Just a couple of months ago, Tottenham were seen as potential Premier League title contenders and Arsenal were forced to consider the possibility that they were in a relegation battle.
The two sides have since moved closer to meeting somewhere in the middle of those two eventualities, with the focus now on European qualification.
Tottenham’s 2-0 win over their rivals in December sent them top of the table and left Arsenal languishing in 15th, but there are now only seven points between the teams.
Ahead of Sunday’s north London derby at the Emirates, Sportsmail takes a look at a combined XI between Mikel Arteta and Jose Mourinho’s men.
Arsenal host Tottenham at the Emirates in Sunday’s Premier League north London derby
ARSENAL/TOTTENHAM COMBINED XI (4-3-3)
The way Arsenal play out from the back and the requirements placed on Bernd Leno with the ball at his feet mean that mistakes are almost inevitable, and the German goalkeeper has been at least partly responsible for soft goals conceded by the Gunners against Burnley and Olympiacos in the last week.
But as a shot-stopper, Leno has been consistently impressive this season and necessarily so, considering Emi Martinez’s departure at the end of last season.
Hugo Lloris has not been at his best, putting in a disappointing performance in his side’s defeat by Liverpool in January and conceding in poor fashion to a Dominic Calvert-Lewin shot straight at him in Everton’s 5-4 win in the FA Cup.
Both sides have conceded 28 goals in the league so far this season, and while Lloris has kept one more clean sheet than Leno, the German gets the nod for his greater consistency this campaign.
Despite his involvement in mistakes this week, Bernd Leno has been impressive this season
Neither Serge Aurier or Matt Doherty have convinced Jose Mourinho enough this season on a regular basis, with the right-back shirt at Spurs still up for grabs.
Questions still remain over Hector Bellerin’s delivery, but he has managed three league assists so far this season, more than Aurier and Doherty combined.
The Spaniard doesn’t seem to have the electrifying pace he possessed in the past, but tucks inside to carry the ball well in Mikel Arteta’s system.
Doherty has not yet shown the form he had at Wolves in north London, while Serge Aurier cannot be trusted to go 90 minutes without making a rash challenge or crucial mistake.
Hector Bellerin is trusted by Mikel Arteta more than Jose Mourinho has faith in his right backs
The centre back pairing presents a difficult decision in this combined XI, with both managers themselves yet to settle on a regular defensive partnership.
Eric Dier was favoured by Mourinho earlier in the season, but in recent weeks it has been Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld who have been trusted most often.
Spurs have conceded just 13 league goals in the 17 games that Alderweireld has started, and it is the Belgian who appears to be the most reliable out of the defensive options available to Mourinho.
The stats show Tottenham perform best when the 32-year-old is on the pitch and he makes fewer mistakes than his fellow centre backs, who like Lloris have cost Spurs at times this season.
Toby Alderweireld has been Tottenham’s most consistent centre back when picked this season
The choice is a much simpler one when considering Arsenal’s centre back options. Signing from Lille in the summer for £27m, Gabriel has been superb for the Gunners and has brought much needed aggression and solidity to the defence.
He capped another strong performance on Thursday against Olympiacos with a towering header to put Arsenal back in front, to go with the two goals he has scored in the league.
The 23-year-old tested positive for coronavirus at the end of December which led to a prolonged spell out of the side, but a return to the kind of form seen earlier in the season will surely put pressure on his manager to bring him back into Premier League action.
Pablo Mari and Rob Holding have both been solid when called upon by Arteta, but it is Gabriel who has been by far and away the best centre back at the club since his arrival.
Gabriel has adapted to England impressively and has strengthened the Arsenal defence
If both north London clubs have had slight concerns over their right back options, there are no such problems on the left.
Kieran Tierney and Sergio Reguilon have established themselves as two of the best in the league in their position, and both have strong claims for being in this combined XI.
It’s the Scottish international who gets the edge, for just how crucial he is to the way Arsenal attack and how much they have missed him when he has been out injured.
Only Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding have had more touches of the ball for Arsenal than Tierney this season, and alongside Bukayo Saka he has arguably been the Gunners’ most impressive and consistent performer this season.
