Entertainment Aplenty Expected at White Hart Lane

By on September 30, 2011

The final game of this weekend’s Premier League sees Tottenham host Arsenal in the North London Derby.

There has been a swing in momentum over the past three seasons between these two, with Arsenal winning just 1 of the last 6 league meetings between these two.

Last season saw Tottenham take 4 points from their biggest rivals in two exciting games that combined for 11 goals. Tottenham fought back from a 2-0 half time deficit at the Emirates last season to win 3-2 thanks to a late header from Younes Kaboul. Tottenham then came back from 1-3 at home to draw 3-3 in April.

Arsenal are coming off the back of a 2-1 Champions League victory over Olympiacos on Wednesday in which the majority of their starting lineup who played against Bolton last weekend played. Robin van Persie made a late cameo appearance in the final 20 minutes, but saved his energy ahead of this game. Gervinho didn’t feature, whilst Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny weren’t full fit.

Tottenham, 3-1 winners over Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League on Thursday. The energetic Kyle Walker was the only player to start both the weekend’s 2-1 victory at Wolves and their home Europa League tie. He played the full game on each occasion.

That leaves the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor all rested and fresh ahead of this weekend’s game. Arsenal will be playing several players who have played twice already this week with a few first team players already missing through injury.

Whether you’re a believer in the fatigue factor or not, it certainly took a hit on most team’s performances after the opening round of European games, with Arsenal losing 4-3 at Blackburn, Stoke City losing 4-0 at Sunderland and Birmingham City losing 4-1 at Southampton springing to mind.

Tottenham, not just on the recent head-to-head, but with their recent results in the Premier League, come into this match with momentum on their side. They have won 3 Premier League games on the trot since starting the season with the two Manchester sides who top the table. A 2-0 victory at Wolves was followed up with the 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool before last weekend’s less than empathic 2-1 victory at Wigan.

Arsenal have picked up 6 points from their last 3 games, through home victories over Swansea City and Bolton Wanderers; two sides in the bottom 5. In between those games, they lost 4-3 at Blackburn after twice being ahead. Arsenal have lost their last two Premier League away games so far this season with an aggregate score of 12-5 since drawing 0-0 at Newcastle on the opening day. Defence? What defence?

This Tottenham side match up very well on paper against Arsenal these days. And this North London side head into the weekend as favourites to finish 4th in the Premier League this season.

Emmanuel Adebayor has made a quickfire start to his Tottenham campaign. 3 goals in his opening 3 games, and an assist for Rafael van der Vaart’s opening goal last weekend. Despite claiming it was an “accident” to celebrate against Arsenal in the manor he did as a Manchester City player two years ago, I cannot help but think he is going to be determined to score this weekend. Rafael van der Vaart himself scored in both fixtures last season.

Gareth Bale opened his account for the season last weekend and played well against Arsenal last season; notably scoring Tottenham’s first at the Emirates after a layoff from the aforementioned Dutch playmaker.

Can Arsenal cope with Spurs’ midfield threat? Bacary Sagna’s quick but there’ll be chances no doubt for Bale to catch the French full back out of position down the left wing.

Both Alex Song and Emmanuel Frimpong don’t hold their positions well which will leave both Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric to drift into space around the Arsenal box and certainly on their side of the pitch. Both of these players are great playmakers and coming against Song and Frimpong could be a heavy mismatch for Arsene Wenger’s side. The 14-year Arsenal manager may consider shoving Tomas Rosicky in there as well to help out.

Tottenham have conceded just 1 goal in their three league matches since signing Scott Parker. He has added good strength to a defensive midfield area that was weak last season and torn apart by both Manchester United and City in the opening two weekends. Sandro returned last weekend and played all but a full game versus Wigan. The Brazilian midfielder is good at breaking the opposition play up whilst also offers an option going forward, albeit to Harry Redknapp’s displeasure. Sandro should have some more freedom this season if he lines up with Scott Parker.

They will be looking to prevent Mikel Arteta who is the playmaker at Arsenal these days. The Spaniard has made a good start to his Arsenal career. His 2 goals but him only behind Robin van Persie. Another creator in the Arsenal midfield if Wales captain Aaron Ramsey who has 3 assists on the season; all coming in his last two games.

Robin van Persie scored a brace last weekend and didn’t make any effort to tire himself out in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch midweek. Always up for these games, will be looking to receive the ball in the good positions he gets in, from the likes of Arteta, to add to his 3 goals so far this season.

Thomas Vermaelen and Jack Wilshere are already ruled out. Laurent Koscielny, Theo Walcott and Gervinho are all doubts although expected to play. Tottenham don’t have such injury concerns; only Michael Dawson, William Gallas, Niko Kranjcar and Tom Huddlestone are ruled out. The latter two aren’t first team regulars, whilst I still don’t rate Dawson.

Tottenham are an attractive price, currently at 2.2 with Betfair. Other odds worth considering are as follows:

  • Both teams to score: 1.58
  • Over 2.5 goals 1.71
  • Over 3.5 goals 2.76
  • Correct score: Any unquoted (either side to score 4 or more) 8.0

Written by Premiership Tips

 

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