Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal

This entry was posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018

Divers against Strivers

A true treat for nostalgists this one, as footage galore of “Is Gascoigne going to have a crack – he is you know,” “schoolboy’s own stuff,” and “Lineker using him by not using him,” will drip from our televisions in the run-up to the first North London skirmish at Wembley, since the donkey won the derby back in 1993.

Big matches between these two were fairly scarce at that time. With English clubs banned from Europe, a scuffle for 4th was not what it is now, and the two never competed against each other for the title in that era. Yet these days we are accustomed to these matches being a true weathervane for how the season will go. Arsenal used to just pip Spurs in the derbies, and also pip them to 4th. But in recent years the Gunners have found it much harder, and thus last year of course, was the first season in years since they finished below their deadly rivals.

The weekend’s match could well hinge on how fast Arsene Wenger can get Aubamayang and Mikhatarian up to full speed, and how fast Dele Alli and Harry Kane can go down in the box. Yet at the heart, if Spurs were offered to come through with 5 points from their fixtures with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, one suspects they would be very pleased indeed, particularly with Liverpool stuttering and Chelsea downright imploding. Take the 1-1 at 13/2 with Paddy Power.

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