It’s increasingly looking like a two-horse race for the Premier League title, with both Arsenal and Manchester City locked in a tense battle of attrition for domestic supremacy. The Gunners are currently leading the charge, and will be looking to consolidate their position when they take on their age-old adversaries this weekend in Spurs, who themselves are in desperate need for points in the top four race.
Mikel Arteta has overseen 14 wins in the Premier League this campaign, more than any other side, with one of those triumphs coming in this bitter fixture back in October. The Gunners ran out 3-1 victors with the game living up to its expectation as a heated affair after Emerson Royal got sent off on the hour mark. It’s rarely a drama-free showing when these two clubs are involved, making it a favourite among neutrals.
Spurs aren’t quite riding the crest of a wave like with their eternal rivals, but Antonio Conte’s men do enter this showdown fresh from a comprehensive 4-0 dismantling of Crystal Palace. That result has kept Spurs’ top-four hopes alive, but as things currently stand, the Londoners are fifth and two points below fourth-placed Manchester United (who also have a game in hand).
They cannot afford to drop further points, adding a significant layer of importance to this derby. Not that it needed one.
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Tottenham vs Arsenal match stats
Bukayo Saka has established a reputation as a derby difference-maker: since the start of last season, no player has been directly involved in more Premier League London derby goals than the Arsenal winger (11 – four goals, seven assists). In fact, in the reverse fixture earlier this campaign, the England international created a match-high five chances — and he will be itching to follow up this weekend.
For all Saka’s recent brilliance, though, Harry Kane is the definitive North London Derby player. The 29-year-old is the highest scoring player in this fixture’s history with 14 goals. In fact, he has scored in all but one of his eight Premier League home games against the Gunners (nine goals) — failing only in July 2020.
Tottenham vs Arsenal: What’s been said?
In a fixture that always has the potential to spill over given the emotional baggage that weighs heavily for both of these clubs, Conte has already looked to light a pre-match fuse with a thinly-veiled swipe at Arteta’s men.
Amid Arsenal’s second disciplinary charge from the FA in recent weeks for failing to control their players, Conte referenced his ‘hatred’ for players who harangue officials — a reference some fans will feel is a physiological dig at his opposition number.
He commented in his pre-match press conference: “No (concerns) but I like in an important game like this, (to see) the respect is always at the top. You have to show respect in every situation and especially also with the referee because I know very well the difficulty to be a referee, to take decisions.
“I think to intimidate or to create a bad atmosphere is not fair. I don’t like this. I hate the people that try to do it. Don’t forget that we are talking always about a game of football. Sometimes it happens in the emotion, I remember very well against Sporting Lisbon, we scored in the 95th minute and then we stayed five minutes to wait for the VAR decision.
“I was really upset but I never, never lacked the respect of the referee. Then, he sent me away because I went into the pitch but I think in every moment you have to show respect. Don’t forget this is football, an incredible sport and we have to respect each other.”
01 Oct 2022 – Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham – Premier League
12 May 2022 – Tottenham 3-0 Arsenal – Premier League
26 Sep 2021 – Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham – Premier League
14 Mar 2021 – Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham – Premier League
06 Dec 2020 – Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal – Premier League
It was a tempestuous affair back in October between these two clubs. The rivals were level at half-time after Kane converted from the spot to cancel out Thomas Partey’s opener. After the break, though, Arsenal came out with the bit between their teeth, winning through goals from Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka, with Emerson also given an early bath after a nasty challenge on Gabriel Martinelli.
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