The anticipation is almost finally over as Tottenham march to the Emirates prepared for war in this season’s first instalment of the North London derby.
Spurs supporters have been agonizingly sitting idly by for two weeks, awaiting the most important fixture of the season. Enjoying their longest unbeaten run against the Gunners, Tottenham, with two wins and four draws, haven’t lost in six matches.
Each of Tottenham’s last three matches at Arsenal ended in a draw, with Mauricio Pochettino yet to lose at the Emirates. Spurs, who lost their first away match of the season at Old Trafford, look to avoid losing consecutive matches on the road for the first time since early in the 2016-17 season.
Arsenal’s Jekyll and Hyde act
Though tension has been at a boiling point for over a season at Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger’s future at the club in doubt, the Gunners, who have won 10 on the bounce, are enjoying their best ever run at the Emirates.
Arsenal have taken all 15 points in five home matches this season, outscoring opponents 13-4. Arsenal have also found their home shooting boots, scoring at least two goals in eight consecutive matches at the Emirates.
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Wenger’s sides are renowned, however, for being spineless, lacking the physicality and fortitude required to win tough away fixtures. Their away defensive frailties are well documented, as Arsenal have conceded 12 goals in six road contests. That’s the fourth worst defensive away record in the top flight, further proving their absence of a backbone down the middle of the team.
The polar opposite is true of their home performances. Conceding only four goals at the Emirates, Arsenal are level with Tottenham and Spurs for the fourth stingiest defensive record. Talk about a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde complex.
Cream of the crop away from home
With the most away wins (10) in 2017, Spurs won’t be overawed by their loathsome rivals’ home dominance. Spurs have scored 37 goals in the calendar year on their travels, once again topping the Premier League charts.
Even after defeat at Manchester United, Spurs are still the Premier League’s second best away side, taking 12 of 15 points in testy conditions. Chelsea share Tottenham’s current road record, while Manchester City remains perfect away from the Etihad.
Harry Kane is at his most lethal in North London derbies, Tottenham’s assassin scoring in each of his five matches against the Gunners. His six North London derby goals leaves him third all-time, behind only Emmanuel Adebayor (8) and Robert Pires (7).
That record, along with Arsenal, will soon fall, as Spurs have too much attacking quality for a flimsy and soft Gunners’ underbelly. They simply don’t have the temperament, guile or heart needed for the gruelling battle ahead.