Arsenal vs Tottenham: How positive vibes can turn the tide in the north London derby

The Gunners are four years into a solidly funded project under Mikel Arteta and finished 24 points ahead of their neighbors last season, while Spurs are just six games into Postecoglou’s rebuild , which the head coach believes will take time.

With both clubs unbeaten and level on 13 points from five games, optimism is overflowing at both ends of the Seven Sisters Road, but Arsenal are further along in their development and should be considered favourites.

Either way, Postecoglou’s team can be expected to place second from last season, as they haven’t finished this away game in years and either win, lose or make draw, his approach this weekend will count.

Arsenal have been one of the biggest spenders in world football since the appointment of Mikel Arteta.


Spurs have tended to wilt at the Emirates in recent seasons, and their record there is abject; they have not won in the league there since November 2010, when Harry Redknapp’s side memorably came from 2-0 down. Since then, in 12 away derbies, Spurs have lost eight, been twice beaten 5-2 (in consecutive meetings), twice squandered a 2-0 lead and have generally been meek, in especially during their last three visits.

A 2-1 defeat in March 2021 was a microcosm of Jose Mourinho’s tenure, as Spurs took the lead in an empty stadium thanks to Erik Lamela’s magnificent rabona, but paid for their negativity as Arsenal responded after the break .

Six months later, with Nuno Espirito Santo at the helm, Spurs were even worse, losing 3-0 in 34 minutes after showing up seemingly without a midfielder and with a game plan to cede control to the hosts .

Last season’s 3-1 defeat under Antonio Conte was Spurs’ first setback of the campaign, but entirely predictable, with the visitors pulling away from Arsenal and being punished when Arteta’s side inevitably converted dominance in goals.

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou praised his striker Richarlison after their last-minute victory against Sheffield United.

These defeats were all the more infuriating for Spurs fans as their team lacked the fight, desire and adventure to win.

Under Postecoglou, it already looks unlikely that the visitors will turn around on Sunday or play along with the negativity that has characterized their recent derby slump.

The Australian demands that his team approach every match with the same objective: to win through attacking and entertaining football; and it will be no different against the Gunners, although Arteta also wants his players to dominate the ball and take the game to their opponents.

Given the entrenched philosophies of both managers, a match that rarely disappoints promises to be even more entertaining than usual.

For Spurs, a meeting with Arsenal can never be described as a free-kick, but after Saturday’s ultimate victory over Sheffield United, there is no great pressure on Postecoglou’s side. If Spurs remain undefeated, the confidence and optimism around the club will increase further, but, provided they progress on the pitch and play with commitment, there would be no shame in failing against Arsenal at this time .

Really, that’s the core reason why it’s so important for Spurs to have an identity again; playing in a style worthy of the club’s rich traditions and under the guidance of a manager who wants to build for long-term success.

When Mourinho and Conte were in charge and results were all that mattered, the stakes were simply too high. Partisans had nothing to cling to after defeats, nor did they feel that poor results were a natural part of a larger process or a stepping stone to a greater goal.

Under Postecoglou, this is no longer the case, and when his young Spurs team hits a bump in the road, it can be seen as a step in their ongoing development. That said, everyone connected to Spurs is desperate to delay the inevitable setback for at least another week.

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