The Gunners have laid out big fees for a range of flashy signings in the recent past, capturing Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Spurs, meanwhile, went 18 months without signing a player after the January 2018 move for Lucas Moura. They have recruited this summer though, with Tanguy Ndombele, Jack Clarke, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon swelling the ranks at the club.
Pochettino was reluctant to criticise his team’s approach, saying they had to find a way to compete regardless of spending.
“Arsenal, in the last two years, signed Aubameyang, the best striker in Germany; Lacazette, the best striker in France and, one year after, Pepe,” the Argentine told reporters ahead of Sunday’s match.
“If you see us in five years … now our main striker is Harry Kane but our second specific striker is 17 years old, Troy Parrott. That is the difference in the projects.
“I don’t want to say one is wrong and another is good. It’s only that the way we operate is completely different and, afterwards, we need to compete. [Formula One team] Mercedes compete with Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull.
“After, we compete in the same race and, if you judge, the judgments need not only to be on the race but the whole process. That is why sometimes it’s fair and sometimes it’s not fair.”
Spurs have taken on a large debt to build a new stadium, a problem that Arsenal faced some years ago.
“If you do an exercise and see Liverpool when Klopp arrived – a little over one year after me – when we played that 0-0 … not one player from the starting XI is in their starting XI today,” Pochettino added.
“If you compare with us, we have eight or nine still in the starting XI. Look at the difference.
“You know very well that the debt of our club is £600m with the banks and, for sure, when you are delivering a project that Tottenham have been delivering in the last five years, you cannot compare with another club.
“That is why Tottenham need to be judged under some circumstances and not when you compare the team with another team like Manchester City.”