Two in-form teams meet when Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal on Saturday in the 180th North London derby (12:45 GMT, live on BT Sport).
Spurs come into the match on the back of six wins in their last eight league matches and having last week progressed to the final of the Capital One Cup. They are sixth in the Premier League table, with 40 points from 12 wins, four draws and seven defeats.
Mauricio Pochettino’s (pictured) side got off to a quick start away to West Bromwich Albion last weekend, with a superb free-kick from Christian Eriksen and a sharp strike from Harry Kane putting them two goals to the good inside the opening 15 minutes. Kane added a third from the penalty spot just past the hour mark to cap off a good performance and a comfortable victory.
Eriksen and Kane have been the driving force behind Tottenham’s strong form over the last month and a half, contributing 12 of the 17 league goals Spurs have scored since mid-December. Eriksen is beginning to parlay his clear talent into regular match-winning performances, while Kane has exploded on the scene with 20 goals in all competitions.
Tottenham are clearly still a work in progress. They give up far too many efforts on goal from dangerous areas and have conceded more times (30) than any other side in the top eight. Hugo Lloris has often had to bail them out. But with marginal improvements throughout the side and two in-form players in the final third, they are still enjoying a solid campaign.
Pochettino has no confirmed injury absentees for Saturday’s match. Nabil Bentaleb returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty on Tuesday and is expected to be part of the squad.
Arsenal make the short trip to White Hart Lane on the back of five consecutive victories and just one loss in their last 10 matches in all competitions. They are fifth in the Premier League table, with 42 points from 12 wins, six draws and five defeats.
Arsene Wenger’s side made short work of Aston Villa last weekend. Olivier Giroud put them ahead inside the opening 10 minutes before Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Santiago Cazorla and Hector Bellerin added gloss to the scoreline with four further goals during the second half. It was the first time this season Arsenal have won three league matches on the bounce.
After an inconsistent start to the campaign, the Gunners now seem to have found their rhythm at both ends of the pitch. They have scored two or more goals in nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions and have also kept a clean sheet in four of their last five. They have the third-highest goal total in the Premier League and the fifth best defensive record.
There are certainly plenty of reasons for supporters to be optimistic that Arsenal will again finish in the top four come the end of the season. With Ozil and Walcott back in the picture, Wenger has a wide array of attacking options at his disposal, while January signing Gabriel Paulista adds cover in defence – previously the least populated area of the squad.
Wenger will definitely be without the injured Abou Diaby (calf), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) and Mikel Arteta (ankle), while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Danny Welbeck (thigh) are all doubtful.
Spurs v Arsenal Betting Tips
These two sides drew 1-1 in a fairly even match at the Emirates earlier this season. Arsenal won last season’s fixture at White Hart Lane and have won four of the last six meetings at all venues. Tottenham have, however, generally fared better on home soil. The last six meetings at White Hart Lane have seen three wins for Spurs, one for Arsenal and two draws.
Pochettino seems to have added a little steel to Tottenham’s performances this season. They have come from behind to win on four occasions and have also scored a number of late winners. Having performed so impressively in their 5-3 win at home to Chelsea on New Year’s Day, they will be hopeful of another strong display against a top-six side.
Four of Arsenal’s five league defeats so far this season have come away from home, including the 2-0 loss to Southampton that is their only defeat in their last 10 matches in all competitions. Tottenham gave them a good game at the Emirates earlier this season and there is likely to be little to separate the sides in what is sure to be competitive encounter.
- Back the draw @ best odds of 13/5 with SkyBet, BetVictor or Boylesports.
- This fixture used to have a reputation for being high scoring but each of the last four meetings in all competitions have seen two or less goals. We envisage a similar match here – if one team does manage to emerge victorious there is likely to be little in it. Back 2-3 goals on the total goals market @ 23/20 with BetVictor.