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Arsenal vs Spurs: The impact on Arteta’s future

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If Arsenal lose to Tottenham on Sunday Mikel Arteta won’t be sacked. That needs straightening out first and foremost. This project, this process, this vision, whatever you want to call it, won’t come to a halt after the North London Derby.

The outcome of this game can be transformative, however.

Taking a look at the trio of matches just passed, how they’re perceived alters drastically depending on Sunday’s result: either it’s three deserved victories with three clean sheets that were the building blocks towards wholesale improvements or thinly veiled mediocrity that was staring us in the face all along.

Heading into this meeting with Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, there are few who’ve firmly placed themselves on one side of the fence yet. The North London Derby will confirm any indecision.

The outcome of Arsenal vs Tottenham in the North London Derby will have a gigantic impact on how Mikel Arteta is viewed by the supporters

What victory could mean for Arteta’s aspirations in this job is seismic. Having steadied the ship after the torrid start, to truly announce his ideas and suitability on the supporters then he needs a statement win. There is no greater way to announce that than against them.

The fans have rallied behind the team superbly during these dark times despite all the troubles faced. While it is far too soon to claim their faith in Arteta is solidifying, coming away from Sunday evening clutching three points against a rival both in the geographical and competitive sense will act as a landmark moment.

Lose, and everything changes.

Not only will ground be lost on the side who will be competing with Arsenal for a Europa League berth this season, when Arteta is faced with a ‘big’ game of actual competitiveness – unlike Chelsea and Manchester City – only to come up short, the toxicity resurfaces.

Burnley and Norwich will become just Burnley and Norwich, not stepping stones en route to a greater good. There are, quite literally, no more excuses to be had with the manager boasting a fully fit squad to choose from. One he near enough entirely assembled himself with decisions on who came in, who left and who stayed littered throughout this group.

Arsenal fans want to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, that this mini-spell is more than a mere two scraped wins over Premier League relegation strugglers. Get three points against Tottenham and he’ll have to hire security guards to stop supporters hugging and kissing him.

Whatever the situation may be surrounding the club, beating Spurs is, and always will be, beating Spurs. Everything unwanted or distrusted is forgotten as elation takes precedent.

If fans are to envisage a future where Arteta can overcome the tallest of hurdles and steer Arsenal in the right direction with him at the helm, he has to beat Tottenham. He just has to.

It will not alter his position in the job. But what it will do is convince the majority whether they feel he has the capacity to carry out his vision, or whether he’s just swimming against the tide.

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