Competition: Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal
Venue: White Hart Lane – Saturday, March 5 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)
Match Odds: Tottenham 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Arsenal 2/1
Three points is all that separate these two coming into the game. Tottenham sit second, with Arsenal just behind in third. Both are chasing Leicester at the top and know this game is their most important of the season so far.
Spurs can go top of the league for at least a few hours with a win against their arch enemies here, and Mauricio Pochettino will be desperate to see his side put in a better display than they did in the 1-0 loss at West Ham Wednesday night.Embed from Getty Images
That defeat was just Tottenham’s fourth of the season and their first away from home since the opening weekend. Spurs have not lost back-to-back games in all competitions all year and will expect to avoid defeat in this pivotal fixture.
Arsenal come into the North London Derby in trouble. They lost their second-straight league game on Wednesday evening at home to Swansea and are now without a win in four in all competitions, with their season spiraling out of control quickly.
Arsene Wenger has come under enormous pressure from Arsenal fans yet again, as the club looks set to waste a great chance of winning the title once more. However, a win at Tottenham on Saturday would give the fans a huge boost and would catapult the Gunners back into contention.
The worry for Arsenal is that they’ve only won one of their last five away games in the Premier League, while injuries to Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny have done little to boost their chances of success here.Embed from Getty Images
These two sides played out an entertaining 1-1 in the reverse fixture this season, although Arsenal have already won at White Hart Lane this campaign in a 2-1 League Cup victory back in September.
Both sides fielded weakened sides that night, though, and Spurs come into this one as favourites. The Lilywhites won the corresponding fixture 2-1 last year and will be dreaming of a repeat result this time around.
Tottenham will be hoping Moussa Dembele is fit enough to start here, although he remains doubtful. Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie remain sidelined through injury, but those three players are Pochettino’s only concerns. Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Dele Alli are expected to come back into the side after starting on the bench in Wednesday’s loss at West Ham.
Arsenal have been rocked by the loss of Petr Cech in the build up to their biggest game of the season. The goalkeeper picked up an injury late on in the loss to Swansea on Wednesday, and Wenger confirmed he and Laurent Koscielny will both miss this clash. They join Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere on the sidelines. Danny Welbeck could start ahead of Olivier Giroud, while Joel Campbell should retain his place on the right.
Tottenham’s last five: W/W/W/W/L
Arsenal’s last five: D/W/W/L/L
Key Stat: Tottenham have only won one of their last seven meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D2 L4).
Key Player: Harry Kane – The Tottenham striker has enjoyed another fine season and will be looking to score his fourth goal against Arsenal in what will be just his third Premier League game against the Gunners. He will expect to benefit from the losses of Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny in the Arsenal defence and will be dangerous.
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal – This is such a huge fixture for both clubs and is very difficult to predict. However, Tottenham are expected to edge it with home advantage and key injuries to Arsenal’s backline helping their chances. Pochettino’s men wasted the chance to go top of the table on Wednesday night but should move to the top for at least a few hours with a win over their fiercest of rivals. An Arsenal defeat here would really pile the pressure on Arsene Wenger and he will be desperate to see his team put in a better display than they have over the last two games.