Christian Eriksen sets his sights on Arsenal star Mesut Ozil as he targets the Premier League title for Tottenham

The former Ajax midfielder made an eye catching debut against Norwich

The season is barely a month old but already the north London rivalry is raging. Arsenal emerged 1-0 victors from an early Premier League derby thanks to an Olivier Giroud goal, but since both sides have brought in news players to strengthen their sides – in Mesut Ozil for Arsenal and Christian Eriksen for Spurs – and the two clubs sit second and third in the standings.

Both made their impact in the English top flight felt in the weekend’s matches. Ozil showed a lovely touch after a run in behind the Sunderland defence, before crossing for Giroud to continue his rich vein of form of scoring in every league game so far this season.

Eriksen meanwhile was busy displaying his undoubted talent at White Hart Lane, where he provided a lovely assist for Gyylfi Sigurddson to score his first of two goals that saw Spurs ease home against Norwich.

But how do the pair compare? Can the 21-year-old Dane be used in the same sentence as the 24-year-old German yet?

“I think he has achieved a little bit more than me,” admitted a humble Eriksen, in his first interview since arriving from childhood club Ajax in the summer for £11.5m.

“I am a few years younger and still have to learn a lot. It is nice to be compared, but from what I have heard it is not good to be compared with Arsenal players! But really, it is pretty cool to be compared with such big players.”

Eriksen will have to wait until March 15 for his first taste of the north London derby, having missed the Emirates meeting, but he already has eyes on being the dominant “No 10” – Ozil wears 11 and Eriksen 23 but both play just behind the striker – in north London.

Ozil has been at the top of European football for a while now though despite his tender age, wowing fans in both Germany and Spain before his move to England.

Eriksen has so far conquered the Eredivisie, and although the Dutch league comes with far less prestige than the Bundesliga, La Liga or the Premier League, it takes a special player to force his way into the Ajax side at just 18-years-old.

“I never got to train with the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart but I am from the club where they were,” explains Eriksen.

“I am not Dutch, but I am from a club where they both played with the same style.

“They’ve had really big success when they left Ajax so I hope I can achieve the same.”

Ozil was another to enjoy a successful debut on Saturday Ozil was another to enjoy a successful debut on Saturday  

Eriksen was linked with a move to Manchester United not so long ago, with Sir Alex Ferguson believed to be keeping an eye on the then-teenager, and getting a closer look when United took on Ajax in the 2011-12 Europa League.

However, Eriksen chose to move to Spurs after the United interest appeared to fade away, and in a summer where manager Andre Villas-Boas spent over £100m – due to the £86m received for Gareth Bale – the fee for Eriksen was relatively remote for such a promising young player.

“Why did I come to Spurs? It just felt right,” said Eriksen.

“I talked a little bit with the manager — but I had more to do with the chairman (Daniel) Levy and the director (Franco) Baldini. They were the guys who really had the right words.

“The things they said and when it came to looking around it just felt right and it was pretty easy for me to say yes.

“I also talked a lot with (former Ajax team-mate) Jan Vertonghen and texted him a few times so he had a big role.”

But after 18 years of finishing behind their fierce rivals, Eriksen knows they must finally beat Arsenal in the league this season, while also ensuring they qualify for the Champions League.

“I think everybody, first and foremost, wants to be in the Champions League next season, for sure,” he said. “Then we have, of course, to become champions. That is why he spent so much money on good players. That is just the sort of thing I want to be part of.

“I think our title chances are really good. We have had a good beginning and it is pretty easy to play with such good players.

“Arsenal are above us in the league at the moment, so we will have to turn that around for a start.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future