Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said Tottenham Hotspur deserve their place at the top of the Premier League table but it is too early to call them genuine title contenders.
Jose Mourinho’s Spurs have not suffered a defeat in the league since the season’s opening weekend and have the opportunity to move 11 points clear of their north London rivals Arsenal when they meet on Sunday.
“I think it’s very early in the season to see who is title contenders or not,” Arteta told reporters. “But what you can say is that they (Spurs) are in the position they are because they are doing things the right way.”
Arsenal, in contrast, have struggled for consistency and sit 14th in the table, while their tally of 13 points is their lowest after their opening 10 matches of any league campaign since the 1981-82 season.
“The table is like that because they deserve it more than us and they’ve done things better than us,” Arteta said. “We have to accept that. But we want to go there and make that gap three points smaller.”
London has been placed under Tier 2 COVID-19 restrictions by the British government, paving the way for a return of 2,000 fans to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend for the first time since March.
Arteta is hoping his players can feed off the atmosphere too.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I’m not going to complain,” Arteta said.
“Honestly, I’d rather play in a stadium with an atmosphere, with some fans and at this moment it’s going to be for them with their supporters and the next week it will be us.”