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Arsenal v Tottenham: The View from the Emirates

Adebayor can cause the Gunners problems, according to Adrian
Adebayor can cause the Gunners problems, according to Adrian
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Arsenal and Tottenham have both been inconsistent this season and ex-Gunner Adrian Clarke thinks that may translate to the 90 minutes, with the game swinging either way, but he predicts that his side will eventually prevail...

"To be frank, Arsene Wenger’s side are a touch hit or miss at the moment but, as long as they match Tottenham’s intensity, they should have enough class to see the job through."

Arsenal v Tottenham
Saturday, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports 1

Bearing gifts in the big games became such a nasty habit for Arsenal last season, but the Gunners did at least show less charity in the north London derby.  

Tottenham huffed and they puffed, dominating large swathes of both Premier League contests, but rarely did they look like blowing Arsene Wenger's door down. In fact, in all competitions it's now more than five hours and counting since they breached their neighbour's defence. 

Following hot on the heels of an insipid display at home to West Brom last time out it would be easy to predict another Arsenal shut out.

Lethargic, devoid of tempo and ideas, it was Spurs' worst performance under new boss Mauricio Pochettino by quite some distance. A repeat at the Emirates will only end one way. 

Yet I wouldn't write them off on Saturday evening. 

With the brooding Argentine demanding a reaction, and a proactive tactical approach well suited to unsettling the men in red, I envisage a full-blooded contest that could swing either way. 

Tottenham's new boss wants his players to press with aggression, and that happens to be a ploy Arsenal's players detest facing more than any other. 

Happier with time and space to weave their pretty patterns, in-your-face harassment from rival sides isn't something they've always handled with great distinction. In a derby game like this they must expect Spurs to try and rattle them right from the word go. 

Can Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil fend off that close attention, and successfully impose their game on Tottenham instead? 

I think that's the question that holds the key to this derby's outcome. 

Losing the ball in bad areas would certainly leave the Gunners vulnerable to counter attacks (a constant thorn in their side) and with Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela all in decent form and talented enough to hurt them, the Gunners would be well advised to keep mistakes to a premium. 

Bearing in mind Arsenal have been slow starters this season (shipping five first half goals already) an early Spurs onslaught may bear fruit. 

It pains me to say it, but I quietly fancy ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor to grab the opener at around [7.0], even though he hasn't scored away from White Hart Lane since February. Like Lampard last weekend, the pessimist in me fears it's another story waiting to be written

However, as comebacks against Crystal Palace, Everton and Manchester City proved, it would be foolish to write off Arsenal. And, the longer this match goes on the more likely they'll be to score. 

Tottenham's back four and central midfield don't possess great speed or mobility, so as space opens up I wonder if the pace and movement of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez might be too hot for them to handle, especially if clever passes are threaded in behind for them to chase. 

It was obvious that whenever Liverpool passed and moved the ball quickly in their 3-0 win at Spurs their defence looked flat and leaden-footed - and last weekend it was noticeable how the busy front play of Saido Berahino was a constant thorn in their side too. 

Once the Gunners get a foothold in the match, I believe they have the tools to dismember the Tottenham back four. 

Back in 1987 when I was just a young pup, I remember George Graham's side famously fighting back from 1-0 down to win a League Cup semi-final 2-1 against their north London rivals. It's a scoreline that spawned a fanzine title, and a myriad of terrace songs. 

I'm eager not to jinx it but hand on heart that's the result I predict for Saturday evening - currently trading at [9.2] -  and a second half comeback (Tottenham/Arsenal in the HT/FT market) looks especially great value at [27.0]. 

To be frank, Arsene Wenger's side are a touch hit or miss at the moment but, as long as they match Tottenham's intensity, they should have enough class to see the job through. 

If they don't, my birthday weekend will be ruined. 

Recommended Bets
Back Emmanuel Adebayor to score first at [7.0]
Back Arsenal to win 2-1 at [9.2]
Back Tottenham/Arsenal in the HT/FT market at [27.0]

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You're read Adrian's thoughts, now check out the views from down the Seven Sisters Road in Spurs blogger Chris Miller's preview

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