Arsenal v Tottenham: The view from White Hart Lane

Arteta has been a weak link for Arsenal this season
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Early season optimism at Tottenham has been replaced by a familiar dread after some laboured performances but Spurs blogger Chris Miller is expecting his team to be fired up for the derby and is predicting goals and cards...

"With both teams’ defensive frailties, the recent records in these matches, and the apparent form of Mesut Özil and Danny Welbeck, Over 2.5 Goals at [1.83] and Over 3.5 Goals at [3.0] both look tempting."

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

Arsenal approach the first north London derby of the season on the back of a disappointing home defeat to Southampton, while Tottenham produced a confidence boosting 20-minute spell to beat Nottingham Forest, both in the League Cup.

In the league, though, it's a different story. Last weekend Arsenal had a thumping 3-0 win at Villa Park, whereas Spurs were beaten at home by West Bromwich Albion. But, of course, the 'form book goes out of the window' in these matches.

Arsenal's team probably picks itself, although there might be a temptation for Arsene Wenger to select the returning Abou Diaby in place of Mikel Arteta as their holding midfield player, such has been the Spaniard's poor form so far this season.

The Spurs line-up is less predictable and will potentially feature some unknown quantities. New boys Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio are pushing for starts, particularly central midfielder Stambouli.

The Frenchman put in a tenacious display against Forest - his five tackles and two interceptions in just 65 minutes might tempt Mauricio Pochettino to use him in an attempt to stifle Arsenal's possession game.

Arsenal's personnel has changed somewhat over the last couple of years, but their style remains familiar. Their game plan is generally to control possession through intelligent use of the ball in midfield, before coming to life and creating overloads in wide areas, while attacking the opposite side of the box with diagonal off-the-ball runs from deep.

That said, Wenger was happy to concede possession to Spurs in this fixture last season, confident that they wouldn't be able to create much - it will be interesting to see which way he plays it on Saturday.

Pochettino's Tottenham have, so far, only managed to show glimpses of the high-intensity pressing and fast, direct passing that made his Southampton side so dangerous last season.

Against West Brom, the build-up play was laboured and drew groans from the crowd, while some of the defending was self-destructive. If Spurs are to get anything from this game, there will need to be significant improvements.

Arsenal had similar defensive problems recently against Borussia Dortmund, a team that has truly mastered their pressing game. The Gunners' midfield simply could not cope with the tempo and conceded chance after chance. 

In the last ten meetings between these two sides there have been 40 goals and, in seven of the ten matches, there have been three goals or more. Opta tell us that if there are four goals in this game then it will become the outright highest scoring fixture in Premier League history (it currently sits on 126 goals).

With both teams' defensive frailties, the recent records in these matches, and the apparent form of Mesut Özil and Danny Welbeck, Over 2.5 Goals at [1.83] and Over 3.5 Goals at [3.0] both look tempting, depending on how brave you want to be.

With pressing galore, the usual competitiveness of a north London derby, and plenty of pace on display - especially from the home side - the chances of a mistimed challenge or two is high. With that in mind, it is worth considering backing a sending off at [3.15].

Recommended Bets
Back Over 2.5 Goals at [1.83]
Back Over 3.5 Goals at [3.0]
Back 'yes' in Sending Off? market at [3.15]


You've read the Tottenham view - now check out the Arsenal preview from ex-Gunner Adrian Clarke

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