North London Derby: Comparing Spurs and Arsenal’s summer signings shows North London is White

Mikel Arteta and Jose Mourinho

With the North London Derby fast approaching, the fortunes of both Arsenal and Tottenham stand in stark contrast. High flying Spurs top the Premier League table whilst Arsenal languish in 14th.

Both sides invested heavily in the summer transfer window with a combined total of £137m spent, so why are there 13 places separating them?

Cédric Soares vs Matt Doherty

Matt Dohery and Cedric Soares

Cédric served five years at Southampton before being brought in by Arteta to provide much-needed cover and competition for Hector Bellerin. After initially signing on loan, his spell at Arsenal has so far been plagued with injuries, with the Portuguese full-back having only been involved in one match day squad this season.

Although first choice right-back Héctor Bellerín’s performances have stagnated, Arteta heavily favours the Spaniard and there is little sign of that changing any time soon.


In comparison, Matt Doherty was brought in specifically to replace Serge Aurier, whose days at the club looked numbered. Despite being a mainstay for Wolves, Doherty has been rotated in and out of the side by Mourinho, who so far is yet to be fully convinced.

In an unexpected turn of events, Doherty’s arrival has given the inconsistent Aurier the push he’s desperately needed to improve. At last there is healthy competition at right back, something Spurs have not had since the days of Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier.


Willian vs Gareth Bale

Willian and Gareth Bale

Chelsea’s decision to offload Willan on a free to Arsenal raised a few eyebrows this summer, but Arsenal are no strangers to their hand-me-downs. In the opening game of the season, Willian’s performance was nothing short of exceptional, providing all three assists in the rout at Fulham.

Fast forward a few months and there seems to be a growing consensus that Arsenal have received yet another dud from their London rivals. Arteta has so far persisted with the Brazillian, preferring him to club record signing Nicolas Pépé, but if his lack of meaningful contribution continues, he will most certainly be warming the bench.


With the prodigal son returning to White Hart Lane, the arrival of Gareth Bale was greeted like the second coming of Jesus. Although sidelined during the first few months of the season — and now featuring primarily for Spurs in their Europa league campaign — Bale’s signing has so far meant more off the pitch rather than on it.

His return sparked a togetherness for Spurs, an excitement which had long been absent. It was a marquee signing which has boosted the whole club, giving a clear sense of direction to where the team is headed under José Mourinho.


Gabriel vs Sergio Reguilón

Gabriel and Sergio Reguilón

Signing a centre-half was vital for Arsenal in their attempts to fix their long term defensive frailties. The signing of Gabriel brought a young, athletic and dominant defender to the club, replacing error prone Mustafi and Sokratis.

With little pressure on the 22-year-old to fill the void left by his predecessors, Gabriel has been an instant hit with the fans. Scoring two out of Arsenals seven goals this season, Arteta may even look to Gabriel to help with their attacking woes.


Off the back of a stellar season winning the Europa League with Sevilla, Sergio Reguilón was hot on many Premier League clubs’ radars. His signing was somewhat overshadowed by the Bale hysteria, but his displays have been impressive nonetheless, showing his electrifying pace and defensive stability while helping the club keep three clean sheets.

The only downside looming over one of the signings of the season is the buy-back clause Real Madrid inserted, allowing them to take Reguilón back to the Bernabéu as early as next summer.


Thomas Partey vs Pierre-Emile Højbjerg

Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg

Arsenal saved their best signing for last in Thomas Partey. The highly rated dynamic midfielder was one of Atlético Madrid’s stand-out players during his two-year spell. Hard-working defensively and equally capable of transitioning play forward.

Having put in man of the match performances in the games he featured in prior to injury, Arsenal fans caught a glimpse of just what a key role he will play for this season.


Similarly, Spurs required steel in the middle of the park and acquired former Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. Deemed as an underwhelming signing at first, Højbjerg has since become a staple in Tottenham’s starting eleven.

Højbjerg’s no nonsense, down-and-dirty approach has rid Spurs of their soft underbelly, displaying great leadership both on and off the pitch. Højbjerg’s fight is what Spurs never knew they needed, adding grittiness to their engine room.


Pablo Marí vs Joe Rodon

Pablo Marí vs Joe Rodon

Former Flamengo and Manchester City defender Pablo Marí originally arrived on loan at Arsenal almost a year ago. He’s now signed permanently, but only featured a handful of times since sustaining a couple of long-term injuries. It’s fair to say Mari is yet to really make his mark in the Premier League.


Joe Rodon’s integration into the first team came earlier than anticipated, replacing the injured Toby Alderweireld against Manchester City. Rodon gave a good account of himself and earned his full debut in the London Derby against Chelsea in Spurs’ next league game. Rodon is definitely one to watch, having already shown great character and plenty of potential.



Arsenal Hits – 2

Arsenal Misses – 3 

Spurs Hits – 5

Spurs Misses – 0

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