Few rivalries are fiercer in English football than that of the north London derby. 191 editions later, the same passion and hatred is on display and this Saturday’s game promises to replicate those that have gone before it.
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The noisy neighbours
Being situated in the northern region of London is where the similarities end. Both teams have completely different coaches, players and expectations. Mikel Arteta learned his trade under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola and Pep’s influence on Arteta’s tactics is obvious, whilst Antonio Conte has been managing for a while longer, boasting an impressive CV and gaining a winning reputation – part of the reason Spurs appointed him.
But Arteta’s Arsenal stand in the way of Spurs keeping their unbeaten record, and who better than the club who own the title of ‘The Invincibles’ to stop Spurs in their tracks and put a huge dent in their early season momentum.
Arsenal to win and Both Teams To Score3/1
Smart summer signings
When people think of an Arsenal side of the past, they think of a perfect mixture of youth and experience, but this new version of Arsenal, that Arteta has slowly been crafting since his appointment in 2019, is a mixture of experienced youth. The Spaniard has leaned on his young players, building a very capable side.
His signings have been smart, calculated and sensible and he is currently bearing the fruits of such smart business as Arsenal sit at the summit of the Premier League. Gabriel Jesus who made the switch from Manchester to London has been a breath of fresh air up-front bringing his energetic and tenacious playstyle and combining it with his Brazilian technique, making the £50m price tag look like a snip so far.
Oleksandr Zinchenko followed his teammate over to the red side of London and he too looks like a piece of great business as Arteta has now left-back and central midfield cover.
Arsenal weren’t alone on the smart business train, however. Spurs have made numerous successful loans permanent and have bolstered their ranks in places where they looked rather thin. The signings of Richarlison and Yves Bissouma mark the start of a rebuilding phase at Tottenham as they aim to phase out the old guard of the Pochettino era and look to bring in players that can take kindly to Conte’s system and sing off his 3-4-3 hymn sheet.
Gabriel Jesus, Harry Kane and Erling Haaland all to score10/1
Powershift in the north?
As seasons have gone by and eras have come and gone, Arsenal have been widely regarded as the kings of the north. Recently, Spurs have jumped into the fray and threatened to dethrone the Gunners. Their three-pronged attack of Kane, Son and Kulusevski is enough to strike fear into the best defences in the world, never mind them having not tasted defeat this season in the Premier League.
What’s worse for Arsenal is Son getting back to his old ways. He netted a quick-fire hat-trick against struggling Leicester City to end his goal drought and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Gunners as it looks like he has his taste for goals back with a goal for South Korea in the international break too.
We can expect this game to be entertaining, however both teams will be aware that a defeat could well derail their momentum and both coaches will be looking to avoid that. Spurs’ recent record at the Emirates doesn’t suggest they will come to N5 and blow Arsenal out the water and their recent loss to Sporting in the Champions League suggest that they do still have the soft underbelly and it’s a case of whether Arsenal can find it.
Similarly can be said of Arsenal who although have had the best start to the season out of any team in the Premier League, their recent defeat to Manchester United saw the same telltale signs that although the Gunners can dominate the ball, frailties still remain.
Although it is very early in the season and the stakes aren’t as high for either team, expect this game to be a cagey affair with both teams eager to halt their rivals and suppress their progression.