Kieran Tierney has a huge impact on this Arsenal side with his overlapping runs on the left
Only Ruben Dias, Rodrigo, and Andy Robertson have made more Premier League passes this season than Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The 25-year-old has played every single minute in the league since his move in the summer, and he brings a level of control to the Tottenham midfield that Mourinho is not willing to play without.
He has one goal and three assists this season, but it is the less attractive stats that best show what he brings to his side.
He has made the third most tackles in the league to go along with the second most fouls – Hojbjerg is very clearly the type of player Mourinho loves.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has not missed a minute of Premier League action so far this season
Now back to fitness again, Arsenal will be praying they can keep Thomas Partey that way between now and the end of the season because, when he has been available, he has shown everyone just what he can bring to the side.
Before his arrival it was a midfield sorely lacking in mobility and players who could drive forward with the ball, and the Ghanian has qualities that Arsenal cannot replace in his absence.
Partey was a deserved man of the match in Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford earlier in the season, and he has the technical ability to go alongside the dogged defensive work that will serve the Gunners well in big matches.
Granit Xhaka has been an ever-present in the side but remains prone to calamitous errors, and seems to show his best form when he has someone like Partey alongside him to get around the pitch.
When he’s fit Thomas Partey is evidently a class above Arsenal’s other midfield options
When football returned in England last June, the relationship between Mourinho and Tanguy Ndombele appeared fragile at best.
The £54m signing saw just 64 minutes of action across six matches before suffering injury, and there were rumours that his manager’s tough love was leading to the Frenchman making a premature exit.
But Ndombele seems to have won the trust of Mourinho and when at his best is capable of producing match-winning moments with his superb ball-carrying ability.
He provides an unpredictability to what has often been a very rigged Spurs side, and stats of three goals and one assist don’t do justice to what he is capable of contributing from midfield.
Seeming to have his manager’s trust, Tanguy Ndombele adds a drive to this Tottenham side
While Gareth Bale might have finally found some form in a Tottenham shirt, Saka’s emergence as one of the most exciting teenagers in Europe makes him an easy pick for this side.
The 19-year-old has delivered for Arsenal at left-back, in midfield, and on both wings, and has already proved to be his side’s most dangerous player wherever he is positioned by Arteta. Saka’s successful move to the right wing is one of the biggest threats to Nicolas Pepe’s Arsenal future.
At such a young age he is already someone who steps up when his side most need him, producing a sensational cross to give Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a simple finish in Arsenal’s comeback win over Benfica in the Europa League.
The fact Saka has started to be targeted by opposition players with tactical fouls in recent weeks speaks volumes to how much of a threat he already is, and while England are blessed with attacking talent, he could not be doing much more to prove he deserves a place in Gareth Southgate’s Euros squad this summer.
At 19 years old, Bukayo Saka is already the man his team-mates turn to in the big moments
His scintillating early season form may have slightly tailed off, but there can be no doubting the quality of Son Heung-min.
The 28-year-old’s goal and assist against Arsenal earlier this season contributed to a tally of 13 goals and nine assists in the Premier League so far, and he is the perfect outlet for a Tottenham side that thrives on the counter.
Willian has been largely disappointing since joining Arsenal, and Gabriel Martinelli and Pepe have not featured enough to make themselves potential candidates.
Son reached 100 goals for Tottenham at the start of this year, and if he continues the form he’s shown this season there will be plenty more to come.
Son Heung-min is the perfect player for a Tottenham side that loves to play on the counter
Potentially the decision that will most exercise both sets of supporters, but even the most die-hard Arsenal fan will be forced to accept that it is Harry Kane who must lead the line in this combined XI.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was at his imperious best at the end of last season to lead Arsenal to FA Cup glory, but this campaign he has not hit top gear either on the left wing or through the middle.
Kane, on the other hand, has been sensational. In 25 league appearances this season, he has scored 16 goals and assisted a further 13.
No player has assisted more goals in the league and only Mo Salah has found the back of the net more often – unsurprisingly Spurs looked lost without Kane when he was on the sidelines injured.
In 12 Premier League north London derbies, Kane has netted 11 times – the outright top scorer in this famous fixture – and Mourinho will once again be looking to his main man to provided the goods at the Emirates on Sunday.
Harry Kane has been involved in 29 Premier League goals in just 25 appearances this season