Prediction: Tottenham to win to nil
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur clash in the latest instalment of the North London derby on Sunday with both sides aiming to continue their push for European football.
The two teams head into the game in good firm and their eyes firmly fixed up the table. A victory against their respective rivals could go a long way in pushing either of them towards the top four.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners actually arrive into the game against Tottenham in very positive form. They extended their impressive recent run to just one defeat in seven matches with the impressive 3-1 dispatching of Olympiakos in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. The only loss that they have suffered since mid-February was the slender 1-0 reverse at the hands of champions elect Manchester City. Despite that promising run of form with three wins in their last four games in all competitions, Arsenal’s defence continues to trouble them under Arteta. They have conceded at least one goal in each of their last nine matches having not kept a clean sheet since a 0-0 stalemate with Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium at the back end of January. Another concern of this clash could be that Arsenal’s home form will play against them. The Gunners have already lost six league matches on home soil, the most since the 1994/96 campaign. It goes without saying then that they will desperately attempting to avoid another defeat, especially against their great rivals.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is afforded the luxury of having a fully fit squad to choose from for the match. Only Emile Smith-Rowe was a slight doubt but he returned to the bench against Olympiakos so should be fine to take part. Martin Odegaard netted his first Gunners goal in midweek so will hope to have done enough to earn another start.
Despite a somewhat indifferent season thus far, it would be fair to say that Jose Mourinho has Tottenham firing on all cylinders at the current time. Spurs have won their last five matches in all competitions following the 2-0 success against Dinamo Zagreb last time out. Should they secure another victory at the Emirates, then it will be the first time in two-and-a-half years that they have managed to rack up six consecutive successes in all competitions. Their current run is even more eye-catching considering the emphatic way in which they are dispatching of their opponents. In those five wins, Mourinho’s men have scored 15 goals and only conceded one – that solitary strike being Christian Benteke’s header in the 4-1 win against Crystal Palace at home. With their current winning run and being just five points off of the UEFA Champions League places with a game in hand, Spurs are announcing themselves as top-four contenders, a task they could enhance with a win against the Gunners.
Harry Kane is a slight doubt for Tottenham having been withdrawn late on against Zagreb. However, Mourinho has already confirmed that he has no worries about the England captain starting on Sunday – a huge relief considering the striker’s stunning record against Arsenal. Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso will also have to be monitored having sustained a back injury. He could sit out on Sunday but should be fit enough to return in the return leg in the UEFA Europa League next week.
Key Facts To Consider
- Arsenal have the far better all-time head-to-head record between the two sides (W82, D54, L66)
- Tottenham won the last clash between the two teams in December 2-0
- Spurs could win three consecutive matches against Arsenal for the first time since 1982 with a victory
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has seven goals in 11 career appearances against Spurs, whilst Kane has 11 in 14 matches against the Gunners
- Jose Mourinho has only ever lost one Premier League game against Arsenal whilst in charge of Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur
To use a well-pushed cliche, form should go out of the window in a derby match. However, Spurs look thoroughly dominant at the current time. All of the signs point to a Tottenham victory; Kane’s record against the Gunners, the Mourinho hoodoo and recent history. The visitors should take advantage of the Gunners’ poor form at home to win comfortably.
Prediction: Tottenham to win to nil
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