Tottenham v Arsenal will be spicy in the north London derby on Sunday (watch live, 11:30am ET on Peacock Premium) and it could be even spicier after these comments from Mikel Arteta.

This is the kind of material you’d pin up on the noticeboard in the locker room, or, you know, set as the lock screen on the fancy 120-inch TV screen in the locker room.

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The Arsenal boss was asked about the form of Premier League leaders, Tottenham, and whether or not Jose Mourinho’s team are serious title contenders.

With his Arsenal hat firmly on, here was Arteta’s response to talk of Tottenham’s title hopes ahead of Tottenham v Arsenal.

“I think it’s very early in the season to see who is title contenders or not,” Arteta said. “But what you can say is what I said before is that they (Spurs) are in the position they are because they are doing things the right way. What we have to look at is where we will be after 38 games in the league. Now what is going to happen after Sunday, we want to be close and finish three points closer to them.”

Begrudgingly, Arteta accepts that Tottenham have a plan and it is working well. His cautionary tone seems more hopeful than anything else, though.

Arsenal fans, players and staff will be feeling more than uneasy following Tottenham’s fine start to the season. This feels different this year.

Mourinho has built a solid defensive base and the clinical finishing of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and others has made a huge difference.

Can Tottenham keep it up? Reading between the lines, Arteta doesn’t seem to think so and that will only add further fuel to the fire of a north London derby this weekend.

Arsenal are smarting from recent defeats, as a defeat to Tottenham will see them fall 11 points behind their rivals early in the season. Arteta knows it is early, but a loss would almost be confirmation that Spurs will finish above Arsenal this season.

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