Flashback: Merson's backfiring Spurs claim for the last Arsenal derby battle

Paul Merson

Pundit had predicted Tottenham fans would settle for an easy defeat, only to see them share the spoils at The Emirates.

Was September's North London derby the moment Tottenham's season beagn to turn around?

Prior to the clash at The Emirates, Mauricio Pochettino's side had picked up just one point from their previous three matches, with home losses to Liverpool and West Brom.

While it was 'just' a point earned away at Arsenal, the manner of the performance gave the club a mini-boost.

The comments of former Gunner Paul Merson to The Star at the time suggested that some Spurs fans would take a measured defeat, just keen to avoid humiliation.

Pochettino's side turned those comments on their head, leading the game before being pegged back in the 1-1 draw.

Merson had stated: "A lot of Spurs fans I know are already fearing the worst. They would take a 2-0 defeat now. But I think it could be even worse than that.

"If they try to play a pressing game on Arsenal it could be at least 3-0."

The game was far from uneven, with Spurs having four shots on target to Arsenal's six.

Pochettino's side won real praise for their performance, a game in which star striker Harry Kane was not even on the bench and Christian Eriksen was substituted after only 62 minutes.

While there was a dip in form to come after this game, a woeful 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, this was a performance which showed they were capable of buying into Pochettino's methods in big matches, and settling for a narrow defeat was far from the player's minds.

A measure of how far Spurs have come since comes in that even Merson cannot find it in himself to back an Arsenal win, telling SkySports he sees a 2-2 draw ahead.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch