Sunday Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction for Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Back Spurs Early in North London Derby (Sept. 26)
James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: Harry Kane.
Arsenal vs. Spurs Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -125)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBCSN | fuboTV|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.|
Sunday’s match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will make the 204th edition of one of English football’s most bitter, storied rivalries.
The clubs’ stadiums are separated by just four miles in North London. Arsenal had its run as a mainstay in the Premier League’s top four and Champions League, but haven’t finished ahead of Tottenham in five seasons and counting.
Spurs had their journey to the Champions League final and nearly won the EPL crown in back-to-back seasons, but those years are in the past. At present, both have had a disappointing start to the 2021-22 campaign coming off subpar seasons.
Instead of competing for fourth like years past, these teams have found themselves well below the top four and battled on the final Sunday in May for seventh place instead.
If you look at the English top flight’s expected goals numbers, Arsenal and Spurs both sit deep in the red and bottom five in the table.
Recent form points to Arsenal, who have won two consecutive games, while Spurs lost to Chelsea and Crystal Palace in consecutive 3-0 defeats. However, Tottenham showed in their Carabao Cup victory over Wolves and the first half against Chelsea they can play better soccer with their best midfielders in the lineup, until they ran out of gas due to lacking match fitness.
There’s a strong case that neither team is nearly as bad as their underlying numbers and that injuries, fixtures and fitness issues are the main reasons both have had poor starts.
Arsenal Showing Some Signs of Progress
It wasn’t that long ago that Arsenal lost 2-0 to Brentford; 2-0 to Chelsea; and, 5-0 to Manchester City in its first three matches of the season. The Gunners went into the international break with no goals or points.
Manager Mikel Arteta’s side came back and managed consecutive 1-0 wins over a pair of teams toward the bottom of the table in Norwich City and Burnley.
Arteta has stabilized Arsenal and their performances have improved. When teams let them have the ball and play their slow, possession-based soccer, the Gunners are a pretty good team. When they’re put under pressure, have to play without the ball or defend deep, they’re not.
Arsenal still only have one convincing performance under their belt this season, though, and it came against Norwich City. The Gunners were outshot at Burnley and finished about even in the xG battle.
Inconsistent Spurs Looking for Complete Effort
One major reason for Spurs’ terrible attacking numbers to begin the season were that the performances from Heung-min Son and Harry Kane at the top of Tottenham’s frontline were bad. Kane had a busy summer with England at the European Championships, plus his uncertain future in the news for most of August.
Kane returned late to Spurs and his performances suffered. He was poor against Wolves, Watford and Crystal Palace, against whom he attempted just two total shots and didn’t score any goals. For a striker who has averaged more than three shots per 90 minutes his whole career at Tottenham, that’s almost zero production.
The England captain did manage two shots against Chelsea and three in the Carabao Cup against Wolves, both signs that he’s improving.
Tottenham played their best two halves of the season against Chelsea and Wolves in the respective first halves now that Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele were able to do more pressing, as well as progressive passing, in the midfield. Both had dealt with injuries, fitness issues and quarantine rules.
Tottenham’s xG numbers as a whole — like Arsenal’s — are really bad. Both are around -0.70 xG difference per 90 minutes, but the sample size is way too small to judge the teams given the differences in lineups and opponents.
Spurs’ six first-half shots against an elite defense in Chelsea is a sign that for at least a half, they should be lined closer to a Pick’em against the Gunners. Combine that with Kane trending upward, and Spurs’ attack should be improved.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Arsenal and Tottenham have the lowest pressing success rates in the league, but the latter had their best game of the season in last week’s game against Chelsea. This was especially true in the first half when Spurs overwhelmed the Blues in the midfield and outplayed one of the league’s best teams before Chelsea was the dominant side the final 30 minutes.
When Spurs play Ndombele and Lo Celso, they have the better midfield in this matchup — especially in the first hour — before fitness issues become a concern.
Bookmakers aren’t really taking into account Spurs’ ability to keep up pressure on Arsenal early before wearing down, and thus they’re undervalued in the opening half of this game. The Gunners should have a nervy start if Spurs come out and apply pressure before growing into the game.
I’ll be waiting for lineups to make a play on this game and looking to back Tottenham in the first half.
Pick: Spurs Draw No Bet — First Half (+125)