By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Martin Keown has predicted that the outcome of the battle between Tottenham and Arsenal this season can shift the power in north London for a generation.
The Gunners have ruled throughout the 20-year Arsene Wenger era and have not finished behind Spurs in the Premier League since the 1994-95 season.
But Tottenham’s emerging team go into Saturday’s derby at White Hart Lane with a three-point advantage over their rivals and have the momentum to take another big step in their progress under Mauricio Pochettino.
Both clubs lost in midweek but Spurs had won six consecutive league matches before their 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Wednesday.
Arsenal legend Keown, who recently made his first visit to White Hart Lane since winning the league there with the 2003-04 Arsenal ‘Invincibles’, said: “‘It is the biggest north London derby ever. I believe that. This season can change everything.
“In my day, Tottenham were always trying to stop us winning something. That was all that mattered to them. We used to dismiss them.
“But this is different. If they win this game then they could finish above Arsenal for the first time in Wenger’s time in England AND win the league. Arsenal have been trying to win it for 11 or 12 years.
“‘Tottenham can do it almost at the first attempt and if they do they won’t go away. This could be the game changer.”
This contrasts sharply with the increasingly poisonous mood at Emirates Stadium, which is clearly affecting the players and, significantly, has been noticed in the boardroom as well as by the likes of Thierry Henry.