This is it, the final North London Derby at White Hart Lane as we know it. No promotion needed, no incentivisation needed, everyone and anyone knows what this means to both sets of supporters, managers and players. Not that the Spurs players will need any extra motivation, with the title race still firmly on, but if Tottenham do beat Arsenal, it will confirm the Lilywhites’ finish above their noisy neighbours for the first time since 1995.
Tale of the Tape:
Tottenham are in exceptional league form at the moment, having won eight Premier League matches in a row, a new club record. The most recent of those coming away at Selhurst Park in midweek, with Christian Eriksen’s late strike being enough for the three points. Tottenham are also unbeaten in all 16 home league matches this season, winning 14. Only Leicester and Liverpool have taken points from White Hart Lane this term.
Arsenal have ridden the storm well since their 3-0 defeat away at Palace, winning three on the spin since that result, including a win at Wembley over Manchester City, which means the FA Cup final will be contested between Spurs’ two London rivals. Most recently, Arsenal triumphed over Leicester with a late deflected own goal from Robert Huth.
In recent years the Derby has been very evenly contested, but by no means cagey, which could be said for other English derbies, also played this week. Anyway – four of the last six matches between the clubs have been draws, with Spurs winning one and Arsenal winning one.
Danny Rose will likely not be ready to play, but he is probably ten days or two weeks from a return to first team action. Michel Vorm is still unavailable, and Harry Winks and Erik Lamela will not play again this season with long term hip and ankle injuries keeping them out of action.
Shkordan Mustafi, Santi Cazorla, David Ospina and Lucaz Perez are all out injured with thigh, back, ankle and another thigh injury for Perez. Arséne Wenger believes key centre back Laurent Koscielny has a 60% chance of featuring in the derby.
Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:
Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Walker, Dembele, Wanyama, Davies; Eriksen, Dele; Kane
Predicted Arsenal XI:
Cech; Holding, Koscielny, Gabriel; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Monreal; Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Arsenal
The final ever North London Derby that will ever be played at our famous old ground – we won’t want to lose this at any cost. The fans will be right on top of the players from the first minute until the last. The players will need no reminding of just how much this one means for every single Tottenham Hotspur fan and will be determined to get over the line with all three points.