Written by Aaron Crowie for Soccer Betting News. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Arsenal v Tottenham | Emirates Stadium | Sunday 8 November | 18:00
It’s derby day! Arsenal lock horns with Tottenham in the second North London Derby this season. The first meeting came in the Capital One Cup, with Arsenal leaving White Hart Lane with the bragging rights after claiming a 2-1 victory. Spurs will be out for revenge while the Gunners will be looking to maintain their phenomenal form.
To Win (90 Mins)
Arsenal kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City with a ruthless second-half dismantling of Swansea City, thrashing the Welsh club 3-0 to remain level on points with Man City at the top of the log. Arsenal's victory was particularly impressive considering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott were added to their growing injury list during last Tuesday's abject 3-0 League Cup defeat to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday. The shock of that loss was particularly jolting, coming as it did after victories over Everton and Bayern Munich. But the pain of defeat was perhaps less severe than the headache which was caused by those injuries, with Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, David Ospina, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky already out.
Arsene Wenger’s team are still to battle it out with Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League at the time of writing and he will be hoping the Gunners come out of that encounter injury free. Arsenal have been in top form in the league, winning seven of their last eight matches. They have been outstanding on home soil winning their last four matches on the spin in all competitions, including a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.
The Gunners are looking solid defensively this season and are no longer the vulnerable team everybody knew them to be. Petr Cech is largely to thank for that – the 33 year old's arrival has coincided with Arsenal’s good run of form and that is no surprise; he has been one of the signings of the season, which could be key to Arsenal winning their first title in over a decade. His experience, leadership and calming influence have been instrumental in the Gunners’solid start.
France international, Olivier Giroud, has scored five goals in his last six games for club and country, and is expected to lead the line this weekend. He has scored more goals in the air (15) than any other player since his debut in August 2012 and is always going to be a threat, whether aerially or on the ground. Alexis Sanchez has failed to score in his last four appearances in all competitions and the Chilean will be looking to return to scoring ways. He is lightning quick, with undeniable skill and flair that tends to leave defenders for dead.
Mesut Ozil has been Arsenal’s best player this season. The German playmaker has the highest assist rate in Premier League history, with a set up every 2.71 games. Ozil will be Arsenal’s go-to-man. His vision to pick a pass is supernatural, while his first touch is simply uncanny. He has the ability to help Arsenal to another victory.
Tottenham barely shifted through the gears as they ousted relegation contenders Aston Villa 3-1 on Monday night. The victory extends Tottenham’s unbeaten run in the league to 10 matches since their opening day 1-0 defeat at Man United. As impressive as that has been, Mauricio Pochettino's team were rarely tested before a late surge from Villa. The hosts appeared guilty of complacency before Kane wrapped up the result with a fine strike following an excellent flowing team move. The result moves Spurs up to fifth on the table going into the North London derby. But they will need to ensure they are more consistent across 90 minutes against their neighbours, who have been in fine form this season.
Can Spurs break the top-four monopoly? The signs are good and Kane — who notched his fifth goal in as many league games against Aston Villa — is scoring again. He has netted 21 goals in 2015, three more than any other player in the Premier League. Kane scored a brace against Arsenal in the last league meeting back in February last term to hand his team a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane, and he will be looking to put in a similar performance here.
Another two players to keep a close eye on will be Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela. Eriksen has an abundance of creativity and vision, and his ability to pick a pass will be vital to Spurs unlocking the Arsenal’s defence. Lamela will use his pace and supreme skill to get in behind defenders, which could open up space for teammates.
Pochettino and his side have the perfect chance to prove their top four credentials with a win over their greatest rivals. It will certainly be a true test of their character.
Prediction: Arsenal 11/20
Arsenal are priced up at 11/20, whilst Tottenham can be found at a valuable 4/1. The North London derby is usually an end-to-end affair. That’s probably why it is known for being the highest-scoring fixture in the Premier League, with 131 goals scored in 46 meetings, making the over 2.5 goals market a solid bet at 11/20. As for a winner, the Gunners failed to claim a victory over Spurs in the league last season, but with the form they are in, are tipped to claim bragging rights.
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