Tottenham vs. Arsenal: Bank on Kane to find the back of the net
Familiar foes will face off in northeast London on Sunday, when Arsenal visit Tottenham for the 191st edition of the North London Derby.
Sun, January 16 2022, 4:30 PM
Tottenham has been a new team under Conte
Despite being knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday by fellow London rival Chelsea, Antonio Conte has turned fortunes around at Spurs. Unbeaten in his eight Premier League matches in charge, they have kept five clean sheets, and Harry Kane has rediscovered his scoring touch, with goals in three of his last four league outings.
Kane loves nothing more than playing against Arsenal, a club he has found the scoresheet against in 11 of his 16 matches in all competitions. However, he has failed to do so in the last two outings, including a 3-1 defeat in late September at the Emirates.
A large part of Tottenham’s attack will be absent on Sunday, with Son Heung-min dealing with a muscle injury in his leg and expecting to be out until February. His eight goals and three assists are both club-leading totals, but the emergence of Lucas Moira under Conte gives them another playmaking creator in attack.
Tottenham will also be without defenders Christian Romero and Sergio Reguilon, and winger Steven Bergwijn due to injury. However, Eric Dier is expected to return after missing the past few matches with an injury, giving them a boost in defense.
A win for Tottenham would see them jump Arsenal in the table and move into fifth spot, with three matches in hand after this weekend. It could potentially put them just one point off West Ham United in fourth place as well. That said, it would require Conte to secure just his second victory against Arsenal in nine attempts in his storied career.
Arsenal dealing with selection crisis
The Africa Cup of Nations came at a rough time for the Gunners. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, and Mohamed Elneny all left the club to represent their nations in the tournament, leaving Mikel Arteta with a real selection problem in midfield.
Granit Xhaka was expected to help solidify that central role, but Thursday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool changed all that. In the 30th minute, Xhaka picked up a straight red card for a dangerous challenge, and will serve the three-match ban that accompanies it beginning with the Tottenham fixture.
The draw saw Liverpool knock Arsenal out of the Carabao Cup on aggregate, but Arsenal suffered numerous losses in personnel before the final whistle. Cedric Soares was taken off injured after less than 20 minutes, and Bukayo Saka limped off in the 81st minute as well. To make matters worse, attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard tested positive for COVID-19 before Thursday’s match.
Arteta said after the match he expects Saka to be back soon, but his loss is another crippling blow to the club. He has scored four goals and assisted two others in his last five matches for an attack that has struggled of late. They registered just one shot on goal in three attempts against Liverpool, albeit a man down, following an FA Cup upset defeat to Nottingham Forest where they failed to register a single effort on goal.
There is a possibility the match gets postponed, per Arteta on Thursday evening. He stated that Arsenal now have just 12 outfield players available, which is one fewer than what the league requires for clubs to have to play a match. However, he hopes they are able to play Sunday as they seek their first league double over their rivals in nine years.
Tottenham vs. Arsenal Betting Trends
- Tottenham has scored multiple goals in their last five home Premier League matches
- Tottenham have won five of their last six home matches against Arsenal
- Seven of Tottenham’s last eight home matches have seen three or more goal scored
- Arsenal have seen three or more goals scored in their last five away Premier League matches
- Four of the last five meetings have seen at least three goals, with both teams scoring in four
- There has not been a draw in the last four meetings
Arsenal simply lacks means to win
If both teams were at full strength, this would be a great match. Conte and Arteta would likely produce a cagey chess match, filled with emotion and counter-attacking play. However, Arsenal has far too many holes to stop-gap in this matchup. No matter who starts in the central midfield, Spurs will have superior talent and will likely dominate the center of the pitch. Moira will be able to pick up some of the attacking slack from Son’s absence, and should have plenty of opportunities to create.
When you combine that with Arsenal’s lack of firepower, it is a scary situation for the Gunners. Attack too much and risk getting hit on the break, but sitting back presents its own issues with a Tottenham defense that has been solid of late. You also then give Kane and Moira the chance to link up between the lines, with the talismanic striker relishing any chance he has to play his cross-town rivals.
With just one shot on goal in their last two matches, I don’t see Arsenal being the side to crack Tottenham’s defense where others have failed of late. Look for Spurs to take home the victory, and if you feel bold grab them to win to nil. For a Same Game Combo play, bank on Kane to lead them to victory with and find the back of the net for the fourth time in his last five league outings.
Score prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal