The North London derby is not going to win a title for either Tottenham or Arsenal, but it makes for a perfect platform to give us an indication of who will finish third this season in the Premier League, and who might miss out on the whole Champions League experience.
After losing 5-2 earlier in the season, it looked like this would be another underachieving season for Spurs, despite all of the purchases and the still trendy new manager. A few months later, and Spurs don’t only look like favorites heading into their match with Arsenal, but seem in an excellent position to finish third, at least. The league title won’t be coming anytime soon, but Tottenham can still finish second if Manchester City slip up and Gareth Bale continues to play like a superhuman.
And it’s been that special from Bale recently. The Welsh winger has turned into Tottenham’s frontman in more ways than one, reaching 15 league goals this season, each and every one of them prettier than the one before and often more important with its timing in the match. The ability of Moussa Dembele in the middle or the fantastic sense of calmness Jan Vertonghen provides each time he touches the ball have been vital, but Spurs are mostly about Bale playing like the best player in England.
And on the other end, Arsenal are as always something hard to understand or wrap our heads around. Losers in every big match they’ve had this season, which leaves us the question – are Tottenham a big enough team for Arsenal to fold against? The fact that the gunners have won only once at White Hart Lane in their last seven meetings might suggest how they cope with the new situation in the rivalry between the two.
Olivier Giroud will get his chances, but the French striker has only 9 goals in 26 matches this season, mostly because he isn’t a lethal finisher. He gets to more headed opportunities than anyone else, but can’t seem to put his head and body in the right direction. Making the most of the opportunities he gets will be crucial for Arsenal as they try to stay on pace with the rest of the top 4.
Prediction – Arsenal have struggled in their away matches but Tottenham are far from perfect at home. Arsenal haven’t been playing well for a long time, and a visit to White Hart Lane won’t change that momentum. Looks like a Spurs win.