Tottenham and Arsenal will face off in the North London derby on Sunday.
It's usually a highly anticipated game, but this year's local rivalry feels a bit different. It hasn't been helped by some of the team's league form.
Spurs had enjoyed a great start to the season, but have lost in their last two. Arsenal, on the other hand, have won their last two games having lost their three openers.
As far as traditions are concerned, Spurs and Arsenal are regarded as being in the 'big six' alongside both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea.
But Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher believes that the two have fallen too far away from their competitors. It's a contentious assessment maybe for Spurs in particular.
"This Sunday’s North London Derby is a reminder that the idea of a ‘big six’ in English football is outdated. We now have a big four," Carragher said in his Telegraph column.
🗣️ @Carra23 on the NLD this Sunday:
"The idea of a ‘big six’ in English football is outdated. We now have a big four.
The worry for Arsenal & Spurs fans is how far they have fallen behind the title contenders & how long they will be on the outside looking in." pic.twitter.com/TDOZ5VaWqU
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) September 24, 2021
"Competing for the Premier League is off the table for Arsenal and Spurs for the next two or three years. Champions League qualification is a long shot this year."
Arsenal have finished back-to-back seasons in eight place under manager Mikel Arteta, in what many believe to be a rebuilding phase at the club.
Tottenham haven't managed a Top 4 finish in three Premier League campaigns, after Mauricio Pochettino steered them to four consecutive top table appearances prior.
"The worry for Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur fans is how far they have fallen behind the title contenders and how long they will be on the outside looking in," Carragher said.
"The same clubs have occupied those positions for the last two seasons and it would be a huge shock if they do not do so again."
🚨 Confirmed: Craig Pawson will take charge of the Arsenal v Spurs game this weekend.
- Arsenal have only won 9/21 matches he has refereed.
- He sent off David Luiz for *this* last season 😳
Buckle up, lads. pic.twitter.com/jiIQLBMdHX
— Av (@aviv_lavi) September 20, 2021
What's the goal for Spurs and Arsenal this season? Judging on form, and squad depth, it's hard to even put the two in the same picture.
Arsenal fans will be hoping that a season without European football can propel them on domestically, although their start to the season hasn't set the world alight.
Spurs will hope to mature under new manager Nuno Espírito Santo as the season goes on. They do have the star power to get results but consistency is key.
"The minimum for Arsenal and Spurs is an improvement on last year’s performance," Carragher reckons. "A style in tune with what the fans expect, and the foundation for a further step forward in a year’s time."
"The north London clubs are in a battle with each other to see who will be ready first to break back into the top four. We may have a clearer idea on Sunday."