The North London derby is one of the best fixtures of the English league calendar. Both Arsenal and Tottenham seem to be trending in the correct direction, with the rivals having an excellent chance of returning to the Champions League this season. Fourth place is up for grabs and both teams have an excellent chance of finishing there. For Spurs, Antonio Conte has been an excellent appointment. The team are better organised under his management. Meanwhile, Arsenal have an array of excellent young players and there has been a sharp improvement under Mikel Arteta in the last few months. If the game does go ahead on Sunday, it will be a great game for the neutrals.
Tottenham were set for another middling season under Nuno Espirito Santo. The defeat to Manchester United now looks to be a blessing in disguise, as they managed to appoint Antonio Conte. The Italian is one of the best coaches in the world and Spurs will hope they can achieve great things under his leadership. The issue with Conte is that he is a short term manager. That increases the need for Spurs to finish in the top four and earn Champions League football in the 2022/23 campaign. If they are to achieve that feat, a win this weekend is important.
Mikel Arteta has faced his critics during his time in charge at the Emirates Stadium. However, he looks to be the right man to take the club forward. He has given a platform to the young talent in the squad and they are starting to develop as an excellent side. During the week, Granit Xhaka was sent off in the first half against Liverpool. In previous years, the Gunners would have collapsed to a heavy defeat. They worked hard, stayed in the game and escaped with a draw to take into the second leg. It was a sign of the mental improvement under the current coaching staff.
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven home matches against Arsenal.
Arsenal haven’t won both league fixtures against Tottenham since the 2013-14 season. A win on Sunday would end that run.
After the slowest start to a league season in his career, Harry Kane is starting building momentum and getting back to his best. In 14 Premier League matches against Arsenal, the England captain has scored 11 goals. They are one of his favourite opponents and he will be hoping to continue that excellent record this weekend. Kane now has four goals in the league this season. He won’t be pleased with that return and will expect a significant improvement during the second half of the season. A match winning performance in the North London derby would give him a lot of confidence. He does seem to enjoy playing under Conte and that has shown on the pitch. This weekend, he will be even more important than usual due to the absence of Son Heung-min. There will be pressure on Kane to carry the goal threat for the team. Arsenal have lots of absentees. The opportunity is there for Kane to play a starring role.
The young winger is starting to take the next step in his development, by carrying a much bigger threat in the final third. The 20-year-old had an excellent 2021, as he broke into the England team and emerged as one of the key players under Mikel Arteta. This season, he has contributed six goals and four assists in the league. It already represents his best season for goals and assists. The next individual aim will be to reach ten for both. If he achieves those numbers regularly, he will be considered one of the best players in the country. The potential is there and Arteta has his development on the right track. Tottenham have two very good attacking full-backs in Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon. However, neither are the most convincing as defenders. Saka has the pace, power and skill to cause problems down both flanks. Conte will be well aware of the threat that the young winger carries. In the earlier meeting this season, Saka got a goal and an assist. He will hope to play a similar starring role on Sunday.
Eric Dier has been ruled out of the North London derby with a knock. Sergio Reguilon is a doubt after missing out in recent weeks, while Son Heung-min has been ruled out by Antonio Conte. Cristian Romero is closing in on a return, but it is unclear whether he will be involved on Sunday.
Granit Xhaka will be suspended following his red card during the week. It is hoped that Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe will be passed fit after suffering separate knocks. Cedric Soares is a doubt after being withdrawn early in the week.
This is going to be an excellent game for the neutral. Tottenham have defensive absentees, while Arsenal are struggling for numbers in midfield. That should lead to an open game with both teams letting their attacking players play on the front foot. Spurs are the better coached team, but they have struggled against the better teams this season. Form goes out of the window in these matches. A score draw looks to be a good prediction, given the injuries both teams are dealing with.
Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal