Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has been warned that Arsenal have four in-form forwards ready to punish them this Sunday and could end their Champions League prospects once and good – despite Spurs heading into the clash with their own attacking trio of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min Son and Gareth Bale all flying.
Spurs have lifted themselves out of a rut thanks to the form of Bale in particular, winning all of their past five matches across all competitions.
Before that, doubt was beginning to be cast over Mourinho’s future at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after losing six of their previous eight games.
Welshman Bale, though, has produced six goals and three assists in their last seven games while Kane took his tally for the season to 26 goals and 16 assists by netting both goals in the 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League on Thursday.
The north Londoners’ revival will be put to the test on Sunday when they face Arsenal in the north London derby at the Emirates.
Spurs are without a league win at the home of their rivals since November 2010, when Bale – now on loan from Real Madrid – was a permanent player for the club and found the scoresheet.
Arsenal are three spots behind Spurs in the league table and five points off their rivals but themselves are on a four-match unbeaten streak and defeated Olympiakos 3-1 in Greece in the week.
And Gunners hero Paul Merson reckons Tottenham need to be wary of the quartet of Bukayo Saka, Willian, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Willian has set up four goals in his past four games while Pepe impressed in matches against Leicester and Burnley, scoring in the latter.
Aubameyang has meanwhile scored six goals in his past seven games while Saka has been Arsenal’s brightest performer throughout the campaign with the teenager blossoming into a real difference maker.
Merson wrote in his weekly Daily Star column: “I think Arsenal are favourites against them this weekend. I really do. If both teams play to the best of their ability I think Arsenal win the game.
“I think their passing and movement is better. Spurs rely too much on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and lately Gareth Bale.
“Arsenal are a different team to the one Spurs beat in December. Bukayo Saka is playing really well. Willian looks like he has turned a corner. Nicolas Pepe had his best game yet against Leicester.
“And Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is scoring goals again and looks much more confident. Arsenal will have to keep the back door shut, but I give them every chance in this game.”
“Now, Spurs have to stay in the Europa League. They might need it. It could be their best route back into the Champions League.
“For Arsenal, it’s their only route. Their chances of the top four have gone in my opinion. The two games against Olympiakos are bigger for them than the north London derby – and it hurts me to say that as an ex-Arsenal player.
“If they got beat by Tottenham but still got through against Olympiakos, I don’t think they would have a problem with that.
“But I still think they have a great chance of beating Spurs. Even in the games Spurs have been winning lately, they’ve been split open a couple of times.
“A better quality team would have hurt them. And Arsenal will have a lot of the ball in this game because Spurs like to counter-attack.”
While Merson didn’t predict who will win at the Emirates, he did say: “I can’t see it finishing 0-0. It never disappoints, this game. The Manchester derby. The Merseyside derby. They often do. Not this game. Both teams go for it – and I think there will be goals.”