Merson's controversial claim: This is why Arsenal are stronger than Tottenham

The former Arsenal midfielder feels Tottenham Hotspur could not do without Harry Kane, while he insists the Gunners would be fine without Alexis Sanchez.

Paul Merson feels Tottenham are over-reliant on Harry Kane ahead of this Saturday's north London derby, according to Sky Sports.

The ex-Arsenal midfielder believes Spurs could not do without the 21-year-old, whom he praised the club for tying down to a new long-term contract.

The Gunners, however, could live without their star man Alexis Sanchez, the 46-year-old claims.

"Arsenal will miss Alexis Sanchez because he's top drawer but they got by without him last week. I don't think Tottenham could do without Harry Kane but Arsenal could live without Sanchez," Merson said.

"Signing Kane up was a huge deal for Tottenham - one of the best of the window."

In the short term, Merson's claims make sense - Arsenal won 5-0 without Sanchez against Aston Villa, while Kane has been a frequent scorer for Tottenham in recent weeks.

Over the course of the season, however,  Sanchez has accounted for 44 per cent of the Gunners' league goals (in terms of both scoring and assisting). 

Arsenal 44 31 23
Tottenham 35 24 23
  Goals (per game)AssistsAppearancesMinutes Played
Olivier Giroud 0.58 0.08 12 693
Alexis Sánchez 0.57 0.33 21 1,761
Harry Kane 0.53 0.11 19 1,251
Christian Eriksen 0.39 0.04 23 1,908
Nacer Chadli 0.35 0.25 20 1,432
Santiago Cazorla 0.27 0.27 22 1,772

As Opta stats show, Arsenal have scored more goals than Spurs, while Olivier Giroud averages more per game than Sanchez - giving credence to Merson's suggestions.

But Sanchez has averaged more goals per game than Kane (granted, the 21-year-old has played less minutes) and plenty more assists.

Tottenham's Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli, meanwhile, have been far more active in front of goal than any other Arsenal player - of which Santi Cazorla is the best example outside of Sanchez and Giroud.

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