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Tottenham vs Arsenal Preview

North London derby

It’s a bitter, bitter rivalry. One that usually always gives us a story for the days that follow the final whistle! Tottenham and Arsenal are both in good places, they each have a manager who will come into this game expecting a win…so it’s all set up perfectly for a spectacle!

There is value anyway you look at this fixture, so tread carefully and don’t be misled…

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English Premier League
Sunday 16 January
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

To Win
Tottenham 29/20
Draw 23/10
Arsenal 37/20


I must be honest and say, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Antonio Conte at Spurs. Of course, his side are still a work in progress – but there are some elements of a team’s game that can be changed immediately. You know a Conte-trained side will play with a degree of physicality, hustle and strict shape…all of this has been evident from the moment the Italian returned to London.

The loss to Chelsea in the EFL Cup is a humbling reminder that they aren’t where they want to be, but that shouldn’t take anything away for the performances and simple improvement we’ve seen in their league form.

Spurs are a side who are certainly in the mix to challenge for European spots this season, and I’ll take it another step further and say: I wouldn’t be surprised to see them steadily close the gap on the likes of Manchester City in the coming years.

The white side of North London have begun to embrace their new shape, playing with an Italian-like back three, propelling width up the football pitch gained admiration and well, trophies when Conte was at Chelsea, so there was no doubt he would look to implement the same style.

I don’t think the approach is the same as it was at Chelsea though, Spurs have a very classy attack in the shape of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. But the real joker under Conte has been Lucas Moura. The Brazilian has been given freedom to impact the game from half-spaces and has since relished his role.

Arsenal will be a true test though; Mikel Arteta has already shown he too enjoys the big games. So, what better way to end off the weekend than a proper North London derby!

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I can’t say it enough, but the patience and support Arsenal have shown in getting behind their manager is refreshing. It’s what football needs. Often, we are guilty of becoming the mundane, mpatient and uninspired social media fan – calling for the managers head at every dropped point.

Arsenal would have been disappointed with their FA Cup knockout to Nottingham Forest…but what might have hurt a little more could have been the home fans singing “Champions of Europe, you’ll never sing that!”

Anyway, back to domestic matters, it’s Arsenal’s defensive quality that I think have been the cause for their positive run before their City fixture. Before that fixture only City had kept more clean sheets than Arsenal, and from that strong defensive platform the Gunners were able to ask questions in the final third. 

You must put that down to the players ability of course, but the underpinning substance is the coaching. Mikel Arteta is a (relatively) young manager, but one who is incredibly passionate, resolute in his ideas and that of his team, not afraid to make big decisions with big name players at the club, but also, a manager you can see isn’t intimidated to learn.

If Arsenal can impose themselves on this game early on, not allow Spurs to build up a head of steam and grow into the game, I think they can win this. Against Watford, Spurs were denied entry into the half-spaces. The Hornets aggressively shut those areas down but were happy to have Spurs dominate possession. 

If Arsenal can replicate their performance against Manchester City on Sunday evening, I think Spurs will find it very difficult to cope. The only concern I have is Arsenal are a lot more fluid and proactive at the Emirates (winning just two from their last six games on the road compared to five wins from their last six at home).

Prediction: Draw/Arsenal & Yes (29/20)

I really hope the game gets ignited early, it’ll certainly suit Arsenal, but for the neutral it can then become an absolute thriller. For our hard-earned money, I don’t think Arsenal lose the game, and I can see Spurs scoring (sounds so easy, doesn’t it?).

There’s plenty of value on offer considering the visitors inconsistency, and because Mikel Arteta and his side are travelling, I wouldn’t add this to any multiple. But of course, have a crack on the nose – the value is undeniable.

Written by Ryan Liberty