Tottenham, Arsenal in season-defining North London derby

A potentially season-defining North London derby for both clubs takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday night, as Spurs face off against bitter rivals Arsenal.

The Gunners start the day one place and four points better off than their opponents, whose Champions League dreams will be shattered with defeat on their own turf and if Chelsea get the better of Leeds United.

Much to the amusement of Arsenal fans and the chagrin of Tottenham, the Gunners’ depleted squad through injuries, the Africa Cup of Nations and COVID-19 led to the postponement of the originally scheduled North London derby on Spurs’ turf, and the Lilywhites certainly made their feelings known on the matter.

Arteta, Arsenal manager

However, Antonio Conte‘s side arguably prepare to welcome the Gunners in a better position than they were four months ago.

While dissatisfactory results in April have harmed their top-four charge, Tottenham got right back on track by beating Leicester City before managing to end Liverpool’s 12-game Premier League winning run at Anfield.

Conte may be slightly concerned at the fact that his side have only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last seven Premier League matches at home – shipping one goal in each of their last four – and the Italian does not have too many fond memories of meetings with Arsenal, posting just one win from eight against the Gunners as a manager.

Securing Champions League football at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium does not have quite the same ring to it as winning the league at White Hart Lane, but such an achievement would mark a momentous period of progress for Mikel Arteta‘s Arsenal, and they are only 90 minutes away from doing so.

Results matter much more than performances do at this stage of the season, but Arsenal rode their luck against Man United, West Ham and the 10 men of Leeds for long periods, and that streak of fortune may run out in a fixture that has traditionally been unkind to them.

Arteta’s side have not developed a ruthless streak to kill games off, whereas Tottenham will be buoyed by their stellar showing against Liverpool and should expose the Gunners’ recent defensive lapses to keep the race for the top four alive that little bit longer.



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