Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Tottenham V Hotspur V Arsenal
Saturday 7th February. 12:45PM. BT Sport 1
The race for Champions League football is really heating up and it could boil over as North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal collide in Saturday’s lunchtime clash.
Both sides are desperate to seal a top four finish in 2014/15 and the early kick-off means that the winner will climb into those Champions League places, at least on a temporary basis. That extra incentive should make for an absolute classic at White Hart Lane.
Can Tottenham Continue Revival?
Following a difficult start to life at Tottenham, manager Mauricio Pochettino has transformed Spurs into a very strong unit who are now fighting for Champions League qualification as well as reaching the Europa League knockouts and Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
This is potentially shaping up to be a fantastic second half of Pochettino’s first year in charge at the Lane and beating their fiercest rivals would certainly go a long way to increasing that belief. Aside from bragging rights, a win would of course see Tottenham leapfrog Arsene Wenger’s side.
A number of Spurs stars are still finding their feet under the new manager but the duo of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are proving to be a truly lethal combination in the final third. It is still a work in progress at White Hart Lane, but the talented squad are certainly capable of delivering results in big games; they don’t come much bigger than this.
Tottenham only need to look back at last month’s epic 5-3 win over Chelsea for inspiration and will be extremely optimistic heading into this crucial derby. Prepare yourselves for a classic.
Injuries To Cost Gunners?
Arsenal enter this showdown in their best form of the campaign, winning five straight competitive matches and losing just one of eight Premier League matches since mid-December. However, the mounting injuries are a real cause for concern.
The potential absence of key man Alexis Sanchez would be a massive blow to the Gunners, especially with Jack Wislhere, Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Debuchy also in the physio room. Nevertheless, Wenger’s side is still full of quality and if Santi Cazorla and Oliver Giroud continue their recent form then the visitors have a great chance of success.
Perhaps the most important player for Arsenal right now, though, is the emerging Francis Coquelin. The Frenchman has returned from Charlton Atheltic as a completely new man and is performing incredibly well at the heart of Wenger’s midfield. If he can control the central battle as he did at the Etihad, it will be extremely difficult for the hosts to find a way through.
There is always a sense of vulnerability surrounding Arsenal but the Gunners appear to have gained a new found strength in recent weeks and we’d expect them to qualify for the Champions League once more. Winning at White Hart Lane could be pivotal to those ambitions.
Tottenham Hotspur V Arsenal Betting
Arsenal enter the match as favourites but the bookies’ odds of 6/5 (Bet365) indicate that Tottenham will put up a battle. The home side are priced 9/4 for the win, whilst a draw can be backed at 5/2.
It’s quite hard to predict the outcome of this one but we do know that both sides are betting going forward than they are at defending. Each side has conceded more than once per game this term, but both boast a positive goal difference and that should lead to a game full of chances here.
Likewise, the heightened emotions of the derby, along with the recent head-to-head record would suggest that goals are the cards. Meanwhile, the need for points will ensure that both teams fight it out to the death. Therefore, we are backing both teams to score but think at least one will score two or more.
BTTS & Over 2.5 goals @ 20/21 with Bet365
Whilst Arsenal boast a plethora of players ready to find the net, Tottenham are very reliant on just one of two players to score their goals. One of them is Harry Kane.
A few weeks ago, a photo of a young Kane in an Arsenal shirt went viral much to the delight of mocking Gunners fans. However, the England U21 star is definitely a Tottenham star and we think he’ll underline that in fitting fashion at White Hart Lane.
Harry Kane to score anytime is 15/8 with Betfred