While Leicester City continue to go on their merry way in the Premier League title race, there is a feeling that this Saturday’s North West London derby between Spurs and Arsenal will largely determine the outcome of the title race.
Regardless of how the Foxes get on at Watford, a win for Spurs will keep them in the mix for honours and give them the huge confidence boost that they have overcome their biggest obstacle with aplomb. A victory for Arsenal would haul them back into contention.
This is a fierce local derby that has taken on extra significance this term….and the bookies have made Tottenham their favourites to take all three points.
So what is the tale of the tape in this classic encounter?
This is a fixture of contrasts. For the first time in a long time, Spurs head into it as the form side with six wins from eight, and despite a morale-sucking defeat at West Ham in midweek Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won five of their last eight at White Hart Lane.
Things aren’t quite as rosy up the road at Arsenal. The Gunners have suffered three defeats in a row in all competitions, and won just of their last eight on the road. They have only won 50% of their away matches this term, and with nothing less than three points acceptable here….well, if Arsene Wenger’s finger is hovering above the panic button, now might be the time to press it.
But he and the club’s supporters will take great heart from the historical data, which suggests his side have a clear advantage. Of the last ten meetings between these sides, Arsenal have won six, with two draws and two Spurs victories.
If we drill down a little further and look at the last five Premier League matches played at White Hart Lane though, we find that the Gunners have won just once; with Tottenham claiming three victories and a single stalemate. It seems that home advantage in this local derby is so important.
With all of this in mind, we have to surmise that Spurs warrant their tag as the bookies’ favourite.
Where the Money’s At
What we have noticed from looking back at the previous head-to-head meetings is that none of the last five at White Hart Lane have been won by a margin of more than one goal.
While the season stats don’t necessarily reflect this (64% of Spurs’ wins have come by a goal margin of two or greater, as have 70% of Arsenal’s), we’re expecting that the nature of this fixture – and its wider importance this term, could result in a Spurs win by a single goal – which can be backed at a tempting 31/10.
On a similar tangent, the Spurs handicap is interesting too. We can back them with a -0.5 Asian at odds-against (5/4), and this looks to have legs. If we imagine the scene where Arsenal, 0-1 down with 15 minutes to play, bring on a cavalcade of attacking substitutes in an attempt to wrestle something from the game. They are then hit on the break, Spurs slot their second home, and the game is over. That is the kind of scenario that often pans out in these ‘do or die’ matches.
One thing is for certain, if you can get to a telly tomorrow lunchtime then you won’t find many better ways to spend your time.