North London Derby perfectly encapsulated the journey of both Arsenal and Spurs
The derby in the Premier League is back to its scintillating best.
In the pre-match chatter leading up to the North London derby on Sunday afternoon, there were varying predictions as to how it would pan out.
Others noted that Ange Postecoglou's side were a completely different beast to the Antonio Conte team that left the Emirates last season with their tails between their legs and were bound to give the derby a proper go.
As it turns out, both were mostly correct and the 2-2 draw which played out in incredibly tense fashion proved that both teams are back to full power in arguably the Premier League's most entertaining game of the season.
Stages of rebuild for both Spurs and Arsenal were apparent during the North London derby
Arsenal, of course, are much further along in their project than Spurs and Mikel Arteta has built a side that can compete with the best, producing some dazzling football at times. But they ultimately lack a world-class striker, something which was noticeably apparent over the weekend.
With some moments of pure dominance throughout the game, the Gunners will be certainly disappointed with the draw, considering that if they did indeed have a star man up front, they might have made a long day out of a short trip for Tottenham.
Big Ange has made big, early progress
Spurs, however, were not ones for pushing over and what probably stands out most from the tie is just how far along they look in their new Harry Kane-less rebuild under Big Ange.
The Australian has transformed the side that were one of the most underperforming teams last season, a team which routinely didn't even try to score a goal in the first half under Conte.
Now, just months later and only a handful of games into the new season, they are a slick, well-oiled machine which held their own against Arsenal's intense style of play. With luck on their side, they could have even come away with a win at the Emirates.
While there's clearly still a long way to go for Postecoglou and this Spurs team, Arsenal may worry about just how level the match was, considering the difference in time invested by both managers in their respective rebuilds.
WOW WOW WOW! This GAME!
Spurs are LEVEL again in NO time! 🤯⚡ pic.twitter.com/DKpUISIApR
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 24, 2023
Son was undoubtedly the star of the show for Spurs, but new players like Micky Van de Ven and James Maddison looked extremely assured.
Destiny Udogie, meanwhile came back brilliantly from a shaky start to close out a solid performance. A mention is owed to Yves Bissouma too, who has completely transformed Spur's midfield.
Arsenal, as they tend to do, looked dangerous every time they got the ball in Spurs' half, but the injury to Declan Rice deadened their attacking prowess, and there'll be some nervous glances at Twitter timelines in the wait to see how long the former West Ham captain will be out.
With both teams winning four and drawing two of their first six games, there's no doubt they've both made strong starts to the season. However, while both journeys are at such different stages, Arsenal may start to feel the early pressure of another title run-in with Man City, alongside the added weight of Champions League football.
Coming off the back of an excellent win against PSV in Europe during the week, Arsenal just couldn't ramp up to their usual peak in the most important fixture on their calendar, which will come as a shock to Arteta.
Another thing they can now add to their list of worries is the revival of their closest rivals nipping at their heels. If the first six games of the season was an audition for Postecoglou's new Spurs side, they've passed with flying colours. Tottenham are the real deal.
- Marcus Rashford breaks his silence after car crash following Burnley win
- Peter Crouch's explanation for TV blunder on TNT Sport is just gold
- Micah Richards on the one player that even Roy Keane was afraid of
- Roy Keane points out the glaringly obvious after Man United's latest failure