Saturday, October 20, 2018

Prediction: Tottenham vs Arsenal

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 11/4

Bookmakers: Bet 365

Tottenham host their eternal rivals Arsenal for the second North London derby of the season, and will be looking to avenge their 2-0 defeat at the Emirates. Spurs currently sit fifth in the table, four points above the Gunners, who can close the gap significantly with a win. This fixture always promises excitement, but with it constituting a monumental struggle in the race for a top four finish there is even more to play for.

Tottenham

Spurs head into this game off the back of a 2-0 win over Newport in the FA Cup, which sent them through to the last-16. Mauricio Pochettino managed that win despite resting Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, which should stand them in good physical stead for this huge clash with Arsenal. Their previous two games saw a draw against Liverpool at Anfield, and an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United at Wembley. It isn’t just against the top teams that Tottenham have been performing this season, and they have lost just once at home, continuing their remarkable home record from last season. Eight unbeaten in the league has helped the North London club keep in touch with their top four rivals, but they still aren’t doing quite enough.

Tottenham currently find themselves in fifth, one point behind Chelsea, and risk not qualifying for next season’s Champions League at all, despite their impressive performances in the competition this season already. They face Juventus in midweek, directly after this high-profile derby, and that could play on the players’ minds as they look to avoid fatigue and injury. Having already beaten both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, Spurs are primed to go far in the European competition, but their focus also needs to remain on securing qualification for next season too.

Team News

Both Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have returned from injury, and both featured against Newport in midweek, though they may not be rushed back into this clash.

Elsewhere Lucas Moura is lacking match fitness and will likely miss this game as a result.

Arsenal

For all the incredible hype around the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the January transfer window, it is easy to forget that Arsenal lost to both Bournemouth and Swansea in that very same month. Both of those games were away from home, and the Gunners’ form on the road has been diabolical this season. It is results such as these against the supposed smaller clubs that have been really holding Arsene Wenger’s side back from challenging for their customary fourth spot, and they current trail Chelsea by five points. At this stage of the season that deficit is by no means huge, but they will also require the Blues’ recent implosion to continue.

The positives for Arsenal certainly surround their new names, and how well they dealt with the loss of Alexis Sanchez. Rather than falling apart and letting Mesut Ozil go too, Wenger managed to bring in a couple of star names in order to convince the German midfielder to sign a new contract. The Gunners’ new-look side managed to easily dismantle Everton 5-1 last weekend, but it remains to be seen whether they can continue to gel and deliver results as emphatic as that one, especially away from the Emirates.

Team News

Goalkeeper Petr Cech picked up a calf injury, which he may not shake off in time to feature in this game. Nacho Monreal meanwhile is suffering from illness, so it will likely be a late call regarding his availability.

Santi Cazorla remains out with a long-term Achilles injury, while Danny Welbeck is unlikely to be fit due to a muscle issue.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Tottenham have lost just one home game in the Premier League this season.
  • Spurs have conceded just 24 goals, 11 fewer than Arsenal.
  • Arsenal have not won any of their last five away games in all competitions.
  • The Gunners have also kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 games across all competitions.
  • The previous North London derby this season ended 2-0 to Arsenal.

Conclusion

The previous North London derby result this season came as a surprise to many as Arsenal were widely regarded as slight underdogs. This game however has much bigger ramifications on the top four picture, and for that reason it could be an incredibly tense contest. At this stage the Gunners can’t afford to lose a game of this magnitude, so a draw might be the safe bet here, especially as Spurs are notoriously good at home.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 11/4

Bookmakers: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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