The story so far: Ranking Arsenal and Tottenham ahead of the north London derby

How have the rivals compared since they last met?

Domestic football returns with a bang this weekend as Arsenal host Tottenham in the first North London Derby of the season.

The Gunners currently sit atop the Premier League table, two places and points ahead of Tottenham in third ahead of the Emirates clash and won the same tie 3-1 last season as a disjointed Spurs were taken apart.

12 months on, however, it could be a very different story, and we took a look at how the teams have got to this point, ranking their summer business, season so far, manager and just who is the star on each side of the divide.

Summer business

Tottenham: B

Arsenal: A-

To kick us off, it is Arsenal that hold the upper hand based on the additions made to the squads over the summer.

There is a sense of confusion over the transfer business conducted by Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici over the summer. Though they signed 8 players, Fraser Forster is merely to meet homegrown rules, Destiny Udogie will remain on loan at Udinese this season and Conte has publicly admitted that Djed Spence was a club decision, rather than a personal choice.

Of the players that they did add, there is no doubting the quality of either Richarlison or Yves Bissouma, while Perisic adds some much-needed energy and winning mentality down the left flank.

Questions remain, however, about one or two positions. It was thought that the Lilywhites would push to sign a top centre-back, with Alessandro Bastoni, Josko Gvardiol and Pau Torres all mooted. However, in the end they opted for the cheaper option in Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona, while they are also lacking a creative midfielder in their ranks.

Like Tottenham, Arsenal opted to bring in known quantities in the shape of Manchester City pair Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, both of whom have hit the ground running. Fabio Vieira looks a promising addition, while the return of William Saliba from loan is a major bonus. They have also added wildcard Marquinhos, but he is likely not ready for Premier League football.

Like Tottenham, however, they look light in some areas, with a failed deadline day move for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz leaving them short in midfield and, at present, there being no clear alternative to Bukayo Saka on the right flank.

Both sides will have cause for concern about their transfer window and what they didn’t do, but on balance Arsenal have just edged it in terms of what the two have added.

Season so far

Arsenal: A

Tottenham: A

There can be few complaints from either side of north London about the start to the season that the two sides have made, with Arsenal and Spurs separated by just two points as it stands.

The Gunners have swept almost all before them, with the exception of being exploited on the counter-attack against Manchester United. Meanwhile, Tottenham remain one of two unbeaten sides in the top flight, with five wins complemented by draws away to West Ham and Chelsea in games that on another day, they could have lost.


Arsenal: B

Tottenham: A

While Mikel Arteta is undoubtedly a very talented coach, he remains young and experienced at the highest level, with Arsenal his first and only job to date. Tactically astute, he is sometimes guilty of leaving substitutes too late, or trying to change too much at once.

Conte isn’t perfect either, but has a wealth of experience and can boast titles as a result of his methods, something that his counterpart on the Seven Sisters Road cannot. That being said, there is genuine hope amid both sets of fans that this year may see silverware return to their clubs, and either manager could be the man to do it.

Key player

Tottenham: Harry Kane - A

Arsenal: Bukayo Saka - B

Both sides are headlined by an Englishman amid the wealth of talent on show across north London, with Harry Kane undoubtedly Tottenham’s talisman. He already has six goals so far this season, and breaks records with every shot that finds the back of the net as he looks to end his club’s long trophy drought. Asked to be goalscorer and provider both, his form and Tottenham’s go hand-in-hand.

Their north London rivals are perhaps less reliant on their key man, but Bukayo Saka is the man that is often turned to when the Gunners need to make something happen. The 21-year-old is well on his way to becoming a future superstar, having racked up 139 appearances for Arsenal as well as 20 for England. Less of an out-and-out goalscorer than Kane, it is his linkup play, particularly with Martin Odegaard, that has caught the eye and he will be the man to watch.

Overall winner: Tottenham

While Tottenham had perhaps a less impressive transfer window than Arsenal, they possess a proven manager, along with a proven world-class striker. The Gunners, on the other hand, remain a strong but youthful and inexperienced side led by a talented but inexperienced manager.

There are signs that the additions of Jesus and Zinchenko have added more nous to their side, and Arteta’s side is perhaps the more rounded one, but it is Tottenham that the betting money would be on come May to finish above the Gunners due to their world-class attack alone.

Read more:

Arsenal vs Tottenham: Where the north London derby will be won and lost

Frank Lampard reveals the chances of Dominic Calvert-Lewin & Jordan Pickford returning vs Southampton

Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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