Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick off: 5:30PM
One of the standout fixtures in the Premier League calendar will take place at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon as Arsenal welcome Tottenham Hotspur for the North London derby.
Arsenal are currently 10th in the table, having picked up just 38 points from 27 matches this season, while Tottenham occupy seventh, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand.
Arsenal will enter today’s contest off the back of a morale-boosting 3-1 win over Olympiacos in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie, which has placed them in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals.
The Gunners will more than likely have to win this season’s Europa League in order to be present in the 2021-22 Champions League as they currently sit down in 10th position in the table, 12 points off the top four.
Mikel Arteta’s side have won just 11 of their 27 league matches this season and suffered 11 defeats, which is just one fewer than Fulham in 18th and the same as struggling Brighton & Hove Albion.
The capital giants have had two recent impressive wins against Leeds United and Leicester City in England’s top flight, but they were held to a 1-1 draw by Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend, with a mistake from Granit Xhaka allowing Chris Wood to cancel out an early goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal are seven points behind seventh-placed Tottenham on the same number of matches, and it is incredibly difficult to imagine the Gunners finishing in a potential European spot, which as mentioned, places a lot of pressure on their current Europa League campaign.
Home form has been an issue this term, with Arteta’s side dropping points in eight of their 13 league matches at the Emirates Stadium, while they have not enjoyed their recent meetings with Tottenham, losing three of the last five fixtures between the two sides in all competitions.
Bukayo Saka has been a shining light for Arsenal this season but too many of the club’s experienced players have struggled for consistency, and it will be fascinating to see how much money is available for transfers this summer as investment is needed to make them a top-four challenger once again.
The London giants are entering a key run of matches, facing Olympiacos in the second leg of their last-16 Europa League tie next week before taking on West Ham United and Liverpool in back-to-back league matches, and they will be determined to halt Tottenham’s top-four challenge this afternoon.
Like Arsenal, Spurs will enter today’s North London derby off the back of a positive result in the Europa League, with Harry Kane scoring twice in a 2-0 home success over Dinamo Zagreb.
In all competitions, Tottenham have now won their last five matches, including their last three in the Premier League against Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace.
There was a lot of pressure on the team to pick up a strong result against Palace last weekend, and an excellent performance saw Kane and Gareth Bale both net braces in a 4-1 success.
After losing 2-1 to West Ham United on February 21, Jose Mourinho’s side looked out of contention for a top-four spot, but the club are now just five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand and will certainly believe that they are capable of claiming a Champions League position.
Kane and Son Heung-min have again enjoyed strong seasons for the club, while Bale appears to be finding form at the perfect time, with the Wales international scoring four times in his last three league appearances.
Spurs have the second leg of their last-16 Europa League clash away to Dinamo Zagreb next Thursday but are not back in league action until a trip to Aston Villa on March 21, which makes Sunday’s derby even more important as they look to stay in and around the European positions.
Mourinho’s side will also face Manchester City in the final of the EFL Cup at the end of April, and it could be a brilliant end to the campaign for the club, who have certainly had their problems this season.
As mentioned, Arsenal’s home form this term has been indifferent, but Tottenham have also found it difficult to show consistency on their travels, dropping points in seven of their 13 league fixtures away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Sunday’s clash with the Gunners should be a fascinating affair.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Mari, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Saka, Odegaard, Pepe, Aubameyang.
Tottenham Hotspur possible XI: Lloris, Doherty, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Bale, Lucas, Son, Kane.