THE biggest ever North London derby? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the monster clash on Saturday between Tottenham and Arsenal.
Tottenham v Arsenal | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
Well this is sexy eh? This is very sexy. The North London derby has become more and more important over the last few seasons as Tottenham have closed the gap over their posher rivals and on Saturday they get a chance to seriously overtake them.
A win here for Spurs would put them six points clear of Arsenal with just nine games left in the league and make them strong odds on pokes to finish above them. What a prospect!
I have to be honest with you and say I have no firm view on this fixture. It’s just too hard to solve. There’s too much at stake. There are too many question marks.
The best place to start is Wednesday night where both these sides failed in their attempts to join Leicester at the top of the table by losing. While Tottenham losing at West Ham was entirely acceptable, Arsenal going down 2-1 at home to Swansea was appalling and hugely damaging.
Arsenal’s defeat was inexplicable really. It was the first time they’d lost back to back Premier League games in the same week for over three years and their record at home against the weaker teams in the division has been exemplary.
In the melee to try and rescue a point Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech done his hamstring and will miss this match and the next few weeks. What a daunting day for his replacement David Ospina awaits when you consider his struggles earlier in the campaign.
Much is rightly made of Arsenal’s mental fragility but what about Tottenham’s? They’re now in uncharted territory and for me this is their biggest league match in modern times. Are they up for it? Will they fold?
Spurs had a chance to go top of the table on Wednesday night and passed it up and they are not a side you would associate with rising to the challenge pre-Pochettino. We’ll learn a lot here.
Spurs are favourites over Arsenal for the first time in three years in this match and at 11/5 Arsenal are the biggest price they’ve been over their rivals for five years.
I’m happy to swerve backing either of the sides and instead invest in the draw at a big 13/5 with Bet Victor. In truth that will suit neither side especially if Leicester go on to beat Watford later in the day.
Two of the last four meetings have been draws and in some ways there’s more to lose in defeat than gain in win. That’s certainly the case for Arsenal in my opinion.
I’ll top that up with a punt on the 1-1 draw at 7/1. That was the score when the sides met in November and indeed last season too at the Emirates. On top of that eight of the last ten Spurs matches have seen them either score exactly one goal or concede exactly one goal.
Tottenham v Arsenal – Draw (13/5 BetVictor)
Tottenham v Arsenal – 1-1 Draw (7/1 BetVictor)
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