3 bold predictions for Arsenal vs. Tottenham
Aside from the Chelsea vs. Manchester City game on Saturday, London will see another huge game on Sunday. Old North London rivals are meeting, as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will host Tottenham Hotspur. It is possibly one of the biggest derbies in England, along with Manchester and Liverpool derbies, but this year, it just does not seem to hold the same weight.
Both Tottenham and Arsenal started the season relatively poorly and both teams are expected to be outside of title contention. The Spurs in particular are in bad form, as they lost their last two games with a combined minus 6 goal differential. Arsenal, on the other hand, was humiliated early with three defeats in a row, but bounced back with two wins against lesser opposition and are entering the game ready to hand their rivals another defeat.
Here are three things to look out for in this game!
3 predictions for Arsenal vs. Spurs
Spurs will probably bounce back, but will it be enough?
This Spurs team is currently playing in poor form, but this is a special game. The North London derby has been absolutely dominated historically by Arsenal and the Gunners were the much better team for most of their history. Only recently, Tottenham started to slowly overtake Arsenal in London and they were able to pull out better results.
It would be a good game to bounce back and maybe present some sort of challenge for the European spots. The fans will be expecting a much better performance than the Chelsea game last weekend, where the Spurs had absolutely zero chance of winning all game. Even worse, that was the second 3-0 defeat in a row, as Crystal Palace dismantled them in the same fashion a week prior. Tottenham will be looking to pile on to the bad season of the Gunners with another defeat in a big game for Arsenal.
This Spurs team is truly not that tragic. They have Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son in the attack, both of which can score in bunches. They have good prospects like Bryan Gil and Japhet Tanganga, in addition to the solid players like Lucas Moura and Tanguy Ndombele. However, the last two results and general play in the season have left fans asking for more. Coach Nuno Espirito Santo asked for more patience, but if the result is negative, there will be calls for the coach to be sacked, even after just six games.
Can Arsenal’s young squad understand the importance of the North London Derby?
Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta have been vocal about this season being a transitional one. Looking at the squad, that is very visible. Buyako Saka is only 20, just like Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun. Emile Smith-Rowe is only 21, Albert Lokonga as well, Martin Odegaard is 23. Of course, this can go on, but the idea is visible and it circulates around the development of young players.
However, that has some drawbacks. Fans have been calling for Arteta’s head since the start of the season, especially after losses to Brentford, Chelsea, and Manchester City. Wins against Norwich City and Burnley have kept the fires around the Emirates silent for a moment, but a negative result would be catastrophic for the fanbase. With the youthfulness in and around the Arsenal squad, the question is whether Arsenal’s youngsters understand how huge this game really is.
This could be a case where the Arsenal youngsters play with extra effort, trying to show the fans they deserve to be there. However, derby culture is, unfortunately, slowly dying out, so there is every chance that the players do not think much of this game. Additionally, guys like Odegaard and Lokonga are not from England and are not in the club for long, so it is difficult to ask them for the passion that other guys from the Arsenal academy might have.
There should be a lot of goals…and a lot of broken football
When squads like Tottenham and Arsenal meet, due to all the circumstances surrounding them, most people expect a boring game. If this was not the North London Derby, with their form and strengths of rosters, only the fans of the teams would watch the game, most likely. However, at the end of the day, it is still a derby and there is a lot of energy in the teams.
Additionally, both defenses are fairly leaky. While Arsenal kept a clean sheet for the last two games, Brentford and Chelsea put two past them, and Manchester City put five. The Spurs did win the first three games, even surviving a game versus the champions Manchester City with a 1-0 win, but have conceded six goals in two games since. With all this energy coming from young, hungry players, and these defenses, there truly should be goals galore in this one.
However, due to the fact that both teams are not strong at the moment, nor do they have too much experience, it could be a lot of poor passes and broken play in the middle. The Spurs have an advantage in the fact that they have guys like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Giovani Lo Celso in the midfield, both of whom have more experience in European football than Arsenal’s midfielders. One thing is for sure, all the neutrals will be looking for goals and a lot of them!