This weekend’s Premier League schedule is arguably saving the best till last in the shape of the North London derby at the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal play host to arch rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.
After last week’s setbacks, both teams will be anxious to avoid a second straight defeat and risk being as much as eight points (in Spurs’ case) adrift of Liverpool with just four games of the season gone.
- Game: Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
- Venue: Emirates Stadium
- Kick-off: Sunday 1st September 4.30pm
After kicking off the campaign with back-to-back odd-goal victories over Newcastle United (1-0) and Burnley (2-1), Arsenal’s unbeaten start ended at Anfield last Saturday, when their 3-1 defeat saw them a distant second-best to the only team still boasting a 100% record.
Since having to dig deep to overcome Aston Villa 3-1 on the opening weekend of the season, Tottenham’s hopes for the campaign climbed higher still when they were good value for their 2-2 draw at Manchester City, albeit needing a late VAR intervention to keep that point.
But that optimism came crashing down last week when Newcastle earned their first points of the season with a surprise 1-0 over Spurs at the Tottenham Stadium.
Sports Betting Odds
The betting market sees this as an open encounter with better than even money available for all three outcomes.
Arsenal’s home advantage makes them favourites with 7/5 offered by BetVictor, while several leading bookmakers have Tottenham nudging 2/1 to produce an away win. The narrow spread between those prices leaves the draw attracting a lot of attention with 13/5 looking like the most popular price.
Team Facts & Analysis
Arsenal’s Home Form
Arsenal have been dismal on their travels in recent months, but it has been a different story at the Emirates. Their surprise 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace in April ended a run of ten successive home league wins, and indeed was only heir fifth loss there in 57 games since the opening day of the 2016/17 season.
The Gunners have scored in all but two of their last 52 games at the Emirates, with those two failures both coming at the hands of Manchester City during their last two title-winning seasons.
Tottenham’s Away Form
Tottenham will have to reverse an alarming slump in their away-day fortunes if they are to get anything at all from their trip across North London. They began last season with a Premier League record of eleven wins from their first thirteen away league games — but they have failed to pick up all three points from any of their subsequent seven away trips.
Indeed, the 2-2 draw at the Etihad this month ended a run of six straight away defeats; a disastrous run that almost cost them a top-four finish.
There has not been an away win in this fixture in eighteen league meetings stretching back to November 2010, when Spurs overturned a two-goal half-time deficit to win 3-2. Since then, nine trips to the Emirates have seen Tottenham pick up just three drawn points to go with six defeats, including last season’s 4-2 scoreline, when it was Arsenal’s turn to overturn a half-time deficit by scoring three goals in twenty minutes after the break.
Free Betting Tip: Arsenal 0AH @ 1.94 (Draw no bet)
Arsenal’s Attacking Threats
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped himself to a brace in last season’s 4-2 win, and he remains Arsenal’s most potent threat in the final third. He has now bagged 34 goals in 52 Premier League appearances for the Gunners and he is looking for his tenth successive double-figure haul in European league football.
He will continue his partnership up front with Alexandre Lacazette, and while the Frenchman has not hit the heights of his Gabonese strike partner, it is worth noting that one or other of this pairing has found the net in each of Arsenal’s last eleven home league games, including five matches when they both scored.
Both players will no doubt benefit from the arrival of Dani Ceballos, with the Real Madrid loanee already showing his creative flair in providing two assists from midfield.
However, scoring goals has never been a problem for Unai Emery’s teams (they scored in all but four of last season’s 38 league games), but the eventual departure of Laurent Koscielny has left Arsenal short of pace and composure at the back, and if David Luiz is to fill that gap, he will have to perform better than he did against Liverpool’s pace and directness last week.
Exploiting Defensive Frailties
Tottenham will be looking to expose Arsenal’s defensive frailties, and will hope that Son Heung-Min has shrugged off any rustiness after looking off the pace on his return in last week’s home defeat. Similarly, last season’s Champions League semi-final-hattrick hero Lucas Moura will be aiming to return to form in yet another huge fixture for the club.
After much close-season transfer talk, the always dangerous Christian Eriksen cannot yet command a place in the starting line-up. Along with the additional enforced absence of the injured Deli Alli and Tanguy Ndombele, Spurs looked short of creative ideas against Newcastle, despite dominating 69% of possession.
So, not for the first time, much of Tottenham’s hopes will depend on the attacking threat of Harry Kane. The England captain has scored in all but one of the last nine EPL North London derbies, the only exception being Arsenal’s 2-0 win two years ago. The other eight meetings have produced no less than nine Kane goals, including four penalties, so the odds on him doing so again might be worth investigating.
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