Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will renew their rivalries this weekend as the two teams go head to head in the second North London Derby of the 2020/21 season.
Matchweek 28 of the 2020/21 Premier League is underway and the biggest draw of this round of fixtures comes our way from the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening as Arsenal gear up to take on arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby.
Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top six are dangling by a thread. The Gunners are currently tenth in the standings, eight points off of Everton in sixth place. Their last league game ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw against Burnley, but Mikel Arteta’s men did bounce back to winning ways, beating Olympiacos 3-1 in the UEFA Europa League this week.
Tottenham, meanwhile, have picked up steam after a poor run of results. Jose Mourinho’s side have racked up five wins in a row in all competitions, beating Crystal Palace 4-1 last weekend which was followed by a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in Europe. Despite the upturn in form, Spurs are still seventh in the table and have their task cut out to close the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea.
The reverse fixture played in December last year saw Tottenham beat Arsenal 2-0 with goals coming from the usual suspects, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal have a clean bill of health heading into the derby, with Emile Smith Rowe returning from injury in the midweek clash against Olympiacos. Mikel Arteta fielded a strong starting lineup in midweek against Olympiacos and is unlikely to make a lot of changes to that side for the game against Tottenham.
In goal, there is no looking past Bernd Leno, who will be aiming to redeem himself after a dodgy display in the Europa League clash. Kieran Tierney is a certain starter at left-back while Hector Bellerin should continue at right-back ahead of Calum Chambers who started the last league game against Burnley.
David Luiz has become a permanent fixture at the heart of the Arsenal defence and that is unlikely to change on Sunday. However, he could be in for a change of partners, with Pablo Mari replacing Gabriel Magalhaes, despite the Brazilian scoring a goal in midweek.
Thomas Partey is a shoo-in in the middle of the park for Arsenal. The Ghanaian’s ability to break up attacks and play precise, purposeful forward passes will come in handy for the Gunners against Tottenham. He will be supported i the middle by Granit Xhaka, who will often drop into spaces left vacant by the marauding left-back.
Martin Odegaard, who scored his first goal for Arsenal in midweek, should continue as the No. 10 while Bukayo Saka is also a surefire starter on the right. Willian has shown signs of form of late but could make way for Nicolas Pepe, who has been on the bench in the last couple of games. Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the man leading the attack against Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Mari, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Pepe; Aubameyang
Tottenham will once again be without the services of Giovani Lo Celso, who has suffered a minor setback in his recovery from injury. Harry Kane was spotted with an ice pack on his knee during the midweek clash against Dinamo Zagreb but Jose Mourinho has insisted that the England captain should be fit and available for the trip to Arsenal.
Having made a few changes to his usual lineup for the midweek game, Mourinho is expected to recall his regulars for the derby. Toby Alderweireld ought to return to the side to partner in-form Davinson Sanchez at the heart of the defence while club captain Hugo Lloris mans the goal for the Lilywhites.
"It's an important match. We believe we have the potential to be in a better position in the table – we have to try to win."
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 13, 2021
Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon take up the full-back slots. The duo is naturally attack-minded and will push forward regularly but will need to be at their top defensively as well against the threat posed by the likes of Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was given a well-deserved break against Dinamo Zagreb but should return to the side on Sunday. The Dane will slot into Spurs’ midfield double pivot, where he will look to break Arsenal’s build-up play. Tanguy Ndombele will partner Hojbjerg and act as the ball-carrier for Tottenham.
Gareth Bale, who has been in sublime form of late, should return on the right-wing while Son Heung-min is a certain starter on the left. Dele Alli should make way for Lucas Moura in the No. 10 role with Harry Kane spearheading the Tottenham attack against Arsenal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Bale, Moura, Son; Kane
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.90
1. Tottenham to beat Arsenal @ 2.80
- Arsenal are undefeated in 24 of their last 26 home matches against Tottenham Hotspur in all competitions.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their previous five games against Arsenal across all competitions.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last six home games in the Premier League. However, that defeat came in their most recent such fixture against Manchester City.
- Tottenham have won just two of their last nine Premier League matches on the road (D3 L4).
- Mikel Arteta has lost his first two North London Derby matches – no Arsenal manager has ever lost their first three such games. At the same time, no Tottenham manager has won their first three North London derbies, which Jose Mourinho could do on Sunday.
Player to Watch
14/15 – 31 goals in 51 games.
15/16 – 28 goals in 50 games.
16/17 – 35 goals in 38 games.
17/18 – 41 goals in 48 games.
18/19 – 24 goals in 40 games.
19/20 – 24 goals in 34 games.
20/21 – 26 goals in 37 games.
Harry Kane 🙌 pic.twitter.com/xPy8hUPXGH
— COYS.com (@COYS_com) March 11, 2021
Who else but Tottenham’s ace goalscorer who has been in red-hot form leading into the derby. Harry Kane has been firing on all cylinders of late, with goals and assists flowing so freely for the England captain. Having scored and assisted a couple each last weekend against Crystal Palace, the 27-year-old bagged another brace in midweek against Dinamo Zagreb.
With that, Kane took his tally for the season to a whopping 26 goals and 16 assists from only 37 games across all competitions. With the kind of form that he is in, coupled with his deadly combination play with the likes of Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale, Arsenal could be in for a whole lot of trouble on Sunday if they don’t find a way to keep him quiet.
Arsenal 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Both Arsenal and Tottenham head into the crucial game on Sunday on the back of impressive wins in the Europa League. The Gunners have been quite solid at home but their rivals have been boosted by the attacking unit that has started to fire on all cylinders of late, with Spurs now scoring 100+ goals across all competitions this season.
It is likely to be a closely contested affair at the Emirates Stadium. But the sublime form that Harry Kane is in tips the scales just that bit in favour of Tottenham. The Hard Tackle is predicting Jose Mourinho & co. pick up a vital win to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive.