Prediction: Correct Score – 2-2
Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal come together once again in the latest edition of the North London derby on Sunday as both sides continue their battle to get into Europe.
Whilst it has by no means been a convincing season for either side, a win against their great rivals could well be vital as the Premier League campaign begins to finally draw to a close.
Despite currently sitting tenth in the table and potentially facing their first bottom-half finish since the 2007/08 season, somehow Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur still have a faint chance of European football next season. The Lilywhites are just one point behind this weekend’s opponents and just three off sixth-placed Wolves. It goes without saying then that a win would massively propel them up the table. They do come into this clash in somewhat inconsistent form however. Of the five matches they’ve played since the restart, they have won two, drawn two and lost one. In those games, they have managed to keep three clean sheets. Having said that, it also means that Tottenham have not managed to win back-to-back league games since February, a huge reason as to why they have struggled throughout the majority of the campaign. Their last match was extremely unconvincing, too, failing to beat and even threaten a Bournemouth side who are deep in relegation trouble.
The hosts are still without utility man Eric Dier after he was handed a four-match ban by The FA last week. Dele Alli has also been ruled out with a thigh injury. Giovani Lo Celso is too a doubt but will be subject to a late fitness test ahead of the match. Should he not be ruled fit, he will join defender Juan Foyth and Japhet Tanganga on the sidelines.
Having recovered from consecutive losses following the restart, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal had previously forced themselves into contention for the UEFA Champions League places with three league wins, each of them being a clean sheet. However, their momentum was halted last time out as a late Jamie Vardy strike secured a point at the Emirates, leaving the Gunners nine points off of fourth place with just four games left to play. Should they fail in their pursuit of a top-four finish, it will be their fourth consecutive season finishing fifth or lower, their longest such run since the mid 1980s. Their huge problem this season has been their failure to beat sides in and around them in the table. The Gunners have only notched three league wins against sides in the top ten all season, with only one of those victories coming on their travels. That solitary win did come in their last away league outing though as they managed to dismiss of high-flying Woverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Molineux.
Much like Tottenham, Arsenal also have their own suspension worries. Eddie Nketiah is banned after the red card he picked up in the draw against Leicester despite the Gunners’ appeals. Matteo Guendouzi will also play no part after the midfielder has been forced to train away from the first team squad at the Emirates. Meanwhile, long-term absentees Calum Chambers, Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli and Pablo Mari all remain restricted to the sidelines.
Key Facts To Consider
- Arsenal have the far better head-to-head record between the two sides (W82, D53, L64)
- The home side has not lost a North London derby since March 2014
- Jose Mourinho has never lost a home game against Arsenal as a manager
- Harry Kane has scored ten career goals against Arsenal, only against Leicester City has he scored more (14)
- There has not been a 0-0 in this fixture in Premier League play since 2009
Surely the players will need no extra motivation to get themselves up for this game. Both teams should go all out for what would be a precious win in the context of European football. Arsenal will be smarting after dropping points against Leicester, whilst Spurs will be desperate to rectify their poor performance at Bournemouth. Each side on their day have enough to win but considering their deficiencies throughout the campaign so far, it is likely to be a draw in North London.
Prediction: Correct Score – 2-2
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