Sunday 6th November 12.00 GMT
It was honours even between these two London rivals in both league encounters last season although, as is gleefully recalled in some of the capital’s boroughs, Arsenal came from some way behind to pip Spurs to 2nd place at the competition’s end. Having seen their team throw away a gilt-edged chance to win the league themselves, Spurs fans at least expected the consolation prize of finishing above their city rivals but their end of season collapse was so remarkable, that not even that crumb made its way to their plate.
How are they looking?
The respective form of both these teams is rather marked. Arsenal are one of the form teams in the league and, at the time of writing, find themselves sitting at the top of the pile alongside Manchester City and Liverpool. By contrast, Spurs have not won a league match since their impressive dispatching of Man City over a month ago. True, they have still to lose a match in the league but they were beaten by Liverpool in the League Cup a week and a half ago and were beaten yet again this week in the CL.
Off the boil
The former loss was unremarkable given the competition but the latter defeat at the hands of Bayer Leverkeusen is a cause for concern. Spurs looked a bloated, undisciplined parody of their recent selves with Moussa Sissoko in particular standing out in his awfulness with 30+ losses of possession on his part. It was a performance that must have given their boss nightmares given how far it strayed from his idea of how his team should play.
Getting it right
Arsene Wenger, on the other hand, is in something of a dreamland at the moment as his charges are carrying out his wishes to, at times, near perfection. In addition to the pleasing-on-the-eye aspect of their game, the Gunners are also grabbing wins from the mouth of draws to an extent that they haven’t done in recent seasons which suggests a steelier resolve on their part. Mesut Ozil is in outstanding form and has added goals to his standard repertoire of the sublime. But the German isn’t the only man to be shining and that should be an extra cause of concern for Spurs, on top of their poor form.
It’s not all gloom
There is a well of hope from which Tottenham can draw succor and that is their performance in the aforementioned win over City last month. In that game, they pressed and harried City throughout the game and never let them settle. In effect, they played the archetypal Pochettino game and City could not live with them. Arsenal, though not as cavalier in approach as City, will look to dominate possession and build play from the back. If Spurs can come close to replicating their best form, they will make life very uncomfortable for Arsenal and might conjure some of their nascent fears back to the fore.
Some good news for Spurs comes in the shape of the returning Harry Kane. The striker wasn’t exactly in great form prior to his injury but his absence has left Spurs rudderless in the area where they need direction the most – in front of goal. Whether he’s sharp enough in his first game back from a long lay-off to influence matters there remains to be seen. Arsenal’s defence has been uncharacteristically composed this season and won’t be easily shaken. Spurs are unlikely to play as poorly as they have done recently but Arsenal have been much more impressive of late and we reckon they’ll take all three points. Best price for an Arsenal win is 22/23 courtesy of MarathonBet