Tottenham and Arsenal meet in a massive north London derby clash on Thursday, the biggest meeting between these two rivals for years.
Both Antonio Conte and Mikel Arteta have yielded impressive recent improvements from their respective sides and have eyes on Champions League qualification. However, barring a late Chelsea collapse, Europe’s elite competition will only likely be big enough for one of them.
Arsenal travel to Tottenham knowing that three points would take them back into the Champions League for the first time since the 2016-17 season, although they have a very difficult task ahead. Conte is a master at pulling a result out of the bag in these kinds of one-off big games, as both Manchester City and Liverpool have found out since the turn of the year.
The Gunners start the day one place and four points better off than their opponents, whose Champions League dreams will be shattered with defeat on their own turf and if Chelsea get the better of Leeds United. However, Antonio Conte’s side arguably prepare to welcome the Gunners to their headquarters in a better position than they were four months ago, with the club’s January arrivals beginning to flourish and the confidence in the camp slowly building up again.
Form Guide: Tottenham
Last Saturday, Tottenham played out to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. Even though the Reds were seen as huge favorites ahead of the match, it was Tottenham who had a lead until very late in the game. The draw means that Liverpool’s dream of the EPL title might have come to an end. It also means that Tottenham are still in the game for a top 4 finish, which would mean playing in the Champions League next season.
To get to the #4 position, Spurs have no other option but to beat Arsenal and hope for the best. The good news is that they sure seem to have the manpower to pull it off. After a slow start to the season, captain Harry Kane is now playing at a top level, and the same goes for most of his teammates. Unfortunately for Tottenham, pretty much the same goes for Arsenal.
Form Guide: Arsenal
The Gunners made their 2-1 success over Leeds much nervier than it should have been after Eddie Nketiah’s 10-minute brace and Luke Ayling’s red card, but they eventually got over the line and will confirm a Champions League place for the first time since finishing second in 2015-16 with victory on Thursday.
Even if Arteta’s side slumps to defeat, they will still be in the driving seat before potential banana skins with Newcastle United and Everton, and failure to keep a clean sheet in seven Premier League matches is not a reassuring statistic before meeting Tottenham’s bright attacking trio.
A first-half flurry saw Arsenal storm to a 3-1 win over Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham back in September, but Spurs have a formula for success on their own turf, as they are unbeaten in seven home Premier League games against their North London rivals and cannot afford to let that streak end lest their Champions League dream remains just a dream.
How the game could go
Tottenham, four points adrift of their rivals in fifth with three games to go, simply have to win and certainly boast the kind of attacking talent to damage Arsenal. Still, as strong as Spurs are at home under Conte, Arsenal has learned how to grind results out. Arsenal has won the last two North London derbies, including a dominant 3-1 win earlier in the season against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
However, Arsenal haven’t won away at Tottenham in the league since 2014 when Tomas Rosicky scored the only goal of the game against Tim Sherwood’s side back at the old White Hart Lane. Antonio Conte hasn’t won against Arsenal in his last six attempts, all back when he was Chelsea’s manager. He has just one win in eight attempts in total, a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge back in 2017.
Over 2.5 Goals
At least three goals have been scored in four of the last five competitive North London derbies, and we’re backing over 2.5 goals to be scored on Thursday night as well. Three of Tottenham’s last six outings in the Premier League have produced over 2.5 goals, including two of their last three home games. Five of Arsenal’s last six matches have also witnessed at least three goals scored and the Gunners have failed to keep a single clean sheet during that period. Bet9ja have 1.78, 1xbet have 1.87 and Paripesa have 1.87 odds.
Both teams to score (YES)
At least three goals have been scored in four of the last five competitive North London derbies, and we’re backing over 2.5 goals to be scored on Thursday night as well. Three of Tottenham’s last six outings in the Premier League have produced over 2.5 goals, including two of their last three home games. Five of Arsenal’s last six matches have also witnessed at least three goals scored and the Gunners have failed to keep a single clean sheet during that period. Bet9ja have 1.62 odds, Paripesa have 1.70 and 1xbet have 1.70 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Tottenham)
He has scored 20 goals this season now and this seems to be his best season in terms of goals. He can be considered a contender for the golden boot this season. He has formed a lethal partnership with Harry Kane up top and he has a thing for scoring against Arsenal. Bet9ja have 2.25 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.75.
Nobody has scored more PL goals in this fixture than Tottenham’s Harry Kane (11). Nobody loves this fixture more than him and we are assured of him finding the back of the net here today. We have him selected amongst the goalscorers and he would relish breaking the hearts of Arsenal fans by extending their dreams of UCL qualification. Bet9ja have 2.55 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 1.83.
Anytime Goalscorer (Arsenal)
Nketiah pounced on a mistake from the Leeds’s goalkeeper to poke home from a yard out. The very same player made it 2-0 just 5-minutes later and once Leeds had Ayling sent off for a two-footed challenge on Martinelli, the result was never really in doubt. The young English striker has booked a place in the starting lineup in this derby as he is without a doubt the most in-form player for the Gunners, having scored four goals in his last three outings. Bet9ja have 3.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.10.
Despite coming off twenty minutes to the end of the match against Leeds, he is fit to start against Tottenham. He has scored in two consecutive games before facing Leeds on Saturday which means he can provide the goals here for the squad. Bet9ja have 4.25 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.74.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.