Harry Redknapp admits that his Tottenham Hotspur side will go into tomorrow's derby at White Hart Lane as favourites, but is wary of declaring that Arsenal's stuttering start to the season signals a permanent change in the football landscape of north London. Arsène Wenger may have come under pressure but his record demands respect, Redknapp says.
"If I start saying we should be top dogs and God knows what and then they go and chin us on Sunday then everyone says: 'Serves him right for opening his big mouth'," he said. "I think when everybody is fit they are a good side. They play fantastic football but have had a bit of a blip, but it's nothing.
"You listen to phone-ins now and fans ring up saying, 'We were rubbish today, we didn't play well'. They say to them, 'You were at the game then, obviously'. But they say, 'No I didn't go to the game. But I did hear it on the radio'. Everyone has got an opinion now.
"You can only win the Premier League or one of the cups and Arsenal have been involved in Champions League football every year, so play weakened teams in the cups. The Premier League is probably the one that has escaped them more than anything.
"But [Wenger] has had so many years of great success as well. To go through a season unbeaten – what an achievement. He has had great times. He is having a bit of a dip but he will come out of that. The season has only just started."
Redknapp believes that the arrival of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor, as well as the return to fitness of Sandro, have given Spurs a platform for a top-four finish, while Arsenal lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Redknapp, though, sympathises with Wenger's difficulties and would not be too concerned about Robin van Persie's apparent lack of interest in talks about a new contract.
"The problem with Fabregas was that it dragged on for quite a while and Nasri was running out of contract as well so business-wise £25m was good money. [Van Persie] has got two years left on [his] contract [so] I wouldn't lose any sleep over [that] because two years is a long time in football. Who knows where any of us will be in two years?"