North London Derby preview – Arsenal v Spurs

The Emirates Stadium is all set for the latest North London Derby’s football writer Kieran Burke looks ahead to Sunday’s North London derby.

Having claimed an unlikely point against Manchester City at the Etihad a fortnight ago, not many would have foreseen a home defeat for Tottenham against Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United last week, but after an appalling display from start to finish by the Londoners, that’s exactly what happened as the “Toon” left the new White Hart Lane with a 1-0 win and all 3 points.

As a result, uncertainty and discontent around the Tottenham camp has been played up plenty in the media in the lead up to Sunday’s North London derby with the likes of Christian Eriksen continuing to be linked away from Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

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Under the Argentinian’s watch, Tottenham have been a model of consistency in recent years with their near neighbors Arsenal the club that has looked in turmoil thanks to boardroom struggles and the long running debate over Arsene Wenger’s future, which was followed by a slightly above average debut season for Unai Emery in the Emirates hot-seat last term. Who would have thought it would be the “Gunners” approaching Sunday’s game looking the more confident and settled side?

Unai Emery’s Arsenal have made a good start to the season


After a dull, yet effective, opening-day performance away to Newcastle (0-1) it was more of the same in gameweek 2 as the “Gunners” labored to a 2-1 home victory against Burnley. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was on the scoresheet in both of those wins and looks as if he will star once again for Emery’s men this season, although question marks over Arsenal’s ability in the big games were once again raised as they went down easily to Liverpool at Anfield last week (3-1).

Similar to their London rivals, Tottenham have stuttered along so far this campaign, coming from behind to defeat Aston Villa on the opening day before stealing a point against a City side that dominated possession and chances in the head-scratching 2-2 draw as VAR once again went in Spurs’ favor against the Citizens.

Harry Kane was non-existent in last Sunday’s Newcastle defeat and the lack of a back-up striker at the Lane has to be a concern for “Lilywhite” followers. Pochettino is thought to hold young Irish striker Troy Parrott in high esteem, but until we actually see Parrott get a run of games for Tottenham, be off the bench or from the start, then that is nothing more than idle talk. While Fernando Llorente struggled massively during his time at Tottenham, the decision to release the Spaniard from his contract without having an experienced replacement lined up surely must be questioned?

Will Troy Parrott soon get some game time with Spurs?


Arsenal lead the head-to-head stakes when it comes to Premier League NLD meetings with Tottenham with the “Gunners” winning 20 from 54, drawing 22. Spurs are 8 wins behind on 12 with just 2 of those coming in enemy territory away from home. In fact, Spurs have lost just two of their last 10 EPL matches against Arsenal (W3 D5) with both of those defeats coming in their last two league visits to the Emirates.

Arsenal won last season’s home tie 4-2 with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (2), Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira cancelling out Eric Dier and Harry Kane’s strikes as Tottenham surrendered a 2-0 lead. The other meeting between the sides last season ended in a dramatic 1-1 draw at the Lane as Hugo Lloris saved an added-time penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the hosts came back from a goal down to claim a point with Harry Kane and Aaron Ramsey the scorers.

For those of you who believe in stars aligning and superstitious rituals before kick-off, Arsenal are unbeaten in September north London derbies in all competitions since 1969, winning six and drawing four.

While for those of you who search for trends ahead of games like this, Five of the last 14 goals scored in EPL matches between these teams have been from the penalty spot.

Harry Kane has scored 9 goals in 9 games against Arsenal and is one goal away from becoming the joint-highest goalscorer in north London derbies in all competitions, where he would join Emmanuel Adebayor and Bobby Smith on 10 strikes.

Harry Kane is closing in on a North London Derby record


Arsenal should be able to call upon the services of Mesut Özil as the midfielder appears to be over illness although Rob Holding will certainly miss out as he continues to recover from a long-term injury.

Spurs will be without Juan Foyth (ankle), Tanguy Ndombele (thigh), Ryan Sessegnon and Kyle Walker-Peters (both hamstring), while Eric Dier (hip) is being assessed ahead of the NLD.


Spurs have shown a steel about them when it’s come to big games, particularly against a fragile Arsenal team in recent years but there’s a feeling ahead of Sunday’s game that the tables may have turned. Suddenly, it’s a fresh looking Arsenal who appear to be on the up (even if performances so far this season don’t exactly suggest that) while this Tottenham team, who have largely been together now for five seasons, perhaps have a feeling of staleness around them.

A trophy this season and another top 4 finish would go a long way to dispelling such notions, as would a derby win away from home against their old foes Arsenal.

Tottenham are yet to keep a clean sheet this season while, once again, there will be pre-match question marks over Pochettino’s selections, given the ongoing speculation linking the likes of Eriksen with moves away.

As a result, it’s hard to look past Arsenal with home advantage while over 2.5 goals is often a good shout in this explosive fixture, even if that outcome has only returned in 1 of the last 5 league meetings (3 of the 5 had two goals in the game).


Arsenal to win and over 2.5 goals scored in the game at 2/1 is the main selection in this week’s match preview.

He may be struggling at present yet Harry Kane was the hero on the opening day against Villa and is looking to join an elite club on 10 goals in this derby fixture. As a result, Kane to score anytime is too good to refuse at 11/10. 

Finally, with 2 of the last 5 league meetings ending 2-0 and another finishing 1-1, a 2-1 correct scoreline in favor of Arsenal may be a clever single bet at 8/1.

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