Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: preview, predicted teams, injuries

All the latest news and information ahead of Sunday’s North London derby as Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: preview, predicted teams, injuries
Getty Images Getty Images

The North London derby has been a hotly contested fixture in recent years as Tottenham have risen to prominence over the last decade. However despite their growth under former boss Mauricio Pochettino the games between the two sides have been remarkably close. Of the last 11 Premier League fixtures between the two sides there have been six draws, while Spurs have managed three wins to Arsenal’s two.

This is the first time since 1986 that both managers are taking charge of their first North London derby but Spurs boss José Mourinho has had a good record against Arsenal throughout his coaching career. The former Manchester United and Chelsea boss has won ten of his 20 matches against the Gunners, losing only twice in that time.

It has been a disappointing season for both teams and neither are currently in the European places. However Arsenal are just a point off seventh-place Sheffield United and Spurs are one point below them. A win for either team would give their Europa League ambitions a boost and effectively end the other’s.

The home side come into the game on the back of a drab 0-0 draw with relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Thursday night and Mourinho’s side have picked up just nine points from their last eight league fixtures, winning only twice. He has managed to improve Spurs’ defence however and they have kept three clean sheets in their last four fixtures. The problem in recent weeks has been in attack and Spurs failed to record a single shot on target at the Vitality Stadium. Steven Bergwijn and Eric Lamela were given a chance from the start against Bournemouth but Mourinho seems likely to recall Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura on Sunday.

Arsenal had a poor start to post-lockdown football with back-to-back defeats but appear to have turned a corner since Mikel Arteta switched to a back three. The 3-4-3 system favoured by the Spaniard in recent weeks has made his side more resolute at the back and suits his attacking full-backs. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney performed well in the 1-1 draw against Leicester City in midweek and both will expect to keep their places for the derby. Youngster Bukayo Saka has impressed in a number of positions under Arteta but is beginning to form a real understanding with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette from the right of a front three. The 18-year-old provided the assist for Aubameyang’s goal last time out.

Tottenham Hotspur predicted XI vs Arsenal

Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Winks, Ndombele; Lucas, Kane, Son

Arsenal predicted XI vs Tottenham Hotspur

Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: injuries and suspensions

Spurs are still without a number of players due to injury, with Deli Alli the most high profile of those likely to miss out. The midfielder has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Defenders Japhet Tanganga and Juan Foyth and young forward Troy Parrott have been ruled out.

Eric Dier was finally getting a run of games in his favoured central defensive position under Mourinho but has been handed a four-match suspension for entering the stands to confront a supporter after March’s defeat to Norwich.

The fates of Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Özil are still unclear but neither are likely to be in Arteta’s plans for the remainder of this season. Long-term injuries to Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli will keep them all out of the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Arsenal will also be without a player due to suspension after Eddie Nketiah was sent off just minutes after coming on as a substitute in the game against Leicester.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: what the managers said

Jose Mourinho (Tottenham Hotspur): “In this moment we are both in a very similar situation. It is not that incredible emotion of we are fighting for something really big, more than to finish above [the other] or not.

“I think we are fighting for the only thing that we can fight for, one point distance, four matches to go and one is between us.”

Mikel Arteta (Arsenal): "[Derbies] are all different, it depends a lot whether you win or lose, that's what makes it special.

"Rivalry in football, when you take it in a positive way, and that brings energy, that brings passion, that brings a city together. It's such a beautiful thing.”

Prediction: Tottenham have looked much more solid in recent weeks and will be a good test for Arsenal’s impressive front three. The comparative form of the two sides suggests that the visitors may have the upper hand and in an empty stadium home advantage counts for little. There has not been an away win in a Premier League North London derby since 2014 but Arsenal will hope to do just that in their first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 1-2