4:00pm local time on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at Emirates Stadium
$1.67 at Sportsbet.com
Table position: 2nd
League form: W W W W W
$5.25 at www.Bet365.com
Table position: 5th
League form: W D D W W
$4 at Luxbet.com
Last five EPL meetings
Spurs 2-1 Arsenal
Arsenal 1-1 Spurs
Spurs 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal 1-0 Spurs
Spurs 2-1 Arsenal
There’s more than bragging rights up for grabs in this Sunday’s edition of the north London derby.
The 3-0 win over Swansea City last weekend made it five league victories in a row for Arsenal ($1.67 at Sportsbet), who now lie level on points with Premier League table-toppers Manchester City.
The Citizens will play bottom-placed Aston Villa this Saturday, so the Gunners will almost certainly need to stretch their winning run to six if they wish to keep touch at the summit.
But first they must pick themselves up off the canvas, having suffered a rather humbling 5-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
They will also need to draw on their depth to put a squad together, as defenders Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny have joined Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere on Arsenal’s lengthy injury list.
His own team’s woes aside, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger will also have to outdo a visiting outfit which hasn’t lost a league game since the opening day of Premier League 2015-16.
Tottenham are now 10 games unbeaten and sitting in fifth place, meaning a win at the Emirates would put them just two points behind their arch-rivals in the standings.
It has taken Spurs a while to find their shooting boots this season, as 14 of their 19 goals have come in the last five rounds, but there has been a lot to like about their overall quality of play this season.
The bedrock of that form is a vastly improved defence which has conceded only nine times in 11 league outings – a damn sight better than the average of 1.4 goals-against per game in 2014-15.
Throw in the wonderful form of Eric Dier and Dele Alli in midfield this season, as well as the resurgence of Argentine playmaker Erik Lamela, and you can almost forgive the furtive whispers of a potential title challenge.
But not everyone at White Hart Lane is feeling the good vibes, it seems.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino confirmed on Wednesday that England winger Andros Townsend had been banished from the first-team squad, following a bust-up with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner after the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Monday.
Despite that unease behind the scenes, Spurs striker Harry Kane said he and his teammates were in good spirits and desperate to take all three points at the Emirates.
“We made a good statement against Man City [in the 4-1 victory on September 26] and followed that up pretty well with wins so we face Arsenal on Sunday going for the win, and we’re full of confidence and know we can win,” Kane told the press ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Anderlecht.
“We’re playing very well, we’re exciting, we’re a young team and we’ve got a lot of energy, and the wins will just keep giving us that, but there’s still a long way to go so we’ve got to keep trying to learn and improve.
“Anderlecht is important for us so we’ve got to stay focused on that for now, but of course, everyone’s excited for the North London derby. It’s a game everyone looks forward to, both teams are playing well so it’ll be good to go and try and get a result.
“The aim is the top four but there’s still a long way to go. We’ve got to stay consistent throughout the whole season, we can’t just have a good start and fade away.”
Arsenal team news
Arsene Wenger will have to root around in his spare-parts drawer to put together a matchday squad for this one.
Laurent Koscielny was a late withdrawal from the Bayern clash with a minor hip injury, but recent reports suggest he is a good chance to pass fit for the derby.
Hector Bellerin’s groin injury means Mathieu Debuchy will most likely start again at right-back, despite a horrendous display in Munich during the week.
The other option would be Calum Chambers, who has struggled to find his feet since switching from Southampton a couple of years ago.
Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell earned a start at the Allianz Arena after scoring in the win at Swansea, and he will probably get another run with Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain all out.
Possible Arsenal XI: Cech; Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Nacho; Coquelin, Cazorla; Campbell, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud.
Tottenham team news
Andros Townsend’s banishment will have little effect on the first 11, as the England international is yet to make a Premier League start in 2015-16.
Indeed, there is half a chance he would have been left out of the matchday squad anyway to make room for Korean forward Son Heung-min, who is expected to return to action against Anderlecht on Thursday.
Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) and Clinton N’Jie (hamstring) are also pushing for selection, but the latest mail indicates that neither will be quite ready for Sunday.
Nacer Chadli is out until December with a foot injury, while Tom Carroll and Danny Rose are both nursing knocks.
Possible Spurs XI: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Alli, Dier; Son, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane.
– Tottenham to win ($5.25 at Bet365.com)
– Correct score 2-1 Spurs ($17 at Bet365)
– Scores level at half-time ($2.50 at Bet365)
On paper, this there is very little between these two fierce rivals.
Arsenal have bagged 16 goals in their last five games, while Tottenham have smashed home 14.
The Gunners lead the defensive stats with only eight goals conceded, but Spurs are just one worse in that department.
They’re also very tight on the head-to-head front, with four wins apiece from their last 10 meetings in the English Premier League.
However, Arsenal’s recent heavy defeats to Bayern and Wednesday in cup play make them seem more volatile right now – which is an odd thing, as that tag is typically reserved for Tottenham.
And given the relative parity of their form over the last two months, it’s hard not to be tempted by the long odds on the Lilywhites here.
They look that little bit tastier still when you consider that Spurs picked up four points on the Gunners last season, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 1-1 away.
Arsenal first goalscorer odds
Olivier Giroud ($5.20 at CrownBet)
The French striker has his haters, but you can’t deny his scoring form this season. Goals in his last three EPL appearances have taken his season tally to six, despite the fact he has started only six of Arsenal’s 11 games. He also netted the Gunners’ sole strike in Germany on Wednesday.
Joel Campbell ($8.60 at CrownBet)
He may only be getting a game because of Arsenal’s long injury list, but Campbell has hardly disgraced himself. The Costa Rica star found the back of the net on his full Premier League debut last weekend, and he’s paying very decent odds to bag the opener against Spurs.
Spurs first goalscorer betting
Harry Kane ($8 at Bet365)
It took him a while to get off the mark this season (not counting a laughable own goal against Swansea), but Kane’s hat-trick in the recent 5-1 win over Bournemouth showed that his 21 Premier League goals last season were no fluke. He’s the focal point for Spurs and should get a few opportunities.
Christian Eriksen ($12 at Bet365)
Tottenham’s Danish playmaker may not be the most prolific number 10 in the league, but he has that priceless knack of producing the spectacular when it really counts. He’s solid value for the first goal, and probably an even better bet to snatch a late winner.
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