The north London derby returns on Sunday with both Arsenal and Tottenham looking to lay down an early marker to the rest of the Premier League.
The two sides have enjoyed perfectly opposite starts to the new season. Arsenal won their last two after losing their opening three, and Spurs lost their last two after winning their opening three. Complete reversals in form with neither generating unbridled optimism among supporters.
But there’s nothing better to ignite a season than a win over your local rivals and, indeed, few rivalries in England are much more intense than Arsenal vs Tottenham.
Premier League top-six odds with William Hill…
- Man City – 1/250
- Chelsea – 1/250
- Liverpool – 1/100
- Man Utd – 1/33
- Tottenham – EVS
- Arsenal – 6/4
18+ only. Be Gamble Aware. Odds in this article are correct at 13:00, 26/09/2021.
So, to get you geared up for Sunday’s action, here are five predictions for the match, including possible starting line-ups.
1. Arsenal predicted XI
Aaron Ramsdale has kept a clean sheet in each of his two Premier League outings for Arsenal so far this season. He should start again and is looking to become only the third goalkeeper in club history to keep shutouts in his opening three Premier League games alongside Alex Manninger and David Ospina.
In front of him, Ben White and Gabriel should anchor the defence, with Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu providing the thrust at full-back.
Granit Xhaka will likely come in to help secure the midfield but around him, Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey have a very interesting partnership forming. Partey was defensively excellent during the Gunners’ 1-0 win over Burnley at the weekend, while it was Odegaard’s free-kick that brought home the three points.
“Partey coming back, Odegaard and Partey in that pivot – there is something beautiful about that, something beautiful about it,” Arsenal legend Ian Wright said of the burgeoning double-act on his Ringer podcast.
The exuberance and creativity of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka will, in theory, provide both space and service in abundance for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who remains stuck on just one Premier League goal so far.
2. Spurs predicted XI
If Arsenal’s attack clicks, Spurs will need big performances from Hugo Lloris in goal and Cristian Romero and Eric Dier in front of him. What’s more, Nuno Espirito Santo needs to get hold of the midfield battle here after being totally dominated against Chelsea, so putting Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Oliver Skipp together makes a lot of sense. This industrious pair would allow Dele Alli to venture forward, as well as full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Emerson Royal.
Though he hasn’t scored in the Premier League this season, Harry Kane will start through the middle, flanked by Heung-min Son and, most likely, Giovani Lo Celso with Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn facing doubts over their fitness.
3. Kane to open his Premier League account
After hitting form at the perfect time for England at Euro 2020, few would have foreseen Kane being without a goal after four Premier League games at the start of this season. But if there’s one opponent the striker would love to face in this sort of situation, it’s Arsenal.
To date, Kane has scored 11 goals against the Gunners, with only Everton (12) and Leicester (17) suffering more regularly at his hands. In fact, that tally makes Kane the all-time leading goalscorer in competitive meetings between Arsenal and Spurs.
Sure, he failed to score against Arsenal in their last meeting in March, but Kane has never gone back-to-back games without scoring a goal in the north London derby.
You can get Harry Kane to score at any time against Arsenal at 7/5 with William Hill…
4. Goals, goals, goals
OK, so Arsenal have won their last two Premier League games by a 1-0 scoreline, while Spurs have failed to hit the net more than once in a single league game this season. But this is the north London derby. We always expect goals from this fixture.
There’s plenty of evidence to back up that expectation. For example, Arsenal have scored at least once in their last 22 home Premier League games against Spurs, while there hasn’t been a single goalless draw between these two in any competition since February 2009, a run of 28 games.
Need some more convincing? There have been at least 2.5 goals scored in five of Tottenham’s last six Premier League away games, while there have been at least three goals scored in the last three meetings between these two at the Emirates.
Arsenal vs Tottenham to feature over 2.5 goals is priced at 21/20 with William Hill…
5. Arsenal to use momentum to gain NL supremacy
According to Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal players are “looking forward” to facing their arch-rivals on Sunday, carrying momentum from winning their last three games across all competitions without conceding a goal.
“Really important,” the Spaniard responded when asked about the importance of momentum.
“Confidence rises, competition brings the best out of you when you have difficult moments and the boys have managed to win three games in a row so credit to how they have handled the situation and now they are obviously looking forward to play[ing] on Sunday in what is our biggest game of the season.”
By contrast, Espirito Santo was unable to promise fans a turnaround in form anytime soon.
“I wish I could but I’m an honest person,” he replied when asked to give fans a message of hope. “We have to look at what happened. We started the season with a lot of situations with players away and we built a way. We did quite well in the first matches. Of course, when things happen, [when] we have problems and results and performances don’t appear, the momentum goes. The good feeling goes away.”
These two factors might well combine to give the home team the edge on Sunday, even if it promises to be a game won by wafer-thin margins.
Scoreline prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham (9/1 with William Hill)