Saturday’s game against Tottenham in the Premier League is almost upon us.
In addition to our extensive pre-match coverage of the game, we’ve gotten our writers together for a short prediction on how they think the game will pan out.
And if you think we’re just going to throw these predictions out there and then forget about them, fear not.
On Sunday we’ll be back taking a look at how we did and laughing at the person who got it wrong more than anyone else.
Lee Hurley Win 3-1
Part of me thinks this game will be the standard fare – Tottenham playing in their annual cup final and looking to get more joy from inflicting defeat than gaining victory, while another part of me thinks it’s going to be a lot easier than many imagine.
In short, it’s a derby and they’re hard to call.
If we turn up with the same attitude and self-confidence that we’ve seen lately we should simply have too much for Tottenham.
Leave any of that back at London Colney and Spurs will make sure we pay for it.
Prediction: 3-1 win with Arsenal’s pace on the counter too much for Tottenham to cope with.
Helen Trantum Win 3-1
Going into Saturday’s North London Derby, Spurs are in decent form, but Arsenal are doing even better, winning eight of our last nine games.
This is an Arsenal squad which despite having a number of injuries is still substantially better than it’s Tottenham counterpart – Mauricio Pochettino has everyone available, yet on a position-by-position basis it’s hard to see how any of the current Spurs XI would get into the Arsenal team.
Admittedly the game is at White Hart Lane and their fans are as deluded as ever about the “closing” or even “reversing” of the power pattern in North London over the last 20 years, but I expect the continued comebacks of Walcott and Ozil alongside an undroppable Santi Cazorla to once again be far too good for the opposition.
Of course missing Alexis is a blow, but this team still has enough about it to deliver the required result here, and make no mistake, it is required.
Although in recent years we have clawed back points deficits to finish above the neighbours, how much better it would be for those points gains to be made on positions higher up the table.
I anticipate a game where Arsenal put pressure on a shaky Tottenham back line when worthwhile, but otherwise sit back and invite them on to us before hitting them on the break.
They are particularly poor at defending counter attacks, so I would be surprised not to see a goal for Walcott.
Prediction: Arsenal to win this 3-1 by staying solid at the back and then playing through and over the Spurs back four. Tottenham’s goal to be from Harry Kane as we allow him a consolation so he can keep up his charade of being one of Spurs’ own.
Stephen Bradley Win 2-1
If Alexis was fit, then he’d take Walcott’s place in the starting team, but we are going to the Lane with pretty much our strongest XI at the moment without him.
The key to this game will be how we keep Christian Eriksen from getting the ball in dangerous areas.
We have the gameplan to do this, as we nullified David Silva three weeks ago, but that was against a somewhat out-of-form City team with no Yaya Toure and a half-fit Sergio Aguero.
This is a Spurs team with everyone fit and a striker in Harry Kane who can’t seem to miss at the moment.
Tottenham has been far from watertight at the back, and they will concede chances during the game. We just need to be patient and let them make errors instead of forcing the issue ourselves.
Prediction: Good things come to those who wait. 2-1 Arsenal.
Paul Williams Win 3-1
Nobody with any experience of a North London Derby, particularly the ones played on enemy territory, would predict anything but a game played at frenetic pace.
Predicting the outcome, however, is not quite as easy.
In Eriksen and Kane, Spurs clearly have the players to hurt Arsenal. If they can get them involved.
I should say at this stage, I feel very confident about this game, which worries me slightly.
It’s difficult not to be confident though as the team, with Santi so influential in the middle, are giving every sign of beginning to click.
Typically, Arsenal might look to dominate possession in the face of fierce Spurs pressure, however, as we saw at the Lane last year, circumstances dictate performances.
Tomas Rosicky’s early goal enabled Arsenal to sit off and hit on the counter. It would have worked beautifully too, if the Ox had been wearing his shooting boots.
Now more comfortable setting up with this approach, I think Arsenal can win this game in more ways than Spurs and have a midfield, whoever is selected, capable of terrorising the neighbours.
Prediction: Arsenal to win 3-1.
Sylvain Jamet Win 2-1
I believe with the teams’ current form it should be a tight win for the Arsenal.
There is no doubt Spurs have two good players at both ends of the pitch in LLoris and Kane, but they do not have enough around those two.
It will be interesting to see if Wenger uses the defensive and solid approach that brought the three points at City, or if he opts for a more attacking team.
From an old Schneirdelin interview, we learnt that Pochetinno likes to work very hard on the team defending/ ball recovery, placing the players on the pitch in a spiderweb way, so you certainly expect them to pressurise quite high on the pitch.
