FootballPremier League

Arsenal v Tottenham betting: Why there is much more at stake at the Emirates than bragging rights and points

March 9, 2021January 7th, 2022

SHOULD Leicester City be considered a ‘top six’ club? It’s a question that will gain greater legitimacy in the coming months if the Foxes secure a Champions League spot as expected, and this after finishing fifth last season. Their title triumph less than five years ago meanwhile remains one heck of a bargaining chip.

Ultimately, there is only so long a side can be portrayed as the ‘best of the rest’ and there is only so long Sky Sports can awkwardly shoehorn Leicester into their ‘top six’ graphics that they love so very much.

And if indeed this discussion does take hold then along with it comes some fascinating sidebars.

Firstly, we will all have to finally acknowledge that the ‘top six’ is not an established elite as advertised. No club is sworn in. They do not meet every Thursday at a private member’s bar. Rather it is an artificial construct that can be changed on a whim with a simple switch of perception.

Then we get to the really delicious offshoot from Leicester’s induction should it indeed be granted widespread approval: if they get in, who drops out?

Presently, the stand-out candidates for demotion are Arsenal and Tottenham and how can this not be so when their recent track record is compared to their immediate peers? Last season was the first time since 1996 when North London wasn’t repped in the top four while currently the Gunners reside in mid-table, with transition under Mikel Arteta spun to excuse them. As for Spurs, three wins on the bounce has put a period of toil behind them but it’s their misfortune that a campaign turned sour after an excellent start coincides with a time when Leicester, West Ham and Everton are making serious advances. Would it surprise anyone if Tottenham finished seventh or eighth this term? Out of the reckoning. Out of the spotlight, bar a few viral clips of Mourinho being Mourinho.

Assimilating these possibilities adds a further layer of intrigue to this weekend’s derby; a game that frankly is always so compelling and fractious that it doesn’t need embellishment. But here we are and here it is: while usually the conversation around his fixture focuses on who will end up as the ‘top dogs’ of North London, now North London’s top dog status itself is under threat.

Spurs have lost just twice in this fixture in the league since 2014. They are a generous 7/4 to prevail again.

Turning to the game we find a series of absolutes along with some confusing messages.

Beginning with the latter, Arsenal’s impressive habit of keeping clean sheets has dwindled of late yet their defence is sounder than ever. Typically, these two developments are not bedfellows.

It’s true though, nonetheless. From Arteta’s appointment to this fixture’s corresponding clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in December the Gunners were conceding a goal every 84.5 minutes. That has since lengthened to 95.6 minutes.

Allied with a strike-force that has rediscovered it’s scoring boots – from their Boxing Day win over Chelsea to the present, Arsenal are now averaging 1.7 goals per league game, a vast improvement on the 0.8 it was prior – and it’s evident that Arteta’s side are heading in the right direction.

That’s assuming of course that they can cut out the comical mistakes at the back. Of the 13 goals they’ve conceded in 2021 just shy of half can be attributed to individual errors.

16/25 is available for both teams to score. Pair this up with a 4/5 punt on over 2.5 total goals

 

 

The confusion surrounding Spurs focuses on their aerial prowess up front though at least here an explanation does present itself. Only Everton and the Hammers have scored more goals this term from headers yet Tottenham have put in the least number of crosses in the league. With Mourinho’s men not being especially high in the set piece chart either we can only assume Harry Kane’s conversion rate with his noggin is extra special indeed. It’s a theory we’re happy to buy into.

Speaking of Kane leads us to the absolutes because unquestionably the England forward will pose the biggest threat to the hosts this Sunday. Kane boasts a phenomenal record in this fixture scoring 11 in 13 but it’s worth noting that at the other end Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can hold his head high too with seven in ten.

Indeed this is a neighbourly dispute that so often favour the strikers. In the last ten encounters 61% of the goals have been put away by Kane, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Son.

Aubameyang represents the best value of the most likely headline-makers. The Gabonese hit-man is 31/20 to score anytime

From this quartet only Son could be said to be struggling right now in front of goal, with the rest in prolific form but maybe it’s all-too-easy to concentrate on fire-power for big games. This after all is a derby so disciplinary matters are a concern too. Here Spurs have the edge having seen fewer red cards than anyone this season while Arsenal top the naughty list with five.

Whoever wins at the Emirates can begin the process of making sense of a campaign that has seen both clubs hit peaks and endure troughs. Perhaps too it will increase their chances of avoiding the ignominy this summer of having their elite credentials scrutinised.

When Arsenal concede they tend to do so early. Back the visitors to win both halves at 17/2