Search

Our Spurs and Arsenal correspondents give their predictions for Saturday’s north London derby

07:25 06 February 2015

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose (left) and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during September's north London derby at the Emirates

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Our Spurs and Arsenal correspondents give their verdicts on Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated north London derby.

Ben Pearce, Spurs writer:

Tottenham and Arsenal will battle for local pride on Saturday, but the north London derby has become bigger than that – a genuine six-pointer in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Spurs will be aware that their fortunes against their arch-rivals tend to have a large bearing on their own success at the end of the season – in 2006, 2012 and 2013, they were within two points of Arsene Wenger’s side when they just missed out on a seat at Europe’s top table.

Last term Tottenham ended up 10 points behind Arsenal, but the derby in mid-March was arguably the killer blow.

Mauricio Pochettino has a fully-fit squad and a few selection dilemmas this weekend. Will he deploy Mousa Dembele as the No10 and play Christian Eriksen on the left again, or will he reinstate Nacer Chadli, who scored at the Emirates in September and has nine goals this season? Could all three be accommodated behind Harry Kane?

In central midfield, Nabil Bentaleb has returned from the African Cup of Nations but, with Ryan Mason and Benjamin Stambouli in good form, Pochettino must pick two from three. He must also choose between Danny Rose and Ben Davies at left-back.

Spurs struggle to break down negative, defensive opponents at the Lane, but Arsenal are unlikely to adopt such an approach so the Lilywhites’ attacking players should get room to manoeuvre.

The concern is at the other end. When Spurs have conceded recently they have tended to ship another goal soon after, and Arsenal would probably punish such mental fragility.

With so many creative players on form in both teams, it promises to be an exciting showdown worthy of an enthralling top-four battle. Prediction: 2-2

Ben Kosky, Arsenal writer:

For many Arsenal fans, the euphoria of last month’s astonishing performance at Manchester City soon gave way to a simple question: can they do this again?

Organised, disciplined and sharp on the counter-attack, the Gunners displayed characteristics that had been noticeably lacking in the majority of their most testing away trips in recent years.

Saturday’s short trip along the Seven Sisters Road represents the ideal opportunity to prove that their efforts against the champions were more than a one-off.

Of course, Tottenham are not Manchester City, but their performance at the Emirates last September suggests they will press the visitors and close them down.

Arsenal’s rhythm in that last meeting was hampered somewhat by a trio of injuries in midfield, as Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere were all forced off during the course of the game.

Despite that, Francis Coquelin remained an unused substitute that day – but there is little doubt that the young Frenchman will be an integral member of the starting line-up on Saturday.

Coquelin’s renaissance has helped to engender a more steely flavour in the rest of the Arsenal side, as has the industrious approach of Alexis Sanchez.

If the Chilean fails to shake off a hamstring problem, Danny Welbeck could return to the side while, at the other end of the field, the Gunners’ chief concern will be how to deal with the in-form Harry Kane.

Laurent Koscielny, whose return to fitness has made a key difference to Arsenal’s back line, is likely to be handed that task – and, although he should do it efficiently, an extension of the Gunners’ recent run of clean sheets may be too much to hope for.

A point certainly isn’t, though. Prediction: 1-1

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 20:11
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

Yesterday, 07:15
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum hits out against England in 2015

James Franklin has warned that Middlesex cannot expect his former New Zealand team-mate Brendon McCullum to single-handedly transform their fortunes in one-day cricket.

Thu, 12:00
Saracens' Chris Wyles scores his second try in Saturday's Premiership semi-final against Leicester

Saracens are aiming to complete an historic European and domestic double as they gear up for Saturday’s Premiership final at Twickenham.

Thu, 10:00
Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins

While it may be a cliché, to get a first-class hundred for the first time at Lord’s – the home of cricket – was an absolute dream come true.

Thu, 09:00
Henry Collier bats for Hampstead. Pic: Max Flego

Hampstead captain Steve Clark feels his side have shown what they are capable of after the reigning champions kickstarted their title defence with a comprehensive home win.

Thu, 07:45
Left to right: Camden Swiss Cottage's Ally Dill, Amir Castronovo, Lauren Brantley, Alexis Lambropoulos, Marliese Rittenhouse, Brandon Biss, Ella McEver, Lyelle Kahaner, Alexander Chen and Clementine Butler Brown

A contingent of Camden Swiss Cottage’s youngsters faced their biggest challenge of the season so far at the London Regional Age Group Championships, held over two weekends at Crystal Palace.

Wed, 19:00
Harriet Dart

West Hampstead’s Harriet Dart won the $25,000 doubles title in Goyang, South Korea, on Saturday.

Wed, 16:52
Beth Potter (right) is pursued by her British rivals Kate Avery and Jessica Andrews (second from left), who eventually won the race on the Parliament Hill athletics track. Pic: Mark Shearman

Former world record-holder Dave Bedford says Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs is a “fascinating event” which is “of great value” to the world of athletics.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe