This weekend is one of local skirmishes in the Premier League. On Sunday, Fulham and Chelsea clash at Craven Cottage, while Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool go head-to-head at Goodison Park in a vital clash for the Reds title hopes.
However, before those potentially explosive clashes, Tottenham and Arsenal kick off the Premier League weekend of football at Wembley in Saturday’s early kick-off.
The game could prove vital in the race for the Champions League spots. The Gunners are only ahead of Manchester United by a point, with Chelsea two points further back. A trip to their neighbours is likely to be a difficult one for Unai Emery’s side.
A dreadful away record
Arsenal’s tendency to fail to turn up for away games has cost the Gunners a top-four place in the last few seasons. The team from north London are such tough opponents at the Emirates Stadium, yet on their travels, they flop like a jellyfish on a wet mattress.
Their recent away record in the Premier League says it all really. The Gunners only away win in their last seven matches came at rock bottom Huddersfield. Even then, Emery’s side only scraped a 1-0. They had lost their previous three away matches in the Premier League. There may have been mitigating circumstances in the fact that two of those three defeats came against top two Liverpool and Manchester City.
However, both defeats were comprehensive. Only in a 20-minute spell against City did the Gunners actually look capable of getting a result in either clash. These sorts of away results are not a new thing, though, as the Gunners have a long track record of poor away form.
Arsenal the form team
So often in recent meetings between these two teams, Tottenham have gone into north London derbies as the form side. However, Arsenal are the form team heading into this clash, having won in five of their last six matches in the Premier League.
Tottenham’s title challenge has died a death in recent weeks, as successive league defeats against Burnley and Chelsea have left Mauricio Pochettino’s team trailing leaders Liverpool by nine points, which at this stage of the campaign is a massive gap.
Spurs will be confident of extending their four-point lead over their neighbours, especially due to a relatively strong recent home record on home soil. Spurs have also won three of the last four north London derbies on home soil.
Tottenham favourites for north London derby
Saturday’s north London derby is not easy to predict. However, if Arsenal’s recent away form is anything to go by, the Gunners will once again struggle on their travels. Tottenham are favourites at odds of 21/20 to win the north London derby.
Those odds are understandable considering the Gunners woeful recent away record, especially at the home of their top six rivals. The fact that Spurs have won their last three home games in the Premier League has probably contributed to those odds.
Arsenal can prove they have made real progress under Unai Emery this season by producing a good display and result at their neighbours. However, the Gunners just don’t seem to have the mental strength to put in good enough displays on their travels.
We will see if they can record a possible statement victory at Wembley. However, for me, I still think that Tottenham will record a victory and the Gunners will finish the weekend back outside the top four looking in.
Does Arsenal have what it takes to win at Tottenham?