WILL DYER (@w2dyer) previews a massive clash at White Hart Lane. It's the North London derby and it offers Tottenham a chance to confirm finishing above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.
Tottenham v Arsenal | Sunday 16:30 | Sky Sports 1
Spurs host Arsenal in the last ever North London derby at White Hart Lane on the back of some of the greatest form and football that Tottenham fans have ever seen; they’ve won 15 domestic games on the bounce at the Lane.
Mauricio Pochettino has pointed out that the incredible home form is certainly related to this being their last season at the famous old stadium and this game will be even more emotive for Spurs fans, if the hosts win it will confirm them finishing above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.
Old rivalry, New Grounds
Tottenham almost spoiled the party in the last North London derby at Highbury back in 2006, until one Thierry Henry came off the bench to level the game 1-1. The Gunners will be looking to go one better and a recent upturn in fortunes should give them a fighting chance.
Arsenal have now won four of their last five games, including an extra-time victory over Manchester City at Wembley to send them to the FA Cup final. The improvement in form also gives them a shot at the top four but I still feel Spurs will be too good for them, too hungry.
Twenty of the last 22 North London derbies since 1999 at White Hart Lane have seen both sides score. That is a pretty remarkable statistic but it just demonstrates the passion in this fixture and the desperation on both sides of the ball to give the fans the bragging rights they so crave.
Race Not Yet Won
This ‘NLD’ though is not just about North London supremacy, it’s also a key game for Spurs who are not yet out of the title race after Christian Eriksen’s brilliant winner at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.
Chelsea are heading to Goodison Park where Everton have lost just once all season and after some questionable defending in recent weeks from the Blues, the gap could be closed to just one point if Sunday falls kindly for Tottenham.
When Arsenal visited last year, they were thoroughly outplayed but snatched a 2-2 draw. A red card for Francis Coquelin early in the second-half didn’t help matters but Spurs still deserved to get a win.
On that March day Tottenham were 2.30 to win, this time around they are 1.85. That says a lot about how poorly Arsenal are playing but it’s also a great compliment to Spurs’ progress. Poch’s men have conceded just 22 goals in the league this season to Arsenal’s 40, that too is telling.
The visitors will be definitely be without Shkodran Mustafi and possibly Laurent Koscielny, their key man and one of few leaders, for this bout so I don’t expect that poor defensive record to be improving anytime soon.
Spurs are a best price 17/20 (Bet365) to win this which is a tough price to come to terms with when you think of the history of these meetings and the overall superiority of Arsenal in the Premier League era but it would appear that the tide is turning and I’m going with the flow.
I’ll also get goals on my side though, Both Teams To Score has to be backed when you look at the head-to-head statistics. Therefore, my best bet is Tottenham to win and Both Teams To Score at 11/5 with Betfair.
Tottenham v Arsenal – Tottenham to win and Both Teams To Score (11/5 Betfair)