Merson tips Tottenham to lose NLD without ‘Arsenal’s Achilles heel’ Son

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Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Paul Merson believes Arsenal will win Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur as Antonio Conte will be without Heung-Min Son through injury, via his Sky Sports column.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners visit Spurs this weekend seeking to do the double over their rivals. They won 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium back in September in dominant fashion after tearing through Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. Son hitting the visitors’ consolation goal late in the day.

Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy gave Nuno four further Premier League games to prove himself as their manager. But losing to West Ham and Manchester United marked the end for him.

Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Conte will now seek a third London derby win against Arteta’s side after beating Brentford and Crystal Palace in December. Spurs also beat West Ham in the Carabao Cup last month.

Tottenham to lose without ‘Arsenal’s Achilles heel’ Son

Merson plays down Conte’s chances of keeping a 100% record of Premier League London derby wins on Sunday, though. Instead, the Arsenal icon expects Tottenham to lose as the Italian cannot call on Son while the South Korean star recovers from a muscle injury.

Additionally, Merson believes Arsenal are in a better place than when Tottenham won the last north London derby they hosted. Spurs emerged 2-0 victors back in December 2020.

“Son’s absence is huge,” Merson wrote. “I think Arsenal win at Spurs because Son is missing. He’s a huge miss for Spurs, especially in this game. He has been Arsenal’s Achilles heel in recent seasons. For me, Arsenal will have too much going forward for Spurs.

Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

“If Tottenham play as they did last season and give Arsenal all of the ball, I think the Gunners are a better team this year and can hurt them. Arsenal had all the ball in the game last season, but never looked like scoring.

“Now, though, the flair players are playing so much better for Arsenal than what they were then, and that could be crucial. Mikel Arteta’s side also have more confidence this time around and if Spurs sit back, for me there is only one winner.”

Tottenham have not lost a north London derby at home to Arsenal since September 2015 in the EFL Cup. The Gunners also last beat Spurs away from home in the Premier League in March 2014. Conte’s club have won four of the last six they have hosted, drawing two.

Son and Harry Kane scored for Tottenham in their win over Arsenal under Jose Mourinho in December 2020. Following his effort at the Emirates in September, Son has hit four goals and provided four assists in 15 meetings with the Gunners in all competitions for five wins.

In other news, £25m Everton target wants to join Newcastle, four years after Benitez bid

20/01

Liverpool (H)

League Cup

0 - 2

23/01

Burnley (H)

Premier League

0 - 0

10/02

Wolves (A)

Premier League

19:45

12/02

Chelsea (A)

Premier League

15:00

19/02

Brentford (H)

Premier League

15:00

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