Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal Preview: Best or Worst North London Derby Yet?

It is Super Sunday today, which means a bountiful bevy of Premier League football coming to our screens, courtesy of Sky Sports, and the main attraction today? It has to be the North London Derby, hitting our screens at 4:30 PM GMT, but is this the least-anticipated or most-anticipated North London Derby of recent times?

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur sit in 8th and 10th respectively in the Premier League, probably the furthest down that both have been for a long time. If you look at the following table, both haven’t finished so low down in the Premier League since 1995, because since then at least one of them has pretty much been in the Champions League places or the top 4:

Chart of relative year end table positions of Arsenal F.C. and Tottenham Hotspur F.C. in the English football league system
Image Credit: Richard Rundle (link)

The Europa League Aspect

Sure, these are not the places that both teams would like to be in at this point, both having sacked their managers over the course of this season. But one reason why it could still be hotly contested is due to the fact that European football is still at stake, albeit the second-tier competition. If one team were to lose this match, then it would be seriously detrimental to their hopes of staying in the Europa League places, and perhaps even the top half of the table.

If you compare their remaining Premier League matches below, you can tell why there will still be something of significance to be played for. Arsenal arguably have the better run in, with two teams in the bottom four and a Liverpool side that has nothing really left to play for:

Image of Arsenal's remaining Premier League fixtures

Image of Tottenham Hotspur's remaining Premier League fixtures

St. Totteringham’s Day Looming Once Again?

St. Totteringham’s Day hasn’t been celebrated by Arsenal fans since 2017, over three years ago now, which is the longest it has been without the celebration since it’s inception in 2002. That is another reason why the game will be rather hotly contested between the players, as they know that the pride of North London is at stake.

However, for us neutral fans, the fixture will probably not offer up as much excitement as it has done in previous times, when there was much more than pride at stake. Those of us who do not live in North London or support one of the teams would usually not much care about the game between 8th and 10th place in the Premier League. But, with these two teams, that is much different, as a lot of the drama and suspense that has been sucked out of other derbies in recent times, the Man United and Liverpool Derby a significant example of this, is still very much alive in this fixture.

The Corona Impact

Another reason why many neutrals could still be drawn to this game, is because of the effect that Coronavirus has had on football fans everywhere. It has forced us all to respect what football brings us, Premier League derbies being at the pinnacle of this. In these times, where it felt like we were deprived for a near-lifetime of football, it has made each and every one of us appreciate exactly what the North London Derby should mean to us.

The game will be feisty, Jose Mourinho is an expert at adding an extra layer of competition to games like this. His aura just creates controversy, which was helped by Arsenal tweeting about Tottenham’s results not long ago, something which I alluded to in a previous preview. Overall, I still expect this game to be the one that produces the most fireworks on Super Sunday, and I cannot wait to see it all unfold.

The North London Derby is often a feisty affair. Image Credit: Tottenham Insight

Score Prediction: 2-2 Draw

Honestly this game has to be the hardest to predict every time it comes around. I have to go for the draw today, despite going back and forth between a 2-1 for each of them. First, I though of Tottenham being at home, then I though of there being no fans and home advantage not mattering. Then, I though about Jose Mourinho’s tactics and how he gets results. Following that, I thought about how poor his team’s form has been recently and how Arsenal have been improving. Then, I finally decided “screw it, I’m going for a draw”, and the result you can see above….

This article was written by Nicholas Mills of Millsy’s View. Find more of his writing on his blog page, on his Twitter or follow his Facebook page.

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