would be surprised if Arsenal did not go back to a 4-3-3. Pepe already looks like he has got real creativity and pace.
Having those three start up top automatically puts Spurs on the back foot. As soon as you walk out and see those three up against you, you know you have to leave an extra defender back. It pins in their full-backs, which is an area Tottenham have problems in now with the injury to Kyle Walker-Peters and Serge Aurier’s future in doubt.
DERBY KING KANE WILL BOUNCE BACK AND TEST METTLE OF LUIZ
I am not worried about Harry Kane. I am always reluctant to judge a player after three games. He got his goals against Villa, albeit it late, against a very compact team.
You can never really judge a striker against Manchester City, either, because your team will never see enough of the ball. There is only so much you can do with the tools you have got against them. By all accounts Kane was poor against Newcastle.
He looked sharp in pre-season and is already off the mark in a month where he has historically struggled for goals. His record against Arsenal is superb, too. He has scored nine goals in nine Premier League North London derbies. I wouldn’t be surprised if he banged in the winner today.
Harry Kane has netted nine times in nine Premier League North London derbies
The battle between him and David Luiz will be fascinating. I watched the former Chelsea defender against Burnley and he played so well against a physical team that can really test you, with Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes.
But he went on to have a nightmare against Liverpool. I know Jurgen Klopp’s side are a different challenge entirely but the two performances summed him up perfectly: brilliant one week, lets you down the next.
It wasn’t so much making mistakes, it was doing the wrong things. He has got a real point to prove.