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Merson left with egg on his face as he makes Arsenal and Spurs top four U-turn

Arsenal are still in control of their own destiny in the top four race but Tottenham are breathing down their neck after their emphatic north London derby victory

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Mikel Arteta reviews Spurs defeat

Paul Merson has performed a U-turn on who will finish inside the top four following Arsenal’s heavy defeat to Tottenham in the North London derby.

Spurs are only a point behind their city rivals following their emphatic 3-0 victory on Thursday as Harry Kane bagged a brace for Antonio Conte’s men. For Arsenal, it was an evening to forget with Rob Holding sent off in the first half for two quick bookings after various altercations with Son Heung-min, who was also on the scoresheet.

The Gunners are still in control of their own destiny in the top four race but have to travel to Newcastle on Monday night, followed by a home game against Everton on the final day of the Premier League season. Meanwhile, Spurs host Burnley before an away game against relegated Norwich City.

And former Arsenal star Merson reckons Mikel Arteta’s men will crumble under the pressure despite saying last month that they would secure Champions League football.

The Highbury legend wrote in his Daily Star column : “I could not believe what I was watching. They have opened the door to the top four now and I’d be shocked if Tottenham don’t win their last two games.

“I can’t see Arsenal winning their last two games. Newcastle in their last home game of the season is a difficult game because they will have a point to prove. Everton at the Emirates Stadium? You’d take that. Everton have picked up results lately. But Jordan Pickford has had to make a load of top class saves.

“If Arsenal win their last two games then fair play but for a young team like that to come back from a derby defeat like that and do it, that would be a big feat. I just don’t see how Arsenal handle the pressure. They didn’t handle it at Spurs.”

Harry Kane scored twice against Arsenal
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Merson’s latest comments could hardly be more different from what he said last month, when he called Spurs a “one-man team” with Harry Kane and predicted Arsenal would pounce on any slip-ups from Conte’s side. He said: “Spurs are all about Harry Kane. If Kane turns up, they can beat anybody.

“He turned up at the Etihad a few weeks back, was a nine out of ten, and they win the game. Now he’s turned up against West Ham and Newcastle and they’ve won those games comfortably and put themselves back in the race. As long as he turns up, they’re alright. But he didn’t turn up at Burnley and they lost.

“For me, they’re a one-man team because he’s the engine. If you own a Ferrari it’s no good without an engine in it and he’s the engine. For me, as long as Harry Kane keeps turning up, Spurs will be in there and Arsenal will be in trouble. But surely he can’t keep performing this well for the rest of the season? As soon as he has one of those off-days Spurs will slip up and Arsenal will pounce.”

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