Two of the Premier League’s fiercest rivals meet this weekend in a match that could decide both who wins the title and who qualifies for the Champions League. Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane for the second North London derby of the season - a win for Spurs will keep their title hopes alive, while if the Gunners can win, a top four finish is still a realistic possibility.
With both clubs separated by a matter of miles, Sunday’s match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal means much more than just three points to both sets of fans. This is perhaps the most important North London derby for a number of years with Tottenham still in the hunt for the Premier League title and Arsenal five points adrift of Manchester City in fourth.
Live odds for Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal
Consistency pays off
Arsene Wenger has often highlighted the importance of consistency in the Premier League - the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have all had stints outside of the top four while Arsenal have finished fourth or better for 20 consecutive seasons. However, Tottenham Hotspur have been much more consistent than their local rivals this season.
Bettors will be wary that in the last ten North London derbies, Tottenham have only won twice, Arsenal four times and there has been four draws.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have lost the fewest games in the Premier League (three) and also boast the best defensive record, conceding an average of just 0.66 goals per game. Arsenal, by contrast, have already lost the most games (eight) in a single season since 2011/12 (ten) and have conceded an average of 1.25 goals per game.
It looks like this season will be the first time Tottenham finishes above Arsenal for over 20 years, although it’s not mathematically decided as of yet, but Spurs will be more focused on bridging the four-point gap to league leaders Chelsea in the five remaining games.
The need to adapt in the modern game
In recent years, teams like Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool have struggled to compete for the Premier League title for one obvious reason. Not because they haven’t invested in players, but because they have become one dimensional in how they play.
Tottenham have lost the fewest games in the Premier League (three) and also boast the best defensive record, conceding an average of just 0.66 goals per game.
Chelsea and Tottenham have shown time and time again this season how important it is to have a plan B, C and D. Although Arsenal have the third best pass success rate in the league (83.7%) and third highest number of attempted passes per game (574) - above both Chelsea and Tottenham for each statistic - it would appear they only have one style of play.
Tottenham have shown they can be more direct - they have attempted the most long balls per game of any side in the top six (71) - and although they have the most clean sheets in the league (16), the fact that they’ve attempted the most shots per game (17.5) shows they are far from defensive.
Where is the value?
Considering Tottenham have won eight in a row in the league and have been incredibly consistent over the last 33 games, a win for the home side might be the most valuable bet. However, bettors will be wary that in the last ten North London derbies, Tottenham have only won twice, Arsenal four times and there has been four draws.
Harry Kane, Dele Ali and Christian Eriksen have been a formidable attacking trio this season and with Arsenal having scored at least once in the last 15 matches between the two sides; over 3 goals might be an attractive option at 1.909*.
This fixture is undoubtedly a hard one to call. While bettors might struggle to make their mind up with the traditional soccer betting markets, corners betting or cards betting could prove to be a good alternative.