Tottenham Hotspur take on Arsenal at White Hart Lane this weekend with the outcome of Saturday’s lunch time kick-off having huge connotations for this season’s title race.
Following both Spurs and Arsenal’s respective losses to West Ham and Swansea yesterday evening, table toppers Leicester City will be buoyed in the knowledge that at least one of these sides will be forced to drop points in the North London derby.
The Foxes’ 2-2 draw over West Brom lifted them three points clear at the top of the Premier League table, only applying extra pressure to the chasing pack, including Capital One Cup winners Manchester City, who suffered a demoralising 3-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield last night.
With Arsene Wenger’s Gunners looking to address a worrying slump following their second defeat in just four days, their task on Saturday became all the more difficult with goalkeeper Petr Cech and centre back Laurent Koscielny both sustaining injuries in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea.
With both Callum Chambers and David Ospina likely to be recalled for first team duties, an unfamiliar Gunners back five could play right into Spurs’ hands this weekend assuming Tottenham’s attacking trio of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli all produce the sort of form of which we have been accustomed to viewing this season.
But Spurs had problems of their own yesterday evening at the Boleyn Ground with West Ham’s resolute defence shutting out the Tottenham Hotspur attack with aplomb.
Whilst the Lilywhites’ boss Mauricio Pochettino refused to put Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham down to nerves, it does make you wonder just how much the prospect of winning a Premier League title will indeed play on the minds of a set of players who have never been in this sort of position before.
Spurs: Defender Jan Vertonghen still has another month left on the treatment table before his return to action following a knee ligament injury but there’s good news for Spurs fans with Moussa Dembele expected to return for their clash with Arsenal on Saturday.
Arsenal: As already mentioned, the Gunners suffered a double injury blow with Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech ruled out for Saturday’s clash. But bad news seems to have come in fours for Arsene Wenger with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla also out for extended periods it emerged yesterday.
Surprising defeats from Spurs and Arsenal yesterday evening made the outcome of this game an even harder task to predict. Both sets of players will certainly be sobered in the knowledge that three points for Leicester City and a failure to win for either Spurs or Arsenal will leave them seriously cut adrift in this year’s climatic title race.
Whilst on paper Arsenal still do have a side that’s better cut out for occasions such as these, home advantage and indeed the Gunners’ recent injury woes will be a great leveller and thus we have gone for a 1-1 draw in this Saturday lunch time fixture.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Arsenal (Exact Score Price – 6/1 with ComeOn!)
Leading the front line for Spurs and Arsenal will be these two. Let’s see how their stats have compared in the Premier League over the years.
Author – Andrew MacFarlane