Technical players like Ozil, Cazorla or Rosicky will be essential for ball retention and then the opportunities to find the forwards will come.
Patience and ball possession will be crucial.
You would also expect to have least one quick forward to play alongside Giroud in either Walcott or Wellbeck to take advantage of the space available behind the Spurs defence.
Prediction: A tight 2-1.
Lewis Ambrose Win 2-0
An approach like recent weeks with some blistering counter-attacking football would probably be our best approach.
They aren’t great at the back but they do have players who are talented and/or effective going forward, Eriksen and Kane being the obvious two.
Cazorla and Ramsey have to stay close to Coquelin like at City, starving Sp*rs of any space on the edge of the box. Giroud is good enough to hold up the ball and get on the end of moves as we pounce with (presumably) Walcott.
I wonder if we might see Tomas Rosicky from the start – he does seem to love a NLD.
Prediction: A 2-0 win with goals on the counter.
Nia Griffiths Win 2-1
I honestly hate this fixture; the anxiety it invokes in me is unlike any of the others on the calendar (except perhaps United for some reason).
Our team always seem to have an extra element of silliness whenever we play our rivals.
Although we won at White Hart Lane last season by a single goal from Tomas Rosicky early on, the game itself gave me heart palpitations and our 1-1 draw against them earlier this season wasn’t exactly inspiring.
However – and this is a big however – I truly do believe we can get a result there on Saturday.
Our form is good, we’re playing well, we’re confident, and although Spurs haven’t quite been on the downward spiral we would all like, I do think we’ve got that bit of extra quality to win.
We just need to stay focused and hold onto the attitude we’ve had since we beat City.
If we do that, we’re more than capable of coming away with three points.
Prediction: A tight 2-1 win.
Andi Foster Win 2-1
I think this is the last game that i’ll go into with a sceptical attitude but feel Arsenal will come away with three points.
Despite some recent great performances, this will be the game that will convice me that Arsenal have turned a corner -should they win of course.
The flip side is that this game could send us backwards.
Prediction: I’ll go for Arsenal to win 2-1 (just) knowing that at some point in the game we will obviously make it hard for ourselves.
Sean Ferguson Win 2-0
We are full of confidence going into this one so I’m expecting three points.
Sp*rs have a pretty poor back four but an excellent keeper behind them in Lloris, but with Giroud and Cazorla in fantastic form and Alexis coming back into the side he’ll be tested and I’m sure we will find a way through.
We’ve been solid at the back in recent league games so I’d expect that to continue. Keeping Eriksen and Kane quiet will be key so I’d imagine Kos to be all over Kane with Coq winning the midfield battle.
Just don’t give away any free kicks!
Prediction: 2 0 to the Arsenal!
Mark Fine Win 3-1
Barring the impact of any training injuries, I don’t see many changes in our lineup from the Villa game, with Welbeck returning on the bench.
I can’t imagine Theo not being involved, as the image of him being carted off from last year’s FA Cup match while objects were being thrown at him has now reached iconic status.
Martin Atkinson was the ref that sent Giroud off for a head butt versus QPR and Spurs will try to bait him so he’s going to need to keep his head about him (so to speak).
As with any derby, this is going to be heated and high tempo straight from kickoff.
This game is going to be interesting because both teams have the potential to score lots of goals.
Spurs’ will come from a very in-form Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. However, the majority of their goals have been through mistakes in their opponents’ defence.
Spurs also have the the youngest team in the league, and we should have no problem taking advantage of their inexperience.
I’m confident that our defence should be up for the task in open play, only conceding a goal from a set piece.
Conversely, their defence is rather poor as a whole and we should have no problem scoring from open play.
The way to beat Lloris is not one-on-one so we will need to finesse our attack with crossing combinations to keep him, and their gullible defence, out of position.
Prediction: A 3-1 win
Alan Knowles-Best Win 3-0
Have you seen us going forward? Have you seen them trying to defend?
What else is there to say that hasn’t already been uttered 100 times before? They’re Tottenham, LET’S SMASH THEM!
Prediction: A 3-0 win with added dose of humiliation.
Winnie O’Blindt Draw 2-2
You just know that that lot will perform out of their skins just because it’s Arsenal and I’m still not convinced that we’ve got the right ‘mental strength‘ to deal with it.
Losing Sanchez was a massive blow because he gets the rest of the team trying to match his work rate and while we’ve looked better at the back recently, we all know there’s a defensive howler just begging to be set free.
Prediction: A 2-2 draw. If we’re lucky.