Jamie O’Hara feels that Premier League derbies do not carry the same weight as they once did, pointing to the recent Manchester and north London bouts.
Arsenal beat Tottenham 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium to extend their lead at the top of the table to four points. Manchester City subsequently closed the gap back to one point by beating Manchester United 6-3.
The results mean there is now a three-point gap between the top two and Spurs. United, meanwhile, sit further back in sixth.
According to former Tottenham man O’Hara, though, there has been a noticeable drop in intensity and fight from players involved in such high-profile contests.
Indeed, the pundit pointed to the classic Man Utd and Arsenal rivalries featuring Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira.
“There’s not the same horribleness that there used to be with Roy Keane and Vieira,” O’Hara told talkSPORT (03/10, 8.58am).
“I look at this Man Utd team, they’re walking in and they’re probably just sat there looking around at each other, waiting for [Erik] Ten Hag to say nothing.
“[Cristiano] Ronaldo’s sat there probably thinking, ‘What am I doing here? Why am I on the bench at 4-0 down?’
“I played in teams with Robbie Keane, Edgar Davids, even Karl Henry at Wolves. We come in and if we’re getting beat, run all over, we’re fighting in the dressing room.
“I don’t see that anymore in local derbies and it’s really winding me up. I hate it now in the Premier League, it’s too nice.”
O’Hara slams Man Utd man
Throwing it forward to the present day, though, O’Hara pointed at Man Utd defender Raphael Varane as an example to back up his point.
He also referenced Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka as the Switzerland man – in O’Hara’s opinion – outclassed Rodrigo Bentancur.
“I’m talking about getting hold of your team-mates and saying, ‘You think you’re going to walk all over me?’,” O’Hara said.
“I see Xhaka running around and Bentancur’s not getting near him.
“I’m watching [Erling] Haaland absolutely taking the mick out of Varane. Varane wanted off the pitch! He couldn’t wait to do his ankle so he could leave.
“I’m not having that. Are you a warrior? Do you think John Terry’s having that, Rio Ferdinand, Carragher? Absolutely no chance. The Premier League’s gone weak.”
Premier League quality still on show
Despite O’Hara’s claims that the nastiness has gone from Premier League rivalries, the quality certainly has not.
Arsenal showed off everything that has been good about them this season against Tottenham.
Their summer signings Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko were particularly influential. And Xhaka came to the fore once again in further proof of his Arsenal resurgence.
As for the Manchester derby, City were on a different level to United and proved exactly why they are title favourites once more.
Norway striker Haaland continued to add the highest quality with his third hat-trick in a row at the Etihad Stadium. That means he became the fastest Premier League player to three hat-tricks.
Antony showed glimpses of his quality, with his long-range strike offering some consolation for Man Utd.