The midweek action in the Premier League concludes on Thursday evening when the race for the top four is very much in the spotlight on an evening when London will come to a standstill as Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal.
This could be a pivotal evening not just for these two teams but also for Chelsea who will also be confirmed as playing Champions League football next season should Tottenham fail to win this match. The stakes are high for the two sides involved so this should be one of the more competitive North London derbies of recent times.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League channels with the build-up in the capital beginning at 7pm ahead of the kick off which comes at 7.45pm.
This has been a strange season for Tottenham Hotspur. It began under the leadership of Nuno Espirito Santo but it was clear from an early stage that they were going nowhere under him. Slowly but surely under Antonio Conte they have looked the sort of side you would expect Tottenham to be but every time they seem to be in position to strike and stake their claim as the frontrunners for the top four they stumble when they shouldn’t. They now know there is no room to lose from here.
One concern could be that five teams have come away from Tottenham this season with all three points. Even a draw isn’t really enough for the home side here so they are going to need to hold their nerve and make sure they stay tight at the back. You would imagine Spurs will have enough in the forward areas but there have been times this season when they have let themselves down defensively. That can’t happen here.
The Gunners have been in and around the top four all season and now they head to their rivals knowing that if they come away with a victory they will be back in the Champions League next term. I would imagine when you look at the age of their squad that would probably come a year ahead of schedule and that highlights the achievements of the campaign so far. I don’t actually think Arsenal are the fourth best team in the league but they have taken advantage of no European football and delivered when they have needed to.
They still need to offer more consistency against the better teams in the league in order for them to truly be taken seriously but they have the chance to show the world the progress they are making in that department here. One thing nobody can have any issues with is their recent form which sees them making the short trip off the back of four straight victories. Two of those have been at Chelsea and West Ham which could be significant, although you could argue they got both teams at the right time.
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Sergio Reguilon, Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp and Matt Doherty are all on the sidelines so Antonio Conte could name the same starting XI that he went with at Anfield last time out. Lucas Moura will be hoping to start though.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that he will be giving fitness tests to both Bukayo Saka and Ben White before he names his team for this match. Two men who won’t be on the teamsheet are Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney as both are out injured.
I’m never one to shy away from taking over 2.5 goals in Tottenham home matches and I’m not going to change that here. I think this one is perfectly setup for goals because Tottenham have to score them because they have to win the game. Arsenal don’t need to because a draw is fine for them but I don’t see them keeping this powerful Spurs attack quiet for 90 minutes. Even a Leeds side which had 10 men and had all but given up scored against them on Sunday.
There is a chance that if Tottenham get on a roll they could cover this line by themselves. If we take out the poor showing against Brighton recently, either side of that they have scored five at home against Newcastle and Everton as well as three against West Ham and Leicester and if you look back through the season Arsenal have had terrible performances at Crystal Palace and Brentford where they conceded three times and twice. I don’t think Arsenal get anything from this match without scoring and I suspect both teams will find the net but a winner will come somewhere. I like over 2.5 goals here.
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