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Tottenham Hotspur host North London rivals Arsenal

The North London derby is known to be one of the most intense fixtures in the footballing calendar for Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. This season, it holds extra significance for both clubs for various reasons. Spurs are keen to secure qualification for the Champions League, while Arsenal are aiming to clinch the Premier League title.

Spurs suffered a shocking 4-0 defeat to Newcastle at St. James’ Park in their last match and need to bounce back. With a 15-day break, they will try to turn things around in the table. However, Aston Villa is currently six points clear in fourth place, with Spurs having two games in hand. Tottenham’s recent form is concerning as they have won two, drawn two, and lost two of their last six Premier League matches.

Meanwhile, Arsenal prepare for the fixture after demolishing London rivals Chelsea 5-0 midweek. First half strike from Trossard, brace from Kai Havertz and Ben White sealed the deal at the top for the Gunners. A scintillating victory at home continued their resurrected form after defeats vs Bayern and Villa. Arsenal are currently 1 point clear of title favourites Manchester City at the top spot and would want to increase the lead to 4 again.

Also read: Chelsea Looking To Capitalize On Derby Win

The reverse fixture in September saw both clubs settle to a 2-2 draw. Goals from Bukayo Saka, an own goal from Romero and a brace from Son meant that the shares were evenly spread at the Emirates.

Arsenal, unbeaten against the Big Six away this season, will look to extend that streak at their rivals’ ground. A win would inch them closer to the title. Can Arteta capitalize on this away trip and silence the home crowd? Or will Postecoglou spoil Arsenal’s dream and boost Tottenham’s Champions League hopes?

When and Where?

Date: 28th April 2024, Sunday.
Time: 16:00 HRS BST
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Match Officials

Referee: Micheal Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burn, Dan Cook
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: Jared Gillet
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Team News

Tottenham will be without the likes of Manor Solomon, Fraser Foster, Ryan Sessegnon and most recently, Destiny Udogie who underwent surgery on his thigh.

Richarlison and Pedro Porro are still doubts but Tottenham are hopeful of their return vs their rivals.

For Arsenal, Jurrien Timber made a scoring return for the U-21s on Monday. Fans are eager for him to be involved against Spurs, but manager Arteta will decide after Saturday’s training. No other injuries are reported, suggesting Arsenal might stick with the lineup that beat Chelsea.

Pre-Match Tactical Analysis

Tottenham’s profligacy in front of goal is a concern, compounded by their inconsistent defensive structure, which leaves them vulnerable to a team like Arsenal. While their defenders and goalkeeper have performed decently overall, set pieces expose a clear weakness. Goalkeeper Vicario’s tendency to stay rooted to his line when balls are delivered into the box could be ruthlessly exploited by Arsenal, known for their set-piece prowess.

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For Arsenal, this fixture carries the weight of both the North London derby and their title ambitions. They’ll need their most consistent performers to step up and deliver on this grand stage.

Controlling the midfield against Bissouma, Sarr, and Maddison will be crucial, especially if Partey partners Rice again. Dominating the center allows them to exploit the flanks. With Tottenham likely to overload the central areas with their fullbacks potentially doubling up on Arsenal’s wingers, Ben White’s attacking forays might be limited as he prioritizes marking Son. Tomiyasu could be deployed to isolate and neutralize wingers in central areas, effectively shutting down Tottenham’s attacking threat.

Set pieces offer another avenue for Arsenal to exploit Vicario’s weakness. However, Arsenal have recently struggled against teams using a mid-block defense, a tactic Tottenham might employ. This could make it difficult for Arsenal’s midfield to control the ball, dictate the tempo, and showcase their creativity.

Momentum and mentality will be key factors. Arsenal’s recent good form gives them a confidence boost, but both teams need to manage nerves and pressure in such a high-stakes derby. Confidence and composure will be crucial for victory, and Arteta is known for instilling that belief in his players.

Key Players

Heung Min Son

Tottenham can rely on Son’s performances on any occasion and he’s an obvious threat to Arsenal’s defence. His finishing and threat in general can’t be taken for granted. Physically Arsenal can dominate any striker in the world but Son in particular is one such player who can exploit the spaces and make runs in the channels. A quickfire brace in the reverse fixture kept the match ticking for the men in white. Son’s trademark cutting inside and curling the ball from the LHS has haunted many teams in recent times, especially Arsenal. Can Son continue his purple patch against the Gunners and grab goals against their rivals?

Kai Havertz

Arsenal’s silent killer, leading the line has caused chaos for every defence he’s started the match as a striker. With 11 G/A from just 9 games starting as the CF, he can cause Van de Wen/Romero issues through his quick movements and dropping deep ability. His uncanny character, link-up play, holding of the width and 1/2’s to make spaces for his teammates and runs into the channel help him disrupt the oppositions flow. While he starts as a CF primarily, he drifts as a raumdeuter and even plays as a #10 voluntarily with Odegaard next to him.

Predicted Lineups

Tottenham predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Vicario, Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Emerson, Bissouma, Sarr, Madisson, Johnson, Richarlison, Son.

Arsenal predicted lineup vs Tottenham: Raya, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Saliba, White, Rice, Partey, Odegaard, Trossard, Havertz, Saka.

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