Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal – prediction, team news, lineups

Looking to take the next step towards their first Premier League title in two decades, Arsenal will make the short trip across the capital to face fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby on Sunday afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Gunners are coming into this clash following a five-star demolition of West Londoners Chelsea on Tuesday night, whereas the Lilywhites have been afforded a fortnight to dwell on their limp display at Newcastle United earlier in the month.

 

 


Match preview

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou pictured on April 7, 2024© Reuters

In what is a total rarity at this stage of a hectic campaign, Manchester City’s involvement in the latter stages of the FA Cup has allowed Tottenham a two-week break between Sunday’s North London derby and their last fixture on April 13, when the Lilywhites produced an insipid display at St James’ Park to seriously dent their top-four hopes.

With the North East contest pitting two sides who have struggled massively with inconsistency this season, it was Newcastle who managed a positive day at the expense of Spurs, with Alexander Isak‘s brace – alongside strikes from Anthony Gordon and Fabian Schar – sealing a 4-0 win for Eddie Howe‘s Magpies.

Since that defeat a fortnight ago, Champions League-chasing rivals Aston Villa have recorded back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Bournemouth to extend their advantage on Ange Postecoglou‘s men to six points, however the Lilywhites crucially have played two games fewer than Unai Emery‘s troops.

Consequently, it is needless to say that Spurs cannot afford any more poor performances if they wish to bring Postecoglou’s full-throttle football to Europe’s premier stage next season – a brief that appears extremely difficult considering that the Gunners, Liverpool and Pep Guardiola‘s Citizens are still to come before the campaign’s end.

With Harry Kane now battling away for Champions League glory in Bavaria with Bayern Munich, Son Heung-min is the last-remaining North London derby legend for the Lilywhites ahead of Sunday’s clash, with the South Korean netting six goals and providing two assists versus Arsenal over the years, including a brilliant brace earlier in the season to force a share of the spoils.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on April 23, 2024© Reuters

Following successive defeats to Aston Villa and Bayern Munich, there were plenty of concerns that Arsenal’s season was about the capitulate at a critical moment, although Mikel Arteta‘s men are back on track after convincing wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea in the Premier League.

A London derby on Tuesday night had some of the ingredients of a potential slip-up for the Gunners as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side visited to the Emirates, however a pair of braces from Ben White and Kai Havertz – as well as Leandro Trossard‘s opener – sealed a 5-0 success against the Blues, representing Arsenal biggest-ever victory over Chelsea.

Following Manchester City’s 4-0 thumping of Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday night, Arsenal’s lead at the summit of the Premier League standings stands at a single point ahead of Guardiola’s double-chasing Citizens, who are showing no signs of weakness as the title race approaches its dramatic conclusion.

Consequently, you feel as if there is going to be little room for error if Arsenal want to prevent Man City from collecting a record-breaking fourth straight English crown, with matches against Spurs, Bournemouth, Manchester United and Sean Dyche‘s Everton on the horizon before the end of the term.

Much has been made of the Gunners’ lack of a natural-striking option this season, however the sensational form of Champions League winner Havertz has put that discussion on the backburner in recent weeks, with the German now sitting on 11 top-flight goals for the campaign.

 

Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

 

 

Arsenal Premier League form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

 

Arsenal form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

 


Team News

Tottenham Hotspur's Destiny Udogie celebrates scoring their first goal with Dejan Kulusevski on December 10, 2023© Reuters

Following an impressive start to life in England since his summer move from Udinese, Tottenham left-back Destiny Udogie has been sidelined for the remainder of the campaign due to a quad injury sustained during the loss at Newcastle.

Postecoglou’s options in defence are further restricted by the fitness concerns surrounding Pedro Porro, however the Australian stated in his pre-match press conference that the Spaniard is available to feature in some capacity on Sunday.

During a hectic season full of injuries, Richarlison has benefitted massively from the two-week break in action and is fit to feature at the Emirates after his recent battles with a knee issue.

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster (foot), Manor Solomon (knee) and Ryan Sessegnon (thigh) remain in the Lilywhites’ medical room, with all three set to miss the rest of the season.

After suffering a serious knee injury during the first match of the league campaign in August, Arsenal defender Jurrien Timber found the net on his return to competitive action for the club’s Under-21s side on Monday night.

There is serious clamour from Gunners fans for the Dutchman to be included on Sunday, however Arteta has stated that he will make a final decision on the 22-year-old’s involvement following Saturday’s training session.

Apart from the former Ajax man, there are no injury concerns for the visitors, who are likely to field an unchanged side from the one which demolished Chelsea on Tuesday, meaning that Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus will be forced to sit on the bench once again.

Takehiro Tomiyasu missed the Wolves clash last weekend as a precaution but played 72 minutes last time out, and the Japan international should be in line for another starting berth here.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Davies; Hojbjerg, Bissouma, Kulusevski, Maddison, Son; Richarlison

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; White, Gabriel, Saliba, Tomiyasu; Partey, Rice, Odegaard; Trossard, Saka, Havertz

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