An Arsenal side seeking to reassert themselves as the predominant force in North London host their local rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates on Sunday (14:05 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Tottenham have finished ahead of Arsenal in each of the last three seasons and are currently two places and three points ahead of the Gunners in third in the Premier League table. With Arsene Wenger finally departed, Unai Emery is the man tasked with reversing their trend.
On the face of it, Emery has made a very solid start to life in the Arsenal dugout. His side lost out to Manchester City and Chelsea on the opening two weekends of the season but have since put together an 11-match unbeaten run of eight wins and three draws. Last weekend, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal proved decisive in a good 2-1 win away to Bournemouth.
Arsenal have accumulated six more points than they did in their equivalent fixtures against the same opposition last season and have two more points than they had after 13 matches of that campaign. Extrapolating their accumulation to date over the entire season would see them finish on around 79 points – their highest total since 2013-14.
Dig under the surface, however, and some cracks begin to emerge. Arsenal’s defensive record of 16 goals conceded is broadly in line with expectations, given the quality of the opportunities they have conceded. Their attack is running very hot, with their total of 28 goals to date as many as eight to 10 more than various models would expect.
No one can rub the points Arsenal have already won off the board, while the assumption would be that their underlying performances will improve over the course of the campaign as Emery’s players become better attuned to his demands. A top-four finish is certainly a possibility, but it is less likely than their start to the season would suggest.
For much of the campaign to date, Arsenal’s North London neighbours Tottenham have been surrounded by a negative atmosphere. Their lack of summer transfer activity, the ongoing delays to the opening of their new stadium, and a series of fairly lacklustre performances overshadowed a commencement to the campaign that was very impressive in terms of results.
The tide seems to have turned a little in recent weeks, notably on the back of their commanding 3-1 win over Chelsea last weekend. Dele Alli and Harry Kane fired Spurs into an early two-goal lead. They had already created a number of chances to add to their advantage before Son Heung-Min finally did so shortly after the break.
It was a statement performance that demonstrated that with key players fit, Tottenham are still one of the Premier League’s best sides. The presence of Christian Eriksen made a big different to the fluidity of their ball progression and he provided the assists for both of the first two goals. A solid performance from Serge Aurier and an impressive one from Moussa Sissoko suggested that even previously-maligned players may now be ready to contribute.
That victory was followed by a vital 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday that kept alive their hopes of making it through to the knockout rounds. It also means that Spurs come into the derby on the back of six wins on the bounce in all competitions and seven in their last eight in the league.
Our Preview’s Arsenal vs. Spurs Betting Tips Verdict
The two teams shared a win apiece in last season’s North London derbies, with Spurs winning 1-0 at Wembley and Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates. It is, in general, a fixture that tends not to produce too many away victories. The last was for Arsenal in 2014, while Tottenham’s last win at the Emirates came back in 2010.
That could change this time around. Spurs actually have the best away record in the league so far this season, with seven wins and one defeat, and have shown in recent weeks that with key players back in action, they are as good a team as ever. Tottenham can deflate some of Arsenal early-season optimism by coming away from the Emirates with all three points. So the betting tip for this Arsenal vs Spurs preview is: