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‘Higher and higher’ – Graeme Souness thinks Arsenal have seen real improvement under Mikel Arteta after the North London derby but warns ‘real tests’ will come against Liverpool and Man City


Graeme Souness admitted everyone loved watching Arsenal but remained skeptical of their titles until they had a ‘real test’.

Mikel Arteta’s side won the North London derby on Saturday, beating fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at the Emirates.

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Premier League leaders Arsenal are on top

Souness thinks the only way is for Arsenal - but has issued a warning

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Souness thinks the only way is for Arsenal – but has issued a warning

Spurs saw wing-back Emerson Royal sent off for a second-half challenge against Gabriel Martinelli, and the Gunners took the opportunity to reclaim north London bragging rights.

Former Liverpool star Souness is just one of many pundits who have praised Arsenal for their performance on derby day.

But the five-time top-flight English champion had a word of warning for the Gunners, as the Emirates faithful begin to dream of securing their first title since 2004.

“I think it’s up and up for Arsenal, I think they play a brand of football that we all enjoy,” talkSPORT co-host Souness, White and Jordan said on Monday.

“But I come back to it anyway, the real tests will be against Liverpool, Man City.

“And that in itself is a compliment because if you were talking about it a year ago there would be seven or eight teams that you could come up with as a test for them.”

Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season at Old Trafford, preventing them from having a perfect start

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Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season at Old Trafford, preventing them from having a perfect start


After missing out on the top four on the final day of last season against rivals Tottenham, Arsenal have enjoyed a stellar start to the campaign.

The Gunners have won seven of their eight league games and are top of the table, with new signings Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko providing a real boost to their side.

But their perfect start was ruined when they faced fellow top six contenders Man United, losing 3-1 at Old Trafford.

As a result, Souness believes wins over City and Liverpool – who Arsenal face this month – are needed if they are to prove they will be up there at the end of the campaign.

Souness thinks Arteta's side have come a long way since that time last year

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Souness thinks Arteta’s side have come a long way since that time last year

The Reds have had a slow start to the season, while City trail the Gunners in second place – but Souness believes the two sides will still be the other sides battling it out at the top of the table this year.

And that challenge in itself leads him to believe that there has been a huge improvement in Arteta’s side since last season.

He continued: “Now the real test for them, where they want to be – which is tough for the Premier League – the real test is when they play Liverpool or Man City, which is imminent.

“In saying that, and naming just two teams, it’s a real compliment to Arsenal, how far they’ve come down the road.”

After the North London derby, Arteta himself also put his side’s brilliant start to the campaign into perspective, saying his side simply needed to focus on chasing victory, rather than their title prospects.



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