Arsenal and Tottenham have performed below expectations this season so will both be looking for a morale boosting victory when they meet at the Emirates on Saturday (12:45 GMT, live on Sky Sports) for the North London derby.
The two clubs are separated by just one place in the Premier League table with 8th place Arsenal just one point behind Spurs in 7th. Both are already well shy of the top three and look likely to be involved in a season long scrap with Everton to secure the final Champions League spot.
Arsenal supporters are dissatisfied with what already looks likely to be another season without a genuine title challenge. The Gunners have dropped far too many points and were outclassed in defeats to Chelsea and Manchester United.
Their problems initially stemmed from their inability to score with any regularity. They were held to 0-0 draws in each of their opening two fixtures of the season and failed to score more than once in five of the next eight matches. The departure of Robin Van Persie to United was keenly felt, with new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud struggling to find their feet.
Giroud has now started to perform, scoring twice in Arsenal’s 3-3 draw at home to Fulham last weekend. He also scored against Schalke in the Champions League the Tuesday previous. Both of his goals against Fulham were from headers, but he hit the post with a low effort from inside the area and forced a good save with a powerful long range strike late on. He also impressed with his strong hold-up play.
Podolski, though, has done little to justify his price tag, going missing for large chunks of matches and rarely appearing alert to opportunities to get in behind opposition defences. It is an all too regular sight to see Santi Carzorla – another of Arsenal’s summer recruits – turn away from a challenge, look left and see nothing but a stationary figure ill-suited to receiving an incisive pass.
At least in the early weeks of the season Arsenal could count on a strong defence that conceded just twice in their opening five matches, but in recent weeks they have looked decidedly less solid. Schalke scored twice in each of their two recent encounters with the Gunners, United scored twice but really should have added at least a couple more and then Fulham scored three times in a thrilling draw last weekend.
Arsenal look very vulnerable at set-pieces, but also, and of more relevance to Saturday’s fixture, to teams that attack with pace. Spurs possess two of the Premier League’s most traditional wingers in Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, which should give their coach Andre Villas Boas hope ahead of an encounter that he can ill-afford to lose with dissenting voices multiplying among the club’s support.
Spurs were unable to get either of those players into the game in their 2-1 defeat away to Manchester City last weekend. It was a limp performance that laid bare their lack of quality distributors now that Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart have departed. Bale and Lennon often make the same runs in behind the full-backs as last season, but are less often spotted and even less often found with the precision Modric and Van der Vaart provided.
Late August signing Moussa Dembele showed great promise in the four matches he started – all wins – before picking up a hip injury. He did not offer exactly the same qualities as those two but he committed players with his forceful running from deep, opening up space for others to utilise. Dembele will again miss out on Saturday, leaving Spurs weakened in the centre of the park.
Spurs can take some solace from the performance of their former striker Dimitar Berbatov for Fulham last weekend. The Arsenal defence really struggled to deal with his movement, Berbatov at times happy to come deep to receive the ball, but also looking to profit from the space that opened up between the Arsenal’s makeshift left-back Thomas Vermaelen and the left central defender Laurent Koscielny.
Emmanuel Adebayor has the ability to work in a similar fashion and will be hopeful of getting the nod for a starting berth against another one of his former clubs. He was one of the few Spurs players to come out with credit from the defeat to Manchester City. With the touchline-hugging Lennon likely to pull Vermaelen even wider than against Fulham, there will almost certainly be space for Adebayor to exploit if he is clever with his movement.
Arsenal v Spurs Betting Tips Conclusion
Neither of these teams are in particularly good form and both have deficiencies that the other will look to exploit. Although both will be desperate to secure three points that would briefly silence unsatisfied supporters, we believe a high scoring draw is the most likely outcome.
- Back the draw @ best odds of 54/19 with Pinnacle.
- Arsenal home matches have averaged 3.4 goals so far this season, while away matches involving Spurs have averaged 3.6. Three of the last four encounters between them have ended with four or more goals and we therefore suggest backing over 3.5 goals @ 13/8 with Bet365 or Coral.