Pre-Match Report

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

Sunday will see us lock horns with Tottenham Hotspur in the 195th north London derby, as we aim to get the win necessary to keep our title push going.

You have to go back to 1988 and George Graham’s tenure for the last time we recorded back-to-back wins at the home of our neighbours, but we’ll be heading to N17 full of confidence on the back of our longest run without conceding on the road in our league history, helping us to remain unbeaten in our last six domestic trips.

That’s in stark contrast to Spurs who have kept just two clean sheets at home all season, but they have had the benefit of a 15-day build-up to this game. We have played four times since their 4-0 loss to Newcastle United, but Ange Postecoglu will throw everything into this game in an attempt to rekindle their ambitions of a Champions League return.

Leaky Spurs losing ground

Tottenham react to conceding at Newcastle

Postecoglu’s reign began impressively, as he guided his side to 26 points from the first 30 on offer to top the table at the end of October. However, five winless games followed and saw them drop out of the top four to start a six-month-long battle to regain a foothold in the race for a Champions League place.

A huge 4-0 win at rivals Aston Villa in March kept them in the hunt, but since then they have suffered a 3-0 loss to Fulham and the aforementioned thrashing at the hands of the Magpies. A pair of laboured wins against Luton Town and Nottingham Forest does mean Spurs have won eight of their last nine at home in the league, scoring in each of their last 25 on their own patch.

But that doesn’t tell the whole tale as they haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 12 Premier League home games, their longest run for nearly 20 years. In fact, only struggling Burnley and Sheffield United have kept fewer home clean sheets than Spurs.

What the managers say

Arteta: “We have to look at ourselves and try to perform in the best possible way to win our matches and I can’t wait to see what happens. I think this league is tremendously demanding and there can be still a lot of turns.

“We all know how difficult it is to win games in this league. We had a big one in the last London derby against Chelsea and now we have another big one. I’m sure if we’re going to [win the league], we’re going to have to beat Spurs as well.” - read every word from Mikel's pre-match press conference

Ange Postecoglou

Postecoglu: “We understand the importance, particularly at home, in these kind of games against our biggest rival and in the biggest derby not letting our opponent get on top of us. We understand the consequences of that but ultimately it’s still about us measuring ourselves against the teams we want to be challenging on a more consistent basis.

“There’s great meaning to the points for both clubs, then what's happened previously, whether that's the immediate past or further back, becomes irrelevant. Because you know it's going to be a tough game, have a bit of an edge to it, have an atmosphere. And you've just got to make sure you get ready to match those levels with a performance.”

Team news

jurrien timber

Jurrien Timber returned to action on Monday night in an under-21 game at Blackburn Rovers and continues to be monitored as Arteta hopes to have him back in his matchday squad before the end of the season.

Spurs suffered a setback this week with left-back Destiny Udoge requiring surgery on a quadricep and is set to miss three months, while Oliver Skipp has also been ruled out of the derby after picking up a knock.

Having missed the last two games, Richarlison trained this week and will be available for selection, as will Pedro Porro who was forced off with an issue at Newcastle. However Manor Solomon (knee), Fraser Forster (foot) and Ryan Sessegnon (knee) all remain out.

Talking tactics

Heung-min Son and Brennan Johnson celebrate a goal

Adrian Clarke: Postecoglou has repeatedly insisted that his philosophy is set in stone. They will line up in a 4-2-3-1 and from that base they will try to play fast, possession-based football. Spurs average more than a 62 per cent share of the ball, which is second only to Manchester City, so we may have to spend certain spells keeping a robust shape out of possession.

Off the ball they will squeeze their back four up to the halfway line in the hope of crowding space and upsetting our passing rhythm. When this ploy works it can have a suffocating effect, and statistically, Spurs do break up play with a defensive action every 8.8 passes; the joint-best record in the division. If we play our way past the press Tottenham's high defensive line can be exposed and look vulnerable.

The absence of Porro and Udogie may impact the balance, but in forward areas they are blessed with plenty of talent. James Maddison is a top-class No.10 who creates two chances per 90 minutes in open play. Brennan Johnson and Timo Werner have blistering pace on counters, and Son Heung-Min remains a lethal finisher. His conversion rate this term stands at an impressive 28 per cent.

Our job will be to quieten down a vociferous home crowd by controlling the match inside Tottenham territory. Chasing three points, we need to supply our forwards with as much quality service as possible in advanced areas.

Facts and stats

Bukayo Saka scores against Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have won just one of their last six league games against us, with their four defeats in this run as many as they’d suffered in the previous 16.

Spurs have conceded 49 Premier League goals this season and could concede 50+ in back-to-back campaigns for the first time since 2015.

Up to the end of 2015/16, Arsenal v Tottenham was the most drawn fixture in Premier League history, with 20 of the 48 meetings ending level (42 per cent). Since then, just four of 15 matches have finished in a draw (27 per cent).

We have lost just one of our last 11 away London derbies in the league since the start of last season (W8 D2), keeping a clean sheet in all eight of those victories.

We have kept a clean sheet in our last six Premier League away games, with only two sides ever doing so in seven (Chelsea and Manchester United, both in 2008/09). However, we have never kept a clean sheet in consecutive league visits to Spurs.

Guglielmo Vicario could become only the second goalkeeper to concede 50+ goals in his debut Premier League season with Spurs, after Neil Sullivan in 2000/01 (51).

In Premier League history, no side has dropped more points from winning positions against a single opponent than Tottenham have against us (45).

Son Heung-Min has 24 goal involvements in his last 26 league appearances. He has either scored (6) or assisted (2) eight of Tottenham’s last 12 goals against us.

Brennan Johnson has had a hand in nine goals across his last 15 Premier League games (4 goals, 5 assists), with five of those goal involvements coming from the bench.

Bukayo Saka could become the first Arsenal player to score home and away against Spurs in a single campaign since Alexandre Lacazette in 2019/20 and the first Englishman to do so since Ian Wright in 1993/94.

Martin Odegaard has been involved in six goals in his last six Premier League away games, scoring three and assisting three.

Match officials

Michael Oliver

For the fifth time this campaign Michael Oliver is in charge of one of our matches, with the previous four all being at Emirates Stadium. He presided over wins against Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Burnley before the 2-0 loss to West Ham United in December when Tomas Soucek scored in controversial fashion before the Hammers were also awarded a late penalty.

Oliver has overseen three Tottenham matches this term, ending with them winning one, drawing one and losing one. His last visit to their corner of north London saw Chelsea win 4-1 in November, when he sent off Cristian Romero and Udogie - indeed no official has dismissed more players in the Premier League this term.

Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Dan Cook
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Previous visits to Spurs

Last season saw us claim a first league victory at Tottenham since 2014 as a Hugo Lloris own goal and a fine Martin Odegaard strike saw us claim a 2-0 win in January 2023. That means Arteta could become the first Arsenal manager to win consecutive away league games at Tottenham since George Graham back in the late 1980s.

That victory helped slay the ghosts of our previous encounters at Spurs’ new home, including the painful 3-0 loss in May 2022, while the home side also claimed 2-0 and 2-1 successes in the other meetings at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, a little over 20 years to the day that we won the league at White Hart Lane, we’ll be hoping for another incredible afternoon to help try and clinch a first league title since those Invincible days.

Take a look at that game, plus five other memorable away wins at Spurs’ expense

Live coverage

Breakdown Live

Log on to and the official app (download now) an hour before kick-off as Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke help to ease your pre-match nerves with Breakdown Live.

They'll be unpicking our opponents' strengths and weaknesses to try and determine who will come out on top of the game, as well as reflecting on our incredible 5-0 win against Chelsea and discussing the latest surrounding our women's and academy teams.

Then at kick-off, Dan Roebuck and Josh James will provide live commentary to keep you abreast of all the goings-on as we aim to clinch the derby day bragging rights.

You can also find out which broadcasters are showing the action wherever you are in the world

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