Paul Merson makes shock prediction ahead of Spurs - Arsenal clash

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The north London derby is looming large.

Arsenal will take on Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in a game that pits eighth against ninth.

While it may not seem it, the game could have a major bearing on qualification for the Europa League but Spurs have been in dismal form leading up to it.

Indeed, they lost to Sheffield United last week, before a narrow win over Everton and a dire draw with AFC Bournemouth.

In the latter, Spurs did not have a single shot on target.

The Gunners, by comparison, are unbeaten in four league outings, beating Southampton, Norwich City, and Wolves, and drawing with Leicester City.

Mikel Arteta’s men have a right to feel confident this weekend, then, but Paul Merson, the former Arsenal midfielder, does not believe that his old side are better than Spurs.

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Instead, he has made it clear that he thinks Spurs will finish above Arsenal next season in his Daily Star column.

He wrote: "Sunday’s derby is a close one to call. But I think Arsenal are a bit behind Tottenham.

"Neither of them are going to finish in the top four this season but there’s more chance of Spurs doing that next season than Arsenal.

"Over a 38-game season, with the squads they have, and if everyone stays fit, I’d be surprised if Arsenal finish above Tottenham. I saw Arsenal against Leicester and they impressed me.

"But I liked what I saw from Spurs against Everton as well.”

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

This is a remarkably kind assessment of Spurs’ squad.

They have been roundly terrible this season and are on the verge of finishing outside of the European qualification places.

Arsenal haven’t had the best season but they have a pipeline of young players coming through and a progressive, forward-thinking manager.

Spurs have neither of those things.

Merson may be right that Spurs probably have a better pool of players from which to pick an XI but it is almost guaranteed that at least one or two of those players will get injured throughout a season. 

One would then expect Arsenal to take advantage.

He’s wrong here.

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