Mauricio Pochettino was unimpressed with Paul Merson’s comments (Picture: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino has joked that he would like to kick Paul Merson after he claimed that Arsenal would ‘rip Tottenham to shreds’ in Sunday’s derby.

Arsenal head into the game against their north London rivals as slight favourites having won two of their opening three Premier League games compared to Spurs’ one.

Merson certainly fancies his former club to take all three points at the Emirates, saying on Tuesday: ‘I think Arsenal will win the game quite comfortably, 4-1. I think they will rip Tottenham to shreds.

‘I think Tottenham are struggling at the moment and if Arsenal get going then they could score a few. The Man City game has covered over the cracks at Spurs.’

Tottenham suffered a demoralising defeat to Newcastle last weekend (Picture: Getty)

Ahead of the game, Pochettino was asked which of Arsenal’s players – past or present – he would like to have managed at Spurs and the Argentine flipped the question to aim a dig at Merson.

‘Maybe play against? Yes, I want to play against Paul Merson. I would like to kick him,’ he said with a smile to an amused press room.

Spurs have finished ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League table in each of the last three seasons with Pochettino establishing the club as a regular in the top-four places.

However, Spurs failed to beat Arsenal in either league game last season, with the Gunners winning 4-1 at the Emirates before drawing 1-1 at Wembley after Hugo Lloris saved a last-minute penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Merson’s prediction that Arsenal will win comfortably against Spurs isn’t a universal view amongst Sky Sports’ pundits as Danny Mills selected only two of Unai Emery’s players in his combined XI from both sides.

Pochettino also dismissed speculation that he could leave the club after the game saying: ‘What I can say about it is that is stupidity and rumour.’





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