Following a week of dramatic turns in both Premier League and Champions League developments, the upcoming match weekend sees the next instalment of the fierce London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal vs Spurs Preview and Prediction
Fact of Interest:
- Arsenal are unbeaten against Spurs at the Emirates in all competitions for the last 8 matches.
- Spurs’ last win at the Emirates was November 2010’s dramatic 3-2 victory inspired by a second half comeback of goals from Gareth Bale, Rafael Van Der Vaart and Younes Kaboul.
- Arsenal’s home record features 4 wins from 7 matches this season, having lost the first one against Manchester City. The Gunners have drawn their last 2 home games.
- Spurs have the best away record in the league, having won 7 of 8 matches, including the last 5 in a row.
- In their 7 home matches thus far, Arsenal are yet to score first when a goal is scored in the first half. All the teams that have registered a goal away at the Emirates did so in the first half of play.
- In their 8 away league matches thus far, Spurs have scored first in all of them.
- Spurs have scored 21% of their league goals thus far in the final 15 minutes before halftime.
- Arsenal have scored 80% of their goals in the second half of matches this season, with a mere 7% scored in the first half an hour.
- Spurs have won 6 matches in a row in all competitions.
- The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all domestic competitions, with 11 of those in the Premier League.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 4 goals in 5 matches against Spurs, but none of them have come yet while playing for Arsenal.
- Mesut Ozil has scored once in 11 matches against Spurs, the solitary goal coming in a 2-1 away defeat in February 215.
- Harry Kane has scored 7 goals in 8 appearances against Arsenal, but last scored against them in the 1-1 draw in November 2016.
- Dele Alli has scored once against Arsenal in 6 matches against them, while Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura, Heung Min Son and Christian Eriksen have never scored against Arsenal.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Arsenal||Tottenham|
|Current League Record||Played 13, Won 8, Lost 2||Played 13, Won 10, Lost 3|
|Current League Top Scorers||Aubameyang (8), Lacazette (5)||Kane (7), Lamela / Moura (4)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Arsenal 3 Wins, 4 Draws, Tottenham 3 Wins|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Emirates||Arsenal 6 Wins, 3 Draws, Tottenham 1 Win|
|Last Season’s Result||Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham|
|Odds of Interest (as at 25 Nov)||Arsenal||Tottenham|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 2.71)||1.53||1.66|
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Spurs enter the game having hosted much improved Serie A traditional giants Inter, while Arsenal spent a fair amount of time travelling to the Ukraine to face Vorskla in Thursday’s Europa League matchup.
Arsenal’s forward Alexandre Lacazette was rested as a precaution against Bournemouth, and it’s unclear if he’ll be included against Arsenal. The Gunners are also without left back Nacho Monreal for the next couple of weeks, and right back Stepan Lichsteiner is a doubt for the North London derby. Centre back Laurent Koscielny, despite recovering ahead of schedule, will only return next month from his Achilles injury. Forward Danny Welbeck remains out with a broken ankle.
Spurs are presently nursing injuries to first team squad options Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Moussa Dembele, all expected to be out for the clash with the Gunners.
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Unai Emery’s 4231 has settled superbly with time after opening defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea. Rotation notwithstanding, Arsenal’s attacking style appears to have made an efficient comeback, scoring 28 goals (tied for 2nd highest in the league) off the back of the usual dominance in possession (56%). Their recent form isn’t as prolific – only 9 goals scored in their last 7 matches in all competitions, but it’s been the rare occasion even in those recent matches that Arsenal have had materially less shots than their opponents.
The key issue affecting Arsenal’s tactics will be the fitness of forward Alexandre Lacazette. Assuming the Spaniard retains the 3421 used against Bournemouth due to the absence of the French striker, Bernd Leno should reprise his role as keeper, with a back three of Sokratis, Mustafi and Holding. If Lacazette is fit, enabling the 4231 shape, then expect either Sokratis or Holding to fall back to the bench. Fullbacks Bellerin and Kolasinac should keep their roles regardless in wide areas. In midfield, playmaker Granit Xhaka should be joined by combative Lucas Torreira. In the attacking lines, Emery’s predictability has been less certain, but the trio of Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang seems a safe bet in 3421, with Lacazette leading the line if fit for a 4231.
Pochettino’s tactical flexibility has proved invaluable in Spurs’ incredible record of 30 points, one of their best ever points hauls after 13 league matches. The excellent win over Chelsea at Wembley only served to provide further evidence to the North London club’s efficiency, having scored 23 goals from their 13 shots per game this far.
Injuries remain a concern for Pochettino, but his squad’s depth is proving resilient. Ahead of first team keeper Hugo Lloris, youngster Juan Foyth has proved excellent cover for Jan Vertonghen (who may well start anyway after doing so in midweek against Inter) while Serge Aurier and Ben Davies have delivered consistently alongside cornerstone Toby Alderweireld. Yet again Pochettino was unpredictable in midfield against the Blues and Inter; but it’s reasonable to expect that Moussa Sissoko and Christian Eriksen will be certain starters alongside Dele Alli, with the only debate being if young Harry Winks is preferred to Eric Dier. As for the front pair, Harry Kane is an obvious starter, and fan favourite Heung Min Son is surely undroppable at present after such a sublime solo goal against Chelsea (though it remains to be seen if he was rested in midweek against Inter or if he’ll start off the bench against Arsenal for tactical reasons).
Arsenal’s poor start raised eyebrows prematurely; while their form has waned under pressure of injuries in recent weeks, the Gunners have produced some scintillating attacking displays, especially as their fixtures ran from September into October. Emery’s side has proved to be resilient in dealing with early conceded goals, and being effective in creating through midfield incision from Ozil and more direct danger from wide areas, especially from fullback. Defensive frailties remain, and they still appear to lack the talent to effectively control stronger opponents, but their improvement is nonetheless marked by their swift rise into the top 5.
Spurs have also improved considerably, and their outstanding away record feels like a compelling tonic mixed with their tactical flexibility. What obvious talent differences exist in both squad quality and depth are made up for in their ability to execute efficiently, and their form of winning without needing much of the ball is in good practice, given that they need a mere 39% of possession to dispatch an off-colour Chelsea.
Derbies tend to fall victim to the narrative against trends and form as such, and this one may well be no different; Spurs’ away form could find itself unceremoniously upended at the Emirates, but equally, Arsenal’s dominant history in this fixture may yet count against them as another statistic in danger of being undone. The unpredictability of Spurs as an effective counter attacking force poised against the dynamic attacking execution of Arsenal will make for wonderful football, and to that end, both sides will relish a chance to dispatch the other in a crucial top 6 six-pointer, never mind a derby. A winner is hard to pick – which is why we expect both sides to ultimately cancel each other out in what we expect will be a thrilling score draw.
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Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.