Without yet truly performing with distinction, results are gradually improving for Tottenham, from a defeat Manchester United to start the campaign to three successive draws and now a trio of wins by fairly slender margins.
The main obstacle as they seek to build on that momentum against Arsenal is injuries to midfielders. Coping without Nabil Bentaleb alone might be possible, but if Ryan Mason and Mousa Dembele both miss out again too, it will present significant problems, regardless of Dele Alli’s impressive form.
Then again, the fact that Arsenal have as much middle-of-the-park angst heading into the first north London derby of 2015/16 as their hosts perhaps means that the two absentee lists will cancel one another out.
Santi Cazorla is suspended following the less controversial of the Gunners’ two sendings off against Chelsea, where Francis Coquelin exited injured, while Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky were already sidelined. Danny Welbeck isn’t fit either and Gabriel, as you may just have caught wind of, is banned.
As mentioned above, Tottenham haven’t enjoyed their most spectacular Premier League opening, but Arsenal haven’t been noticeably better. Though the Gunners are a point stronger, they have been shut out in half of their league games and beaten by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.
Spurs have only lost one Capital One Cup home tie in 90 minutes in the past 14 years and have won four from four in the competition under Mauricio Pochettino, scoring ten and conceding one.
Their neighbours by contrast fell at the first hurdle when entertaining Pochettino’s former side Southampton last term and have prevailed in regulation time just once in ten Capital One Cup away days.
Tottenham have triumphed in three of the latest four north London derbies at White Hart Lane and took four points from the double header in Pochettino’s debut season.
Both Teams to Score?
This fixture’s reputation as the derby that always delivers has diminished somewhat in the past two years, with over 2.5 goals being notched in a mere one of the last five editions compared to eight in nine prior to that and both clubs striking twice in five meetings, in contrast to eight in a row before.
As a result, [2.44] on “Both Teams to Score? No” looks like delicious value, especially when you factor in that it is a bet that has paid out in four of Tottenham’s initial six domestic encounters (including the last three) and six of Arsenal’s seven (including the most recent four).
If you aren’t concerned by the diminishing goalscoring returns in these clashes and want to back someone to net, Spurs newcomer Son Heung-Min states the most compelling case of anyone in either squad at [3.7], having played 147 minutes of football at White Hart Lane and fired three times.
Back Tottenham to win @ [3.1]
Back Both Teams to Score? No @ [2.44]
Back Son to score @ [3.7]