Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal in the London Derby on Sunday in what’s likely to be a game-of-the-season contender.
Spurs sit in 5th in a season of ups and downs, with Conte still seemingly undecided if his future lies at the club, insisting he is happy but that he could walk away if not 100% convinced by the club’s direction. They currently sit in 5th coming off a fresh 4-0 away win at Crystal Palace. Harry Kane scored twice, taking his tally up to 198 in the Premier League. He’s also on a total of 14 goals against Arsenal… could he join the elite club of 200 on Sunday?
Arsenal, on the other hand, are flying high, still holding onto 1st place with a 5 point gap separating them and Manchester City. With 40 goals scored so far and 14 conceded, they rank 2nd in the league in both categories, just behind City (45 goals) and Newcastle (11 conceded).
Tottenham’s form (all competitions): W W D L W.
Arsenal’s form (all competitions): W D W W W.
When & Where?
DATE: Sunday 15th, January.
TIME: 4:30 PM.
VENUE: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London.
Lucas Moura is out indefinitely while Dejan Kulusevski, Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and Richarlison are doubts. Bissouma and Bentancur are the closest to making it.
Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson are ruled out for this one.
Arsenal will keep their usual shape which worked so well so far. A 4-3-3 with Partey at the base and Zinchenko tucking in as the inverted full-back orchestrating in the middle.
Arteta is known for his minimal rotations in the starting eleven and he generally doesn’t change things often.
Gabriel Jesus is a huge reason this Arsenal team is flying this high as his presence and overall fit raised the level of the entire squad. However, an unfortunate injury at the World Cup meant Arteta would have to look for an internal solution as Jesus looks to be out on the sidelines for months. Nketiah looked like the obvious choice and he grabbed the chance with both hands, scoring 4 in his last 4.
Nketiah has truly stepped up but some things changed in the process with the most noticeable one being Xhaka receiving in the left halfspace much more often as the space isn’t filled with a player like Jesus as often anymore. he also looks like he enjoys being central more often than Jesus, who likes to roam freely.
On the other side, Tottenham Hotspur look set to keep the 3-4-3 which worked so well against Palace. The inclusion of Gil in place of Kulusevski seems to be the right move from Conte and it looks like he’ll keep his place if Kulusevski remains sidelined for this one.
However, Kulusevski is extremely important for the cohesion of this Spurs attack and he might be risked. He’s on 6 GA in 10 in the league so far.
Heung-min Son has had a poor season by his standards but his goal form often comes in patches and this Palace goal might just be enough to open the floodgates.
I expect Arsenal to try to squeeze the pitch up while Tottenham are likely to look for quick counters in a more direct style of play with Son and Kane as the usual outlets, the same way it went last time out when Arsenal came away with a 3-1 victory. The stadium atmosphere will be tremendous and Tottenham will look to bank on that early on.
This game is extremely important for the current league leaders as their main competitors for the title play Man United and Tottenham in their next games, same as Arsenal. There are likely to be dropped points and any slip-up might prove costly in the long run.
Harry Kane is the highest-scoring player in north London derby history with 14 goals, he’s scored in all but one of his eight Premier League home games against Arsenal (9 goals in total) and he’ll look to keep the record going with only 2 goals separating him from the 200 PL goals club.
Since the start of last season, no player has been directly involved in more London derby goals in the Premier League than Bukayo Saka (4 goals and 7 assists). He also created the most chances last time out against Tottenham (5).
Tottenham predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Lloris; Lenglet, Dier, Romero; Perisic, Hojbjerg, Bissouma, Doherty; Son, Gil; Kane.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Tottenham: Ramsdale; Zinchenko, Saliba, Gabriel, White; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka.