This weekend, it’s the clash of the North London titans as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal face-off at Wembley Stadium. The winner will take a huge leap towards the much coveted fourth spot!
Last time, Arsenal won 2-0, which was their first win over their local rivals since March 2014.
Since February 2015, Harry Kane has scored in each derby (excluding the recent result, obviously), how will Arsene Wenger’s side contain a forward that has scored six goals in five derbies?
Thoughts ahead of the game
Seeing Arsenal’s track record against top six sides over the last two season doesn’t fill me with great psychological confidence heading into this weekends fixture.
Let’s look at the 2015-16 fixtures v Manchester United to start off with: Having won the first fixture at home 3-0, Arsenal went on to lose the corresponding fixture 3-2.
Next up, Chelsea (2016-17): Arsenal felt as though they were cloud nine following the 3-0 home win over Chelsea, but just like the previous season, they went on to lose away.
I’m not saying that Arsenal will lose this weekend, but given previous fixtures against top six sides, its sure to be tricky!
Tottenham Hotspur’s home record against top six sides isn’t bad, having beaten both Liverpool and Manchester United. Can they make it a hat-trick of wins over red sides this weekend?
Mauricio Pochettino is undecided as to whether Toby Alderweireld will feature this weekend. The Belgian defender made a return to action in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Newport County in the week. He hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury in November.
Pochettino reckons that new signing Lucas Moura will be in contention to feature, pending assessment and training.
Arsene Wenger has voiced that the squad will be similar to the side that beat Everton last weekend. He also adds that Danny Welbeck might be back.
On the injury front, Wenger isn’t sure of Cech following being substituted for David Ospina having picked up an injury in the weekend win over Everton.
Playing away isn’t exactly happy hunting for Arsenal, having only mustered seven away points all season. Conversely, the home side have won a respectable 28 home points this season (four points worse off at the stage last season). Make of that what you will…
Despite being fifth in the league so far, last seasons runners-up haven’t had as many slip-ups as this weekends opponents.
The sides are separated by a mere four points, and with Chelsea’s loss to Watford on Monday in mind, the race for fourth is well and truly running!
It’ll be a close encounter (as with every derby), but this will be the most competitive North London derby in a while!
Without mentioning the score, I’d say Tottenham Hotspur have the edge due to the mixed record against top six sides Arsenal have in recent seasons (the last two).
Featured image credit: Flippo