Nobody would have predicted that the first North London Derby in Tottenham’s new stadium would be in front of zero fans when the fixtures were first released over a year ago. The lack of atmosphere for a game that often thrives on it will be tangible, but will at least remind us of how important spectators are to the sport.
The flat atmosphere in the stadium can be currently rivalled by that in the Spurs camp. A limp 0-0 draw at relegation threatened Bournemouth saw Jose Mourinho’s men register no shots on target. The mood amongst the fans seems to be turning on the Portuguese after this result and a 3-1 humbling at Sheffield United just a week earlier.
Take the four mile walk across North London to the Emirates Stadium and you find the opposite. Mikel Arteta has got the fans believing again and whilst some of the same problems reared their head in the 1-1 draw with Leicester, the Gunners do seem like a side going in the right direction.
However, as with any derby, form and stats go out the window. What colour will North London be on Sunday evening? Time will tell.
North London Derby Betting Preview
If there is one man to decide this game, it’s Harry Kane. The Tottenham striker is the joint-top goal scorer in the North London Derby, an effort he shares with Bobby Smith and Emmanuel Adebayor. Can he add to his tally of 10 goals? Kane to score any time is at odds of 2.30.
Arsenal’s recent form is better than Tottenham’s. They have four wins and a draw in their last five matches. Spurs meanwhile have two wins, two draws and two losses in their last six, highlighting their inconsistencies. Double Chance Arsenal (X2) has odds of 1.40.
Both teams found the net in the previous two meetings and with defensive vulnerabilities in both sides, this could be on the cards again. With world class strikers such as Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the pitch, Both Teams to Score looks a likely winner at odds of 1.60.
Mourinho will have to make do without one of his favourites. Eric Dier serves the second of a four-game ban after he was finally slapped by the FA for climbing into the stands and confronting a fan earlier in the campaign. Juan Foyth and Japhet Tangana miss out through injury.
Eddie Nketiah is suspended for Arsenal after his controversial red card against Leicester last time out. That should see Alexandre Lacazette start in the number 9 position, although record signing Nicholas Pepe may come back into the starting 11.
Tottenham – Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Lamela, Lucas, Son; Kane
Arsenal – Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellering, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang