The biggest north London derby in years takes place at White Hart Lane this weekend, with Tottenham Hotspur hosting Arsenal in a match that is likely to be pivotal to both sides’ chances of landing the Premier League title this term (12.45pm Saturday, BT Sport 1).
Tottenham had the opportunity to move to the top of the Premier League outside of the month of August for the first time ever in midweek, but were unable to take advantage by beating West Ham United at Upton Park. Instead, Spurs slipped to a 1-0 loss to Slaven Bilic’s Champions League-chasing outfit, with Mauricio Pochettino admitting in the aftermath that his players had performed poorly in the first 45 minutes. It is unclear whether the pressure got to a team who were not expecting to be in such a lofty position at this late stage of the campaign, but it will certainly be interesting to see if Spurs can recover from their rare setback in the coming weeks.
Tottenham have certainly shown plenty of resilience and character this term, so it would be no surprise to see them bounce back with all three points this weekend. With 22 goals conceded, they have the tightest backline in the division and will fancy their chances of shutting out an Arsenal team who have surprisingly struggled for goals in 2015/16. The Gunners have averaged just 1.57 strikes per game in the Premier League this term, a far lower tally than they have recorded in the majority of campaigns since Arsene Wenger (pictured) took charge back in 1996.
Although both sides lost in midweek, Arsenal head into this clash in a far worse state than Tottenham. Indeed, while a defeat to West Ham away from home is not a disastrous result by any means, Arsenal’s home reverse to relegation-threatened Swansea City on Wednesday was an extremely disappointed outcome, particularly as it followed a poor showing against Manchester United last weekend.
It is interesting to note that Arsenal have in fact been below par throughout 2016. They have taken maximum points from only three of their nine league matches – against Bournemouth, Newcastle United and a Leicester City side reduced to 10 men – and probably only remain in the title race with 10 games remaining because this year’s Premier League lacks a single outstanding contender.
Spurs will again be without Clinton N’Jie and Jan Vertonghen (both knee) but are hoping to have midfielder Mousa Dembele available once more after a groin issue. Son Heung-min and Dele Alli could be included in Pochettino’s line-up after beginning the West Ham defeat on the substitutes’ bench, while Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are likely to return as the Argentine continues his policy of rotating his two full-backs between every game.
Arsenal, meanwhile, will be unable to call upon the services of goalkeeper Petr Cech and midfielders Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for their trip across north London. Centre-half Laurent Koscielny is hoping to return to the starting XI after missing the Swansea encounter with a slight calf problem.
Spurs v Arsenal Betting Tips Verdict
Tottenham have won three of the last four north London derbies at home in the Premier League and are worth backing to extend that run this Saturday lunchtime. Spurs supporters will be desperate for their side to boost their own title chances while simultaneously providing a potentially fatal blow to their rivals’, with Pochettino’s men simply superior to their counterparts at present. Arsenal’s form is a major concern and they have done little in recent weeks to suggest they will be able to turn things around at the home of one of the Premier League’s best teams.