Arsenal head to fierce North London rivals Tottenham in what could prove to be a season-defining fixture. The Gunners could achieve the ultimate treble with a victory here. First, they would please the fans with a victory, obviously. They would also kill off Spurs Champions League hopes. The cherry on top would the confirmation of their own passage to UEFA’s top tier at the same time.
Arsenal might have won their fourth match on the spin last time out, but they made hard work of it. They seemed to coast after Eddie Nketiah’s brace in the opening ten minutes. When Luke Ayling was sent off with less than thirty minutes played, the result was a foregone conclusion.
Diego Llorente scored in the 66th minute to make it a nervy last half hour for the Gunners.
To their credit, they hung on and collected all three points.
This fixture could be career-defining for Mikel Arteta as a manager. As highly rated as his Gunners squad is, few had them finishing in the Champions League places this season. When you add to that the horrific start they had this season in the league, what he has gotten out of this squad is nothing short of incredible.
Tottenham vs Arsenal
When is it? Thursday, May 12th, 2022 7.45 PM UK Time.
Where is it? Tottenham Stadium, London.
Who’s in form? Tottenham (WLDWD) Arsenal (DWWWW)
What are the odds? Tottenham (+115) Arsenal (+240) Draw (+250)
Starting XI Prediction: Tottenham Arsenal
Starting XI Prediction
Aaron Ramsdale starts as the Gunners’ number one in this match. He has received some mild criticism in recent weeks, but he is the best gloveman in Mikel Arteta’s squad.
The defense might have a makeshift look about it again in this clash. I think Ben White returns to the starting XI, but not at center-back. I think he starts at right back. He has a better chance of stopping Heung Min-Son than Cedric Soares does. That means Rob Holding keeps his spot alongside Gabriel in the center of the Gunners’ defense.
Japanese international Takehiro Tomiyasu will fill in at left back yet again.
Former Gunners captain Granit Xhaka will be one of two players anchoring the Arsenal midfield. The other will be Egyptian international Mohamed Elneny. Elneny’s Arsenal career has been rejuvenated in recent weeks. He has taken the opportunity presented to him by the injury to Thomas Partey with both hands.
Ahead of those two in a more attacking role will be Norwegian superstar Martin Odegaard.
Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will provide the width in attack. If it is not Martinelli, then expect Emile Smith Rowe to play in his place. I am sticking with the Brazilian for now, though.
Eddie Nketiah keeps his place after his two-goal performance against Leeds.
This is tricky. Arsenal has won their last four matches on the bounce. Yet they haven’t convinced with their performances. Tottenham’s form line isn’t as pretty, but their performances have been better. I think the home-ground advantage will be telling in this match. I am going with Tottenham to keep the top four race alive with a 1-0 victory.
Stuart Kavanagh is an up-and-coming sports journalist from Melbourne, Australia. Along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website thepyrrhic.com, he is also the co-host of the ‘After Extra Time’ podcast. Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.