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Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal EPL Match Preview
One of the biggest London derbies for many years takes place on Saturday lunchtime as second-placed Spurs entertain third-placed Arsenal at White Hart Lane.
SPURS MISS THE CHANCE TO GO TOP
On Wednesday night at a freezing Upton Park, Spurs blew the chance to go to the top of the Premier League going down 1-0 against West Ham United. That defeat left Mauricio Pochettino’s men, three points adrift of leaders Leicester City going into the biggest fixture of this, or indeed any other season. The Argentine coach remained positive afterwards declaring that; “We lost to West Ham but it is not nerves, it is difficult to play every game in the intensity or level we normally have. But I am happy with the effort we showed, it was fantastic.” The midweek slip also left its mark on the betting exchanges, with the North London side now priced at *3.00 to win their first league championship since 1961.
ARSENAL FANS SHOW THEIR ANGER AFTER ANOTHER HOME DEFEAT
It’s been an awful week for Arsenal; after last weekend’s surprise defeat to an under-strength Manchester United side at Old Trafforrd, the Gunners succumbed to a second loss in four days as Swansea City left the Emirates with all three points on Wednesday. The players left the field to a cacophony of boos, from a crowd that were frustrated and upset at seeing another league title apparently slipping from within their grasp. Coach Arsene Wenger said afterwards that; “At the moment we are lacking confidence in front of goal and we have to deal with that. We need to get back to positive results before we speak about the championship, which is at stake at the moment.” Of all the places the Frenchman would have preferred not to have to go to on the back of a miserable week, would be to the home of their bitter rivals and fellow title contenders; another defeat on Saturday, would surely extinguish any hopes they have of a first Premier League crown since 2004.
Mousa Dembele is expected to be in contention for Spurs after recovering from a groin problem but Clinton N’Jie and JanVertonghen remain sidelined. Young England midfielder Dele Alli is expected to return to the starting XI for this game, as Spurs look to pick up their fourth consecutive home league win.
Petr Cech’s calf injury sustained against Swansea whilst going up front for a corner in the dying seconds, sums up Arsenal’s fortunes of late. David Ospina will deputise for him in goal as he joins Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Laurent Koscielny and Mikel Arteta on the sidelines. Danny Welbeck may get the nod up front over the misfiring Olivier Giroud; the best football betting sites quote him at *3.20 to be any anytime scorer.
THE SQUADS FOR WHITE HART LANE
Spurs (from) Lloris, Davies, Alderweireld, Trippier, Wimmer, Chadli, Mason, Lamela, Eriksen, Dier, Kane, Alli, Carroll, Son Heung-Min, Walker, Vorm, Onomah, Rose
Arsenal (from) Ospina, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Bellerin, Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Campbell, Coquelin, Ramsey, Flamini, Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck
HEAD TO HEAD
Spurs have won three of the last five North London derbies at White Hart Lane, scoring over 2.5 goals in their last six home matches against the Gunners in all competitions. Arsenal’s last league win at the Lane was back in March 2014, although they did triumph in a League-Cup tie there last September. Spurs won the corresponding fixture 2-1 last season and it was honours even in November at the Emirates in the first league meeting of the curent campaign.
Spurs 2.37 Draw 3.40 Arsenal 3.20
*odds courtesy of Bet365
By: Steve Mitchell