Arsenal vs. Tottenham Betting Preview: Back Road Team in North London Derby
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images. Pictured: Tottenham teammates celebrate a goal.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-138 / +110)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||USA Network|
|Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
It's time for one of the best rivalries in English soccer, it's Arsenal versus Tottenham in the North London Derby.
Tottenham came away with a famous 3-0 win at White Hart Lane toward the end of last season that ended up getting them into the top four and the Champions League. Because of that, Arsenal went out and spent a ton of money in the transfer market to help bridge the gap between them and the rest of the big six.
Early returns have Arsenal sitting at the top of the table with six wins and one loss, while Tottenham is sitting just one point behind them in third place. It's been 12 years since Tottenham won on the road at Arsenal, so can Spurs finally get the monkey off their back?
There are a couple of reasons why Arsenal have had this resurgence and a lot of it has to do with player personnel.
Adding Gabriel Jesus gives the Gunners a true striking option that they haven't had in a long time and Jesus has lived up to the hype. In his first six matches for Arsenal, he already has a 0.78 xG + xA per 90 rate, which would put him among the Premier League's elite if he keeps up that type of production for a full season.
Keeping William Saliba and making him a focal point of the Arsenal defense has proven to be one of Mikel Arteta's best decisions as manager.
Now, with that being said, Arsenal have only played against one "big six" side and lost 3-1 to Manchester United. What was most concerning in that match was how vulnerable Arsenal was on the counter. Manchester United was able to create 1.8 expected goals off of just 10 shots, 16 touches in the Arsenal penalty area and only holding 40% possession.
What is even scarier if you are an Arsenal fan is Antonio Conte has his Tottenham team set up as a heavy counter attacking side. So, if Arsenal had problems against Manchester United in transition, then Tottenham should be able to do even more damage.
On top of that, Arsenal's best defensive midfielder, Thomas Partey, is questionable to play Saturday.
Something weird is happening with Tottenham in the market. The Spurs have seen their odds drop around match time in each of their past five matches:
The only thing that makes sense as to why this is happening (Spurs won three of those five matches) is Antonio Conte has changed Tottenham into a heavy counter-attacking style team that isn't as pleasing to watch. However, it's been working because Spurs have a +4.3 xGD in seven matches.
Through seven matches Tottenham's sequence time is 3.85 (7th in EPL). They hold on average 49.6% possession (12th in EPL) and have 23 build up attacks, compared to 19 direct attacks.
On top of that, Tottenham's average field tilt %, which is Ball possession calculated for touches completed in final thirds, is only 40.01% — the fourth lowest in the Premier League. On top of that, their average defensive line, which is defensive actions’ average distance from the own goal (in meters), is 42.1 — 12th in the Premier League, per markstats.com.
While stylistically, the Spurs are not as possession dominant as Liverpool or Manchester City, but playing this style against Arsenal can be incredibly effective given how vulnerable Arsenal has been in transition.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The stylistic matchup does not favor Arsenal here. I believe Tottenham's defense will be able to play a low block and hit the Gunners on the counter. Additionally, since Antonio Conte took over on November 7th, Tottenham is at a +0.90 xGD per 90 minutes, while Arsenal is only at a +0.72 xGD per 90 minutes.
I only have Arsenal projected as a +145 favorite, so I like the value on Tottenham +0.5 at -124 (BetRivers)
The Pick: Tottenham +0.5 (-124)