Tottenham impress at Anfield
Tottenham picked up a precious point on Saturday as Spurs became the first side to stop Liverpool from winning at Anfield in the Premier League since October 2021. The Reds had won 12 successive home league games coming into the clash but the quadruple-chasing hosts were left frustrated by an excellent display coordinated by Antonio Conte.
Tottenham defended brilliantly and bravely on Merseyside - surviving an early Anfield onslaught - but were also prepared to threaten on the counter-attack too. Son Heung-min's goal was perfectly created by Harry Kane and Ryan Sessegnon, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg wasted a clear opportunity to win the showdown in the final seconds for Spurs.
Conte was understandably pleased with the performance, saying: "It was a good draw, a good point. At the end we had an important chance to get a goal and win the game. It is not easy to play against Liverpool, especially at Anfield. But we prepared very well, defended very well and didn't concede chances. Now we try to rest and recover for Thursday."
Arsenal ease past Leeds
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised his players after the Gunners took a huge step towards securing Champions League football next season by securing a fourth successive triumph when overcoming ill-disciplined Leeds 2-1 at The Emirates on Sunday. Eddie Nketiah struck twice within the opening 10 minutes to put the hosts completely in control of proceedings.
Nketiah pounced on Ilhan Meslier's loose touch to open the scoring and then finished a swift move to double the Gunners' lead before Luke Ayling's rash challenge left Leeds a man down for more than an hour. The visitors did not have an effort on goal until Diego Llorente headed home in the 66th minute but Arsenal never looked like losing their lead.
The Gunners now hold a four-point lead over Tottenham and can confirm a top-four finish by beating Spurs on Thursday. Looking ahead to the contest, Arteta said: "We know that and we have earned the right to play that game in that context. We had a difficult start but now we have a great opportunity. We are going to prepare for the game as best we can."
Tottenham have enjoyed recent home encounters with Arsenal, posting W5-D2-L0 in their last seven home showdowns against the Gunners, the club's best such streak since 1968. Spurs are also looking to win three consecutive home league games against Arsenal for the first time since 1961, but were beaten 3-1 in the reverse meeting back in September.
Tottenham 2.206/5 have earned the fourth-most points since Antonio Conte was appointed in early November (W14-D5-L6) with only Manchester City (69) and Liverpool (58) scoring more Premier League goals in that sample than Spurs (51). The hosts have won eight of their 12 home dates under the Italian and have excelled against the league's elite opposition.
Arsenal 3.55 recovered superbly following a disastrous August. The Gunners boast a W20-D3-L6 return against sides outside of the top-four but have still shown a degree of fragility on their travels; Mikel Arteta's troops have been turned over in seven of 17 away days and have shipped multiple goals on eight occasions in games as Premier League guests.
The goal expectancy for Thursday night's shootout has been set at 2.85 with the market favouring the Over 2.5 Goals option at 1.875/6. A hefty 17 of the last 21 North London derby dust-ups in the Premier League have produced profitable Both Teams To Score 1.738/11 selections with 13 of those fixtures going on to feature a minimum of three strikes.
Neither Tottenham nor Arsenal have proven to be the most consistent side to support goal-heavy games when viewing their respective home/away records, although the magnitude of the match and the state of play could have a major bearing on how this contest plays out, so I'm happy to leave the goal markets and invest my focus elsewhere...
Instead, the 1.9210/11 on Tottenham 0 & -0.5 Asian Handicap appeals.
We'll be paid out should Spurs take top honours, whilst only losing half of our stake if the match ends all-square. Antonio Conte's charges have improved in both boxes, and the hosts supreme firepower could prove pivotal against an Arsenal side that's unlikely to be proactive on Thursday.