Tottenham vs. Arsenal
Venue: Tottenham Stadium
Kick off: 4:30PM
Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal meet in a unique North London derby today’s afternoon with the sides separated by one point and one place in the Premier League.
The famous fixture will be staged behind closed doors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Arsenal enter the fixture in better form than their local rivals and are a point better off in the final Europa League qualifying spot.
Far sooner than many had predicted, Tottenham supporters already appear to be losing faith in head coach Jose Mourinho following a poor set of results.
Spurs have won back-to-back home matches, against West Ham United and Everton, but those are their only two victories in 11 matches stretching back to mid-February.
Losing 3-1 to Sheffield United last week was a tough one to take given the VAR furore surrounding the match, but the stalemate with Bournemouth could well prove Mourinho’s nadir.
Against a side horribly out of form and fresh on the back of shipping five to Manchester United, Tottenham failed to register a single attempt on target.
Not only have the results been disappointing, with Spurs exiting two cup competitions in the space of a week before the lockdown, the performances have arguably been even worse.
Matters boiled over on the field earlier this week, too, with Son Heung-min and Hugo Lloris squaring up just before half time in the slender win over Everton.
Jose Mourinho possesses an array of attacking talent, not least prolific striker Harry Kane, but getting the most out of those players is proving very tough.
One positive for Mourinho has been an increase in clean sheets – three in their last four games – and he has called on his side to find a balance between attack and defence.
That is the only way Tottenham are going to keep their Premier League season alive, with a top-five finish now out of the question and the Europa League the best they can aim for.
Bitter rivals Arsenal are in a similar position, having been made to pay the price for a slow start to action last month when losing their first two games back.
In truth, the Gunners’ problems go a lot further back than that, but it was after the 2-1 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion that Mikel Arteta seemed to realise the size of the task that he has inherited.
The Spaniard has gained a reputation for being a good tactician and Arsenal have certainly showed real signs of recovery in the three weeks since that loss on the South Coast.
In fact, Arsenal had won three games in a row without conceding before being pegged back in a late 1-1 draw with Leicester City in their most recent outing.
Their upturn in form has seen them climb above Tottenham into eighth, which will be enough for a European spot assuming Manchester City’s continental ban is upheld by CAS.
Not since October 2018 have Arsenal won three away league games in a row, however, while Tottenham are seeking three successive home league wins for the first time in 15 months.
With more than just bragging rights on the line this weekend, both teams will be desperate to prolong those respective runs.
Tottenham possible XI: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Lo Celso, Lucas, Kane, Son.
Arsenal possible XI: Martinez, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney, Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang.