Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur: Poch to Heap More Pain on Wenger in North London Derby?

arsenal-spurs-logo-previewAfter what seems yet another International football inconvenience, the Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime with a juicy North London derby as Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium – 12:30pm kick off.

The Gunners are licking their wounds following a 3-1 defeat against league pacesetters Manchester City before the international break, while Tottenham maintained their pressure on the top two with a laboured 1-0 home win versus Crystal Palace.

This game carries obvious importance to both teams, firstly being a local derby and bragging rights for both sets of supporters. The significance is perhaps more so for Arsenal, who cannot give up further ground on their rivals in the early race for Champions League qualification and beyond. It also offers the chance for Spurs to cement their still arguable position of being the top team in North London with a victory over their previously dominant rivals.

Match Odds

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Mauricio Pochettino

The bookmakers obviously believe that home advantage is key in this betting market as Arsenal are the favourites to take the three points. The Gunners can be backed with Marathon Bet at the best industry price, at the time of writing of 153/100. An away Spurs win is not too far behind at 2/1 with Betfred and 188Bet, while an Emirates stalemate can be taken with MarathonBet once again at 39/20.

It is over four years since Arsenal beat their local rivals in the Premier League on home turf, with a solitary Olivier Giroud goal. The three meetings since have all ended in 1-1 draws. Being the home side, Arsenal must take the game to Tottenham, but Spurs, under Mauricio Pochettino are a very savvy team, who will take advantage of any weakness from the home side.

Another North London derby draw may not be the best result for either team here, but my feeling is that Arsenal dare not lose the game, but could struggle to score goals against an efficient Spurs team, which makes the draw into a likely outcome.

Individual Goal Scorers

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Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Following his recent rest over the International break, Tottenham striker, Harry Kane is likely to be primed for a big performance against the Gunners this weekend. The bookmakers also believe in the England striker, as Kane is the market leader to be the First Goalscorer at the current best odds of 7/2 with Unibet. Kane has found the net on his last two trips across North London, and the offer of 21/20 for the Spurs man to score at any time with Ladbrokes and Coral will be of obvious interest.

There was discontent amongst a certain quota of Arsenal supporters for Arsene Wenger’s decision to omit French striker, Alexandre Lacazette from the starting line-up against Manchester City. The former Lyon man came off the bench to score inside ten minutes against the Sky Blues, and is a likely starter against Spurs. Lacazette is a widely available 9/2 shot to open the scoring on Saturday lunchtime, but the 6/4 on offer from Paddy Power for the £50m striker to score at any time is the bet for my eye.

Some other potential opening scorers worthy of interest are Christian Eriksen – fresh from his midweek hat-trick against the Republic of Ireland – at 21/2 with 888Sport and Unibet, while Aaron Ramsey is always capable of finding the net, and is worthy of consideration at the top price of 11/1 with Bet365 and Sport Pesa.

Other Side Bets

The odds for Both Teams to Score in this contest of 5/9 with Sun Bets and 10Bet are rather prohibitive, even if it is a likely outcome. My view is that this game is likely to be a tight affair – especially considering it is an early kick-off, and both teams could take time to find their feet following the international sabbatical.

It is perhaps a very obvious choice, but another 1-1 draw could prove profitable for this fixture. 10Bet is the place to go, as they offer 29/4 for that scoreline, in a fixture that the Gunners dare not lose, and perhaps Spurs may not have the necessary tools to win on the day.

Best Bets