This weekend’s game pits us against our biggest rivals, Arsenal.
For many Spurs fans, this is the first fixture they look to when the Premier League schedule is published. As is often the case, it will be a game with big ramifications.
The key points this time around are:
* When Spurs finished above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years last season, many Arsenal supporters dismissed the achievement as a one-off thing. With only 12 games to go, a victory on Saturday could create a 7-point gap which will be hard to overcome for Arsenal. Not only would it virtually eliminate Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top 4, it would confirm a true changing of the guard in North London.
* On current form, Spurs have the advantage. In the last 6 games, we are unbeaten (including a win against top 6 rival Manchester United and a draw at Anfield) and carrying momentum. Arsenal, on the other hand, may have eliminated Chelsea from the League Cup in their last 6 games, but they have also lost twice, to Swansea and Bournemouth.
* Head to head, in the last 10 games, Spurs have won 2, Arsenal have won 4, and the teams have drawn 4. While we lost at the Emirates this season, our 2 victories have come in the league, at home, in the last 2 seasons. Winning at Wembley would make it 3 home wins in a row.
* On the pitch, there will be many subplots. Harry Kane has said in the press recently that he still plays with a chip on his shoulder from being released by Arsenal. Arsenal will be looking to make a statement after revamping their squad in the January transfer window. Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud are gone, and Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang are in. With players of undoubted talent have joined Arsenal they have not only lost key players but also failed to address glaring weaknesses in their back four.
* All in all, as long as Spurs can avoid costly mistakes (of which we were guilty again for Liverpool’s opening goal) and can keep Arsenal’s attacking talent quiet, there will be many holes to exploit in Arsenal’s defence. While Spurs can count on a fully-fit squad, there are serious doubts for Arsenal over the availability of Petr Cech, Danny Welbeck and Nacho Monreal. Santi Cazorla remains a long-term absentee.
My prediction: Spurs 2 Arsenal 1.
What are your thoughts and predictions?