Can Arsenal finish above Tottenham this season?
Bernd Leno believes Arsenal can finish above Spurs this season on the evidence of the 2-2 draw last weekend. But is it too early to get carried away?
It is fair to say that Arsenal have got off to the better start as they sit in fifth place after the opening four games, picking up seven points, while Tottenham are down in ninth position on five points.
It is still very early days, of course, but there seems to be a real sense of optimism in the Gunners camp, while the opposite can be said of Tottenham following a stuttering start to the campaign.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men could be suffering a hangover from the disappointment of losing the Champions League final to Liverpool at the end of last season, and their performances have suggested that.
They left it late to beat Aston Villa on the opening day before picking up a good point at Manchester City. But it was the home defeat against Newcastle that set alarm bells ringing among the supporters, and squandering a 2-0 lead against the Gunners has added to the anxiety.
The noises coming out of the club have not been great either. Pochettino has admitted his squad is more unsettled than ever as doubts remain over key players, while he also had to dismiss rumours that all is not well between him and Daniel Levy and he could walk away.
The Tottenham squad is packed with quality still and now the transfer window is shut, Pochettino will be hoping the squad can settle down for now at least and they can string some results together.
It could already be too late to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the title, but they will be in the top four if they can get back on track and be the Tottenham everybody knows.
The big question is, though, can Arsenal get above them?
They have not managed it in the last three years, with Spurs finishing higher since the 2016-17 campaign, but the Gunners could be in with a shout this season and the threat they pose in attack will certainly help.
In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette they have a fearsome strike-force and both are already up and running this season with five goals between them.
The addition of Nicolas Pepe could also be a step in the right direction, and if he lives up to his price tag and expectations, Arsenal will have a real player on their hands.
However, Arsenal’s undoing could be their defence. That was the problem last season and is still a concern, especially after the late departure of Nacho Monreal.
All things considered, Tottenham still appear to have the edge over Arsenal but it could be closer this year, and the Gunners finishing above their arch rivals for the first time since 2016 certainly cannot be ruled out.