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, 13:15
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham were defeated in Melbourne for the second time this week after a 1-0 loss against a strong Atletico Madrid side in the pre-season International Champions Cup tournament.

Thu, 22:41
Essex's Ashar Zaidi

Pakistan all-rounder Ashar Zaidi blazed an unbeaten half-century to strengthen Essex’s chances of joining Middlesex in the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals.

Thu, 09:14
Sean Cronin leaps to win a header during Monday's victory over Maidenhead. Pic: Martin Addison

Sean Cronin is hoping his experience at the back can enable Wingate & Finchley to challenge for the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs this season.

Thu, 07:06
Nathan Sowter has become a regular member of Middlesex's T20 side. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leg-spinner Nathan Sowter is seeking to play his part in a rare Twenty20 double for Middlesex this season.

Tue, 18:52
Spurs Ladies forward Bianca Baptiste (right). Pic: Clive Jones

Spurs Ladies won a cup double last season and forward Bianca Baptiste would love to go one better and secure a treble this term – but she believes the focus should be on the league and a top-three finish.

Tue, 18:35
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette

Lyon have refuted reports that they have received a second bid from Arsenal for star striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Tue, 15:14
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has shown his willingness to put his faith in Tottenham’s youngsters on plenty of occasions, and they will usually thank him for it.

Tue, 07:30
North London players celebrate a wicket from Jordan Gregory in their five-run win against Brentham. Pic: Max Flego

Captain Sam Bardon has urged North London to maintain the impetus of their seven-match unbeaten run as they prepare to face the top two sides in Middlesex County League Division Three.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

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

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now