Ex-Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson hopes his former side can hold Tottenham Hotspur to a draw in this weekend’s North London derby.

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However, he feels that Spurs are the stronger side and are more likely to come out on top.

Following the international break, in which Tottenham players Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks did not feature, Mauricio Pochettino takes his side to The Emirates tomorrow as the Premier League resumes.

Spurs lie third in the table, eight points behind early leaders Manchester City while Arsenal are a further four points further back in sixth place.

“I am going to go for the draw, but that’s only in the hope,” Merson told Sky Sports as he made his weekly predictions.

“If both teams turn up, you just see Tottenham winning.

“I think home advantage in a tight game, I like to go 1-1.”

The last three Premier League meetings between the two sides at The Emirates have ended in 1-1 draws, while Tottenham have not lost at the home of their rivals in the league since January 2014.

While the Gunners claimed a League Cup win in September 2015, Spurs have clearly had the better of recent exchanges.

As a result, Merson has a realistic view about the fortunes and expectations of both sides at the moment.

He argues that while Spurs are in the title fight, Arsenal are not.

“For Arsenal fans, if they come away with a 1-1 draw and can stop Tottenham winning the league, I think that is how it has now got at the moment as Arsenal are not going to win the league!

“As long as the Tottenham players have had a good rest, they did not go away on international duty, which is a big advantage, so I think Arsenal will settle for a draw.”

Although Spurs’ England stars were not on international duty, a number of their other players were in action.

Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick as Denmark crushed the Republic of Ireland to qualify for the World Cup and will take plenty of confidence into the derby.

Serge Aurier and Ben Davies were among those also in action so the combination of players returning who are fit and well rested with those on top of their game gives Pochettino plenty of options.

Get involved in the game! Watch this exclusive TAG Heuer panel debate between David Seaman and Tim Sherwood ahead of the North London derby (live from Friday, 3pm) and then take the TAG Heuer Premier League Pressure Test to have the chance to win tickets to see your team live!


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