Arsenal will beat Tottenham “comfortably” in the North London derby on Sunday because of their positive start to the season compared with that of their rivals.
That is the view of Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who reckons that Tottenham are in a state of disarray at the moment.
The Gunners won their first two games of the new campaign before coming unstuck against European champions Liverpool last weekend, but look to have improved on last season.
Unai Emery’s team showed glimpses of what they can do in the defeat at Anfield clash ultimately old problems came to the fore again.
Spurs ground out a late win over Aston Villa in their season opener before somehow coming away with a draw at Manchester City after being outplayed for the whole game.
But the most worrying performance was in the 1-0 home loss to Newcastle last weekend, where the team failed to create much and looked lethargic at times.
And former Arsenal midfielder Merson thinks that this could play into the Gunners’ hands at the Emirates on Sunday.
“I didn’t give Arsenal much of a chance at Liverpool, I expected them to get beat and the game went exactly how I thought it would – they had some chances, looked good in parts of the game and then succumbed to the inevitable,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“I was impressed with Nicolas Pepe’s performance at Anfield, but he had to put at least one of his chances away, that’s why Arsenal paid top dollar to bring him to the club. Putting those chances away is what separates a £72m striker and the rest.
“But it wasn’t all bad for Unai Emery’s side. A couple of weeks ago I’d have looked at Sunday’s North London derby and said Arsenal would be happy with a draw, but after their positive start to the season, I expect them to win comfortably now.
That is because he reckons Tottenham are not looking like their usual selves so far this season.
Off the field issues have surrounded the team this summer and at the start of the season, while the future of Christian Eriksen is yet to be resolved amid speculation about a move to Real Madrid.
Jan Vertonghen has not featured this season for reasons unknown and there have been hints from Mauricio Pochettino that he is still not happy.
“Spurs look in disarray, a worrying sign this early in the season,” Merson added.
“Before a ball was kicked, I thought Spurs were a dead cert to finish in the top three, now they look in the equation for top four football after their performances.
“Something isn’t right at Spurs but what is clear is that Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t got his team right yet.”
Arsenal beat Spurs 4-2 in the corresponding fixture last season while they drew 1-1 away from home.
The game on Sunday kicks-off at 4.30pm.