It’s the 201st North London Derby and although Arsenal have been the dominant side in the fixture so far, with 82 wins to Tottenham’s 65, Spurs come into this one looking by far the stronger side. Jose Mourinho has navigated his team to the Premier League summit whereas Arsenal, fancied by many to enjoy a strong season, are currently struggling down in 14th place. Indeed, so poor has their recent form been that there has even been speculation about Mikel Arteta’s future at the club. While that might be premature, the Spaniard desperately needs to address a slump in form that has seen The Gunners win just one of their previous six league games. Who better to break that streak against than their hated rivals? So without further ado, here is my Premier League lowdown for £10,000 North London Derby match predictor. Read my thoughts and then join my Syndicate.
Premier League predictor: Tottenham vs. Arsenal
What will the correct score be?
We begin with the most difficult leg of the Premier League predictor pool and the one which will invariably require the most selections.
Neither Arsenal or Spurs are the sort of side who like following a script and both are historically capable of pulling out an absolutely masterful / abysmal (delete as appropriate) performance to confound their current run of form. However, on this occasion I’m going to have to follow the league table and put my faith in Tottenham continuing to dominate a recent head-to-head record that has seen them beaten by Arsenal just twice in their previous 11 meetings and none of the last six at home.
Simply put there is very little in Arsenal’s recent form to make me think that they are about to turn a corner. Yes they have being turning over Europa League opposition but beating Dundalk, Molde and Rapid Wien is a far cry from their challenge on Sunday. Their biggest problem is undoubtedly in attack and with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only scoring once so far this season, Arsenal have only managed ten goals in their opening ten matches. It is the fourth lowest tally in the league and fewer than all but Burnley, West Brom and Fulham. Hardly the company they wish to be keeping. Their only salvation has, unexpectedly, been their defending with only 12 goals conceded.
Goalscoring has been no issue for table-topping Spurs, however, with their 21 strikes just one fewer than Liverpool and Chelsea who are currently leading the way. Their ability to seemingly score at will when Harry Kane and Son Heung Min combine in attack coupled with their miserly defence, nine goals conceded being the fewest in the league, makes it easy to see why Spurs are where they are.
These fixtures are traditionally tight and only one of their previous 18 meetings has seen one of the pair score more than two goals in a game. However, it’s been 26 games since they’ve shared a 0-0 draw and I think it’s fairly safe to say this one won’t buck that trend. So if we’re saying that Spurs will win but should score less than 3 goals, it leaves us with three possible results.
Selections: 1-0, 2-0, 2-1
Will a penalty be taken?
In a season of high penalty drama due to the increasing influence of VAR, these are two sides who haven’t been particularly affected.
Tottenham have seen five penalties in their matches so far, two in their favour and three against, which ranks them somewhere in mid-table for penalty kicks in games. However, Arsenal matches have only seen a single penalty, the lowest total in the league, possibly down to their increasingly strong defending and poor attacking.
No penalty is always statistically more likely than there being a penalty and, with these two teams both strong at the back, I’ll back no spot kick.
Will a player be sent off?
Surprisingly, Arsenal have received more red cards than any other side since Mikel Arteta took over with five. The latest came in their dismal draw against Leeds last week when Nicolas Pepe was sent off for an idiotic and needless headbutt. Arteta gave Pepe short shrift after that game and it is for that reason that I am going to oppose the same happening here. Any further costly breaches of discipline, particularly against Spurs, will surely not be tolerated by the Gunners’ boss.
Will a goal be scored in the 1st half?
Spurs have scored seven of their 21 strikes in the opening 20 minutes of games so far and Mourinho’s men are notorious fast starters. Arsenal are far less so and have scored under a third of their goals in the first half. However, we’re supporting Tottenham to win here so will hope that they can repeat the trick once again.
How many corners will be taken by Tottenham?
Neither side have been prolific in terms of corners so far this season, with Arsenal’s 4.7 a game and Tottenam’s 4.2 a game putting them 12th and 17th in the league respectively. Out of interest, Villa are currently in first place with 6.6 a game.
The defensive solidarity of both sides could result in a few pot shots being taken if frustration builds and that can sometimes lead to a few extra corners here and there via deflections, however I would expect this game to be contested in midfield for large periods of the game rather than being an end to end contest. I’ll support Spurs having somewhere between three and six owing to their assumed dominance.
Selections: 3-4, 5-6
How many corners will be taken by Arsenal?
As with the above, I’d expect Arsenal to have between 3-4 which is slightly below their seasonal mean but against tougher opposition.
How many cards will be shown to Tottenham?
Again, these two sides are among the lowest in the division for yellow cards, just as they are for corners. Arsenal have averaged 1.4 a game so far with Spurs receiving 1.2, putting them 10th and 18th in the league table. Without fans in attendance will this flare up into a war? I’m not so sure.
The best chance of that happening is through possible Arsenal mounting frustration but such is their need for a result that you’d expect them to keep their heads. I don’t think either side will pick up a load of cards.
Selection: 1, 2
How many cards will be show to Arsenal?
As above. I’m going to put my faith in Arteta having hammered home the importance of discipline to his side if they are to escape their current malaise.
Selection: 1, 2
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