Arsenal legend playing mind games with ‘one-man team’ Tottenham in top-four race

Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Tottenham are now in pole position for fourth and final Champions League spot after the events in the last round of Premier League matches.

The two north London rivals are now level on points, but Spurs are ahead of the Gunners on goal difference, and although Mikel Arteta’s men still have a game to play, Merson believes it is an advantage for Tottenham.

There was a remarkable run of seven goals as Antonio Conte’s side thrashed Newcastle 5-1 before Arsenal were beaten 3-0 at Crystal Palace.

And Merson, writing in his sky sports column, feels the Gunners’ inexperience could ultimately cost them.

He said: “When you have a young team like Arsenal, you have to take the hard with the soft, and the Crystal Palace defeat was very, very hard.

Arsenal they are a decent team, they have good young players, but they are going to have ups and downs with their performances. One week they will be a nine out of 10, the next week they will be a four out of 10.

“I wouldn’t have been surprised if they didn’t beat Watford when they won 3-2. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they didn’t beat Leicester when they won 2-0. That’s the way it is, it’s a young team.

“There are ways to take a beating and Monday night at Palace was not a good way to take a beating. was worrying. I was expecting one of those performances from tottenham before the end of the season, I did not expect it from Arsenal. They could lose a game, but not like this.

“Palace is a tough place to go on a Monday night, don’t underestimate it. And if Arsenal had beaten Palace, I thought the top four were done and dusted. It would have been three points up and one game down, it was massive.

Tottenham advantage in CL race

“Now all of a sudden Arsenal don’t really have a game to go, because Tottenham have them at home anyway. It doesn’t matter what he does with the match in hand, because Tottenham will have to beat them and they can overtake them.

“You see Tottenham completely dismantling Newcastle on Sunday. Newcastle is not the worst team in the world. I saw them at Chelsea a few weeks ago, and the bar genius of Kai Havertz and Jorginho, the Blues didn’t really seem to score that day, then Tottenham went and outscored them with five.

“The Spurs are the favorites for the top four now. When Harry Kane plays like him, I don’t think many teams beat them. I saw him go to the Etihad and destroy Manchester City. I saw him destroy West Ham, I saw him destroy Newcastle.

“But if you take Kane off the team, the Spurs won’t be in the top four. It’s as simple as that. When he doesn’t show up at Burnley, they beat them up. Tottenham are a one-man team and that’s not disrespectful.

“You could have a Ferrari, but without an engine in the car it doesn’t work. He’s the complete package, and that’s why he’s the best centre-forward in the world. I’ve said that for a long, long time.”

The two clubs are back in action this weekend as Arsenal host Brighton and Tottenham head to Aston Villa.

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