Travelling the short distance to White Hart Lane on Saturday, Arsenal will be hoping to push Tottenham further into the shadows.
Here’s everything you need to know about how their season has gone so far as well as a look at their strengths and weaknesses.
|Home Ground||White Hart Lane (36,310)|
|Record Signing||Erik Lamela / Roberto Soldado – £25.8m each in 2013|
|Ex Gunners||Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane|
|Top Scorer||Harry Kane (20)|
|Top Assister||Andros Townsend (5) Nacer Chadli (5) Erik Lamela (5)|
|Most Yellow Cards||Ryan Mason (6)|
|Star Player||Christian Eriksen|
|Player Arsenal Need Most||We don’t need their sloppy seconds|
|Biggest Liability||Federico Fazio|
STYLE OF PLAY
Going forward this season, Tottenham have been something of a two man team – Lamela, Townsend and Chadli have all played bit parts in and around Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
The goals scored by those two have so far earned Tottenham 25 points more than they’d have without them, 25 points that separate them from their current 6th position and rock bottom of the Premier League table.
From open play, Kane is the real danger, with a penchant for shooting at any opportunity. Arsenal must deny him the space to take a touch and crowd him out before he can do any damage.
In behind that front three, Pochettino has generally favoured the gung-ho Ryan Mason alongside the more reserved Nabil Bentaleb – the pair are his answer to Ramsey and Coquelin, albeit with a huge gulf in quality.
Mason in particular has a nasty habit of making tackles with little or no regard to the consequences of the challenge. He may win the ball more often than not, but he is still fairly reckless.
He was fortunate to get away without a red card for headbumping* Benteke in the same manner that Giroud was sent off for against QPR.
*Well you can’t call it headbutting and keep a straight face, can you?!
Tottenham typically play with Fazio and Vertonghen as their two central defenders, with pacy full backs on either side in the shape of Danny Rose and Kyle Walker.
The latter is still feeling his way back to form after injury, but Rose is happy to get forward at any and every opportunity. The pace of Walcott may be useful in keeping him pushed back.
A number of Spurs’ goals this year have come from set pieces, penalties – 10 of their 35 goals so far compared with 13 of our 44 for Arsenal.
They have also taken 52% of their shots from outside the box this season compared to 43% from Arsenal. Harry Kane in particular is likely to take a number of potshots from distance.
Perhaps surprisingly, they have not scored a single goal from a counter attack.
In fact, Arsenal have more goals, more shots, more shots on target, higher pass success, more passes, more dribbles completed, more fouls won, more aerial duels won, and more interceptions per game.
We also have lower shots conceded, lower fouls and lower offsides per game.
When you look at it like that, Arsenal come out on top pretty much however you cut it.
SEASON SO FAR
Tottenham fans were really excited following an unbeaten pre-season, and initially they got off to a good start with four straight wins including a traditionally tricky fixture away at West Ham on opening day.
Balance was restored to the universe with a thumping from Liverpool and then two underwhelming draws against Sunderland and Partizan Belgrade.
Since then, their season has been fairly up and down, with single goal victories over the likes of Southampton, Hull, Aston Villa and Everton and convincing beatings from Man City and Chelsea.
Three wins from four over the Christmas period has kept Spurs in and around the top six, but two draws and loss in their Europa League group has seen them finish second in the group behind Besiktas (the same Besiktas we knocked out of the Champions League).
Admittedly they have a Mickey Mouse cup final to look forward to, but their FA Cup campaign was ended at the fourth round stage by two late goals from Leicester, the fourth time in five years that they have failed to progress beyond that stage.
They continue to press for their second taste of Champions League football, but three points for Arsenal on Saturday would see a five point gap open up.
With players returning week-on-week for the Gunners, and an undeniably stronger squad, it’s hard to see Spurs hauling us in from that kind of distance.
Arsenal’s last 5 results against Tottenham: LWWWD
|League||27/09/2014||(H)||D 1-1||Arsenal: Oxlade-Chamberlain (74)Tottenham: Chadli (56)|
|League||16/03/2014||(A)||W 1-0||Arsenal: Rosicky (2)Tottenham: –|
|FA Cup||04/01/2014||(H)||W 2-0||Arsenal: Cazorla (31) Rosicky (62)Tottenham: –|
|League||01/09/2013||(H)||W 1-0||Arsenal: Giroud (23)Tottenham: –|
|League||03/03/2013||(A)||L 2-1||Arsenal: Mertesacker (51)Tottenham: Bale (37) Lennon (39)|
Record for Tottenham v Arsenal
Overall record between the two clubs
Tottenham’s last 5 results: WWLDW
|League||West Brom||(H)||W 3-0||Eriksen, Kane (2)|
|League Cup||Sheffield Utd||(H)||D 2-2||Eriksen (2)|
|FA Cup||Leicester||(A)||L 1-2||Townsend (P)|
|League Cup||Sheffield Utd||(A)||W 1-0||Townsend (P)|
|League||Sunderland||(A)||W 2-1||Vertonghen, Eriksen|