Hugo Lloris has warned Arsenal that Tottenham are finally hitting their stride before the sides face each other this weekend.
Arsenal and Tottenham go into Sunday’s derby game with Spurs only three points ahead of Arsenal, who have scored five goals more this season and are currently unbeaten in 18 games across all competitions. Spurs have also lost three games in the league while Arsenal have only lost two.
Obviously, most people have Spurs as favourites, despite Arsenal’s record at the Emirates and their revival this year under Unai Emery.
“For different reasons we had a slow start in term of performances, especially because we had a lot of players involved in the World Cup,” Lloris said. “We didn’t really have a proper pre-season to prepare the body and the mind for the new season.
“But it’s quite curious because we got a lot of points — the club’s best start for a while [in the Premier League]. And now we are adding the performances. The last few games are very good in terms of performance and we can build in confidence after those games. I think we’re getting back and that’s very positive for the team.
“The manager thinks we are best at this time of year. You need to build up your season. We’re used to building momentum perfectly in November, December, January in the last few seasons and it’s going to be the key again to realise our main objective — the top four. Then we need a bit of luck to go through in the Champions League because that was our second main target — to get out of the group stage.”
For the past decade, Tottenham were able to gain ground on Arsenal because Arsene Wenger’s men stood still as they dealt with life after building a new stadium that was entirely self-financed. Arsenal went from title winners to top four contenders and were happy with that for the duration of their settling in period.
There might be much to fear from Tottenham for 90 minutes on Sunday, but it will take decades of continued dominance and humiliation at their hands to establish any fear of them as a club. Tottenham are incapable of this.
To overtake Arsenal recently they needed their north London rivals to drop their level so significantly they had to sack their most successful manager. You’d only fear Tottenham as an entity if you believe Arsenal have no room to improve while Tottenham do.
“The club’s best start for a while,” says Lloris, yet they are still only three points ahead of Arsenal.