Tottenham fans could be forgiven for going into Sunday’s North London derby in buoyant mood. Spurs have gone 10 games unbeaten in the league since an opening day defeat to Manchester United, kept four clean sheets in their last eight top flight matches, and scored 14 goals in their last four games.
Even Harry Kane has rediscovered his scoring boots. It’s unsurprising that the hype-machine at White Hart Lane has been cranked up a notch.
But on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium, the Tottenham bubble will be burst by the man we’re dubbling the King of North London. Arsene Wenger has reigned over Arsenal for the best part of two decades and face Tottenham at home 22 times since arriving in London in 1996.
Le Professeur has lost just once.
The Arsenal manager’s record at home in North London derby games is as impressive as Tom Hanks’ CV. Wenger has won 15, drawn six and lost just once – all the while 11 Tottenham managers have come and gone, 17 if you want to include the caretaker’s who have taken the reigns for a short while. But no matter who is in the away dugout on derby day, when Tottenham visit Arsenal, Wenger always has his way.
So can punters take advantage of Arsene’s incredible home record? The Gunners are to pick up all three points on Sunday, which you’d say was fair considering the above record, but as skinny as malnourished supermodel when you consider Tottenham’s form going into the game. The odds suggest we’re due a thriller, with under 2.5 goals trading odds-against at , but herein may lie the value Arsenal punt.
While both teams have been finding the opposition net with regular ease this year – Arsenal have scored 21 goals, Tottenham 19 – both defences have excelled in this campaign. The Gunners have the meanest defence in the league, conceding just eight times and keeping six clean sheets in 11 games, while Spurs are hardly shipping them in either. They’ve conceded just nine goals this season, and kept four clean sheets themselves, making Sunday’s clash a battle between first and third in this year’s defence table.
In 82 per cent of their games this year Tottenham have conceded one goal or less, while Arsenal have conceded one goal or less in 73 per cent of their top flight clashes. While over 2.5 goals is an odd-on shout, it may be wise to back unders going into this one.
Arsenal to win 1-0 therefore may be the punt that catches your eye at . Six of the Gunners’ 15 wins at home in derby games since Wenger arrived have been by a single goal, and with both teams in good form this could be another tight affair. If that’s your bread and butter bet for a lazy Sunday afternoon, there may be a chance for some jam on top with the following shot.
Arsenal have scored seven goals at home this season – six have come in the first half. They have broken the deadlock after 31 minutes against Stoke, six minutes against Manchester United, and 36 minutes at home to Everton. And they could be quick out of the blocks again, as Tottenham have conceded five goals on the road this season and four of them have come before the half hour mark. Throw in the fact that in five of the last six North London derby matches Arsenal have been 1-0 up at the break, and we’re banking on the Gunners being a goal to the good at the oranges on Sunday.
A little punt on Arsenal 1-0 at half-time and Arsenal 1-0 full-time at could give you a little run for your money and a little bit of spice on a chilled out Sunday.
Whatever happens, it doesn’t look like Arsene Wenger will be getting dethroned anytime soon…
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