It will certainly be done with painful reluctance, but there may be more than a few Arsenal fans casting envious glances at their fiercest rivals when they visit the Emirates on Sunday. Tottenham, boosted by the expected windfall from Gareth Bale’s sale have strengthened their team and squad in almost all areas during what -- admittedly with the final judgment still to come on the pitch -- has been a phenomenally successful transfer window.
Indeed, Tottenham have added three players just this week with the arrivals of Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen. Arsenal, meanwhile, despite a much hyped war chest of their own, have yet to spend a single penny heading into the final embers of the window. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, though, has again tried to shift the focus to the quality players he believes he already has at his disposal rather than being drawn into another conversation about the transfer market.
"I must confess I am not too much worried about their risk and what they do," he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. "I believe you win games when you focus on yourself and the quality of our game.
"The only thing that counts in football - I can understand that it is very interesting for people to read the newspapers and see who goes in and out - but there is only one thing that if you really love football, is what happens on the pitch.”
Arsenal’s lack of signings has been compounded by a spate of injuries. With Mikel Arteta, Thomas Vermaelen and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain already out, Lukas Podolski, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey all suffered problems in the victorious second leg of the club’s Champions League playoff against Fenerbahce in midweek. Podolsk is set to miss between eight and 10 weeks, but Wenger has said that Ramsey and Wilshere will be involved on Sunday.
Tottenham secured their place in the Europa League group stage as they made it four wins out of four to start the season with a 3-0 win over Dinamo Tbilisi. Both their Premier League matches have been decided by Roberto-Soldado-converted penalties.
Aaron Lennon is a doubt for the trip to the Emirates with a foot injury, while Lamela, Chiriches and Eriksen are unlikely to feature.
D: Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs
M: Ramsey, Wilshere
Walcott, Rosicky, Cazorla
D: Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose
M: Capoue, Paulinho
Townsend, Dembele, Chadli
Prediction: There can be little doubt that, as things stand, Tottenham have a superior squad to their north London rivals. In terms of the teams the two sides will feel on Sunday, however, things are more even. That is especially true given that Andre Villas-Boas is still fully integrating his host of new arrivals.
The midfield battle promises to be intriguing. Arsenal still painfully lack a natural defensive presence in midfield, although Ramsey has been disciplined in his recent performances. Tottenham, conversely, have a midfield packed with strength, with Etienne Capoue, Mousa Dembele and the box-to-box Paulinho.
It is easy to see Tottenham enjoying plenty of joy on the break with the pace too they have out wide. But Arsenal also have the ability to cause problems in the final third and another entertaining contest between these two sides could be in store.
Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League encounter will kick-off at 11 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.