THE North London derby deserves a big voice with big views, so we got Danny Mercer (@OneDannyMercer) to tell us who he’s backing this weekend.
Tottenham v Arsenal | Saturday 12:45 | Sky Sports 1
What a North London derby we have in store, between sixth placed Spurs & fifth placed Arsenal. Martin Atkinson takes charge of the fixture and I’m glad to say he dishes them out like confetti in live TV league games.
Atkinson has shown 56 cards in 11 live TV league games at an average of 5.09 per game, but in non TV games he’s flashed just 22 cards in eight matches. That’s a difference of 2.75 cards per game.
These sides met earlier in the season and nine yellow cards were shown, while there were eight in the previous match-up. This is a feisty fixture and we can expect the same on Saturday. I’m taking a gamble before the team news is announced and jumping on Mousa Dembele to receive a card at 4/1 with Betfred.
For me Dembele is underrated, he is so confident and comfortable on the ball and is so tough to brush off the ball. I feel he has to start, because if you remember back on New Year’s Day against Chelsea, he came on replacing Ryan Mason early and marked Cesc Fabregas out of the game. That played a big part in the victory that day.
Dembele has started six of the last seven matches he has played in since that fine performance against Chelsea, so I’m pretty hopeful he’ll keep his spot despite Nabil Bentaleb returning from AFCON.
The Belgian amazingly hasn’t been booked this season in the league, but in previous years loved a card. He has a habit of pulling players back or making numerous fouls, this accumulation of foul play inevitably lands him in the book.
He’ll have his work cut out on Saturday with the Arsenal midfield of Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott looking formidable. If Dembele starts I’m sure he’ll bring a few of these players down and hopefully pick up a card.
My other fancy is Arsenal right back Hector Bellerin. He looks to have a big future in the game and seems to be growing in confidence week by week.
Bellerin loves getting forward with his rapid pace but that might prove difficult on Saturday when he’s up against the likes of Danny Rose, Nacer Chadll and the exceptional Christian Eriksen.
I think the occasion could get to Bellerin, and the fact he’s been booked in two of his last three TV games firms up my mind further.
Tottenham v Arsenal – Mousa Dembele to be booked (4/1 Betfred)
Tottenham v Arsenal – Hector Bellerin to be booked (5/2 Paddy Power)
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