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Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the Premier League table ahead of the derby
Tottenham Hotspur are enduring an inconsistent campaign under Antonio Conte
With no love lost between these north London clubs, this will be a must-watch game
The odds for Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal are provided by the Caesars sportsbook, where punters will get a $1500 risk-free bet if they sign up and start betting.
Mikel Arteta’s men are flying high and they can lay down a marker here with a win at the home of their arch-rivals.
Back Arsenal to beat Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby this weekend. (+114)
Rewind eight months and not many Arsenal fans could have imagined their team being in this position in the middle of January 2023.
Last season ended badly for the Gunners. With 12 games remaining, they were fourth in the Premier League table.
Their lead over fifth-placed Manchester United was just one point, but Mikel Arteta’s men had three games in hand on the Red Devils. The Spaniard admitted that his team were “obliged” to qualify for the Champions League from that position.
They did not. Arsenal lost exactly half of those 12 remaining matches. The nail in the coffin for their top-four chances was a 2-0 defeat by Newcastle United at St James’ Park, but even more damaging was a 3-0 loss to Tottenham a few days prior. In the end, it was Spurs who grabbed the final Champions League spot from under their rivals’ noses.
At the start of this season, Arsenal were tipped to once again miss out on the top four. Yet as we approach the midway point of the campaign, Champions League soccer is probably in the bag already. Arsenal’s focus is actually the title. Ahead of this weekend’s north London derby, they have a five-point lead at the summit of the standings.
It has been a magnificent effort from Arsenal up to now. The best online sportsbooks still favor Manchester City in the title race, but Arteta’s side have given themselves a genuine chance of odds-defying glory.
The Gunners have played some wonderful soccer at times this term, but they have also shown the grit and resilience that all champions need.
They have the second-best defensive record in the division and have only lost one game, a somewhat unfortunate 3-1 defeat by Manchester United. Sunday’s north London derby provides Arsenal with another chance to demonstrate their mettle.
Before a ball had been kicked this term, Tottenham were seen as more probable title contenders than Arsenal. Their manager Antonio Conte is a proven winner, having lifted titles as manager of Juventus, Chelsea, and Inter. Spurs were considered to have the best chance of breaking the Manchester City-Liverpool duopoly that has dominated the English game in the last few years.
Things have not gone entirely to plan, however. As Conte has pointed out - and his argument certainly has merit - it is somewhat unfair to expect Spurs to be contending for the title. They have not won the league since 1961, and have not lifted a trophy of any kind since an unremarkable EFL Cup triumph in 2008.
It is clear now that Tottenham will not be winning the title this season. Even the top four is by no means a given. Spurs are currently fifth in the standings, two points behind Manchester United despite having played a game more at the time of writing.
The last few months have been tough for Conte’s side. Remarkably for a team with Champions League aspirations, they have not won back-to-back Premier League games since October. Half of their last eight matches in the top flight have ended in defeat.
A 4-0 thumping of Crystal Palace last week, followed by a 1-0 defeat of Portsmouth in the FA Cup, offers hope that Tottenham have turned a corner. But tougher tests lie ahead, starting with Sunday’s north London derby. Spurs still have plenty to prove this season.
Arsenal were superb in the first meeting between these teams this season, running out 3-1 winners at the start of October. It was the type of performance that showed they meant business this season, but a derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is patently a tougher assignment for Arsenal than one at the Emirates Stadium.
Yet the evidence from the season to date suggests that this Arsenal - which contains just as much steel as skill - will not be fazed by a trip across town. This is a team that has already beaten Liverpool, Chelsea, and Spurs this season. Of their 17 Premier League fixtures, Arsenal have won 14.
The mere fact that the Gunners are the favorites in an away game at Tottenham speaks volumes about the progress they have made since they lost 3-0 to the same opponents last May.
The Spurs crowd has been understandably frustrated with the team of late, and Arsenal can use that to their advantage. The home fans could even turn on the team if they go a goal down.
Arteta’s men will need to dig deep to emerge victorious, but we believe they have what it takes to do just that. Back an Arsenal win in what will be a must-watch game on Sunday.
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Teams: Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England.
Date and Time: Sunday 15 January 2023, 11:30 AM EST
How to Watch: Peacock Premium
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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