Paul Higham says Arsenal can take advantage of Tottenham's early season struggles to get a huge north London derby win on Sunday.
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Arsenal v Tottenham (Sunday 1630 BST - Sky Sports Premier League)
It's very early in the season to be labelling games as crucial, but this north London derby could have huge repercussions for both these sides' seasons, even at this stage of proceedings.
After three years of lording it over their local rivals, Tottenham look like a team on the edge after their shock loss to Newcastle, the future of Christian Eriksen among others seemingly casting a shadow over the team and making them unable to shake themselves out of an early season funk.
It starts with Mauricio Pochettino, who is already looking a bit downtrodden, cutting a glum figure and looking exasperated with the transfer situations, when after finally being allowed to spend big in the summer he should be brimming with optimism.
That's not to say that he can't turn things around when the European window shuts and his squad can settle, but that's not until after this game and with the firepower that Arsenal can throw at them, Spurs need to approach this with a much tougher mentality to avoid suffering a damaging defeat.
A heavy loss at Arsenal - where they've won just once in their last 26 league visits - would heap even more misery on the team and that will take a lot longer to recover from and already put them under pressure in the race for the top four.
Not to mention that a win for the Gunners would give the team even more confidence and the fans even more belief that Unai Emery is building a side capable of dominating north London once again, and he's certainly got the weaponry at his disposal, should he choose to use it.
Arsenal also lost last week, but the chances they created at Anfield will give them hope and with Spurs shaken Emery should deploy his three-pronged offensive monster of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe who would cause real problems in Tottenham's so far shaky rearguard.
Emery has been cautious in these big games of late, though, and that gives Spurs a chance to get a foot on the ball and gives them every chance of getting something from the game - the atmosphere just does not seem right now and Arsenal are rightly favoured to get a significant three points.
Arsenal v Tottenham betting
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham (Sky Bet odds: 16/1)
Best bet: Arsenal to beat Tottenham at 11/8
The draw has been most prevalent in the last ten but at home in the league Arsenal have dominated with 15 wins in the last 26, 10 draws and just a single Spurs victory. No Premier League game has had more penalties scored than this one, and with VAR in operation 6/4 on a successful spot-kick will be popular, while Harry Kane will no doubt be a leading goalscorer candidate having bagged nine in nine against the old enemy.
Taking a view in derby games is always rewarding though, and having the Gunners at 11/8 just for victory is something worth considering - with them converting 14 out of the last 17 times they've been favourites at home. The way these sides have been defending both teams should certainly find the net - and odds are it's the home side as Spurs have gone behind in all three games this season, all inside half an hour, and trailed at half time in all three.
Spurs also have a woeful away record having not won on the road since January and even though this is their shortest trip, it's also their toughest.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Opta stats
- Arsenal have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games against rivals Spurs (W2 D5 L3), with both wins coming at the Emirates in the previous two seasons.
- Spurs have won one of their last 26 Premier League visits to Arsenal (W1 D10 L15), coming from 0-2 down to win 3-2 in November 2010.
- Spurs won 2-0 at the Emirates in the League Cup last season, 17 days after losing there in the league against Arsenal; in all competitions, Spurs have won consecutive away matches at Arsenal just once, winning in 1925 and 1926.
- Five of the last 14 goals scored in Premier League games between Arsenal and Spurs have been penalties – no Premier League fixture has seen more penalties scored (18, level with Everton vs Newcastle United).
- Arsenal were beaten by Crystal Palace in their last home Premier League London derby – they haven’t lost back-to-back home derbies since February 2006, when they lost to Chelsea and West Ham.
- Arsenal have won more Premier League games (60) and have a higher win rate (61%) than any other side in games played in September. They also haven’t lost a north London derby in the month in any competition since 1969 (2-3) winning six and drawing four since.
- Along with pointless Watford, Tottenham are one of just two sides to have conceded first in all three of their Premier League games so far this season. The Lilywhites last shipped the first goal in their first four Premier League games back in 2008-09.
- Tottenham are winless in their last seven away league games (D1 L6), last enduring a longer winless run on the road between December 2011-April 2012 (8 games).
- Tottenham’s Harry Kane has scored nine goals in all competitions against Arsenal – only Emmanuel Adebayor and Bobby Smith (both 10) have ever scored in more matches between the two sides in history.
- Arsenal boss Unai Emery has won all four of his home league games against Mauricio Pochettino, winning three games with Valencia against Espanyol between 2009-10 and 2011-12 and with Arsenal last season against Spurs.
- Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored nine goals in nine Premier League games against Arsenal – only Wayne Rooney (12) and Robbie Fowler (10) have scored more Premier League goals against the Gunners.
- Christian Eriksen is one goal away from becoming the fifth player to score 50 in the Premier League for Tottenham. However, he’s never scored in 11 previous appearances in the competition against Arsenal – no side has he faced more without a goal.
Odds correct as of 1135 BST 30/08/19
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