We go again. The North London Derby has arrived, and it's put Tottenham in a familiar position as they head to the Emirates on Sunday: in the role of underdog. Arsenal are flying high, winners of 10 of their last 11 matches. Meszut Özil is experiencing a wonderful run of form. They're performing well in all competitions. Everything's coming up Arsenal.
Then there's Spurs. Injury-afflicted, demoralized, exhausted. They're winless in their last six matches in all competitions, and are coming off of one of their worst performances of the season that resulted in a 1-0 Champions League loss to Bayer Leverkusen. This was supposed to be a titanic battle between two fantastic teams competing for the Premier League title.
And while Spurs are still in the title hunt, just three points off the top, with the best defense in the league and still unbeaten in Premier League play, it sure feels like they're the mid-table Spurs of the early 2000s coming up against powerhouse Arsenal. The defense is solid, but they've scored just three goals (one from the run of play) in their last six games.
But here's the thing about the North London Derby: you throw that narrative out the window when you play the Gunners. The last two league matches between these two were hard-fought draws, and even if on paper Arsenal have the advantage, much worse Tottenham teams have gotten results against much better Arsenal sides.
Plus, here's the wild card: Harry Kane. The golden boot holder has been cleared to play on Sunday (if not start) and you better believe he'll be fired up to score against Arsenal. Because that's what he does: he scores against Arsenal. I expect us to see Harry Kane on the pitch on Sunday, even if it's just for a cameo.
So, no Toby Alderweireld? No Erik Lamela? No Mousa Dembele? No problem. It's the Derby. Let's play.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, November 6, 2016, noon (UK), 7:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Emirates Stadium, North London, UK
Official: Mark Clattenburg
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), NBC Universo / Telemundo (USA - Spanish), BT Sport 1 (UK), TSN (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Well, that’s the real question, isn’t it? Toby Alderweireld is out again, which means Eric Dier comes back in his place beside Jan Vertonghen. But Pochettino almost always rotates his fullbacks after a midweek match. That implies Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier, and whoof, I don’t like to think about Trippier going up against Hector Bellerin.
Pochettino has already said that Erik Lamela is out for Sunday, which means that the forward attacking band more or less picks itself. Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Son Heung-Min will all start, guaranteed. Whether that's behind Vincent Janssen, Harry Kane, or both remains to be seen: Poche says that Kane is ready to play, but is he ready to start?
The center of midfield is the bigger question. If Moussa Dembele is ready to go, I think he starts. If he's not, then we could see either Eriksen or Alli drop deep into a double pivot beside Wanyama, or switch to a counterattacking 4-1-4-1 with Wanyama in the destroyer role (and pray he passes well).
In short, this lineup is most emphatically ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ so here's my hilariously wrong guess.
It was a big day for people who predicted draws. Pardeep, Skipjack, Jake, and Mechanick all nailed the 1-1 draw against Leicester, which means we have a new leader at the top of the table. A reminder of the scoring: one point for predicting the result, a bonus point if you guess the right score.
|Earl of Shoop||4|
Dustin Menno: I haven't felt this pessimistic going into a NLD since two-points-from-eight-games. I don't expect miracles, and I don't think Harry Kane will swoop in and save us. I do, however, think that Spurs are better than what they're showing and I can’t bring myself to predict a loss. 2-1 Spurs. Hi, haters.
Jake Meador: 1-1 draw. Dele scores for us.
Skipjack: 5-2 Arsenal is as predictable as the heat death of the universe.
Ben Daniels: Everything is bad and there will never be sunshine again. 3-1 Arsenal.
Pardeep Cattry: Guys, it's going to happen -- things will go from bad to worse, and Spurs will lose for the first time in league play this season to, of all teams, Arsenal. Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham
Salmon Chase: Instinct tells me to predict death but the contrarian in me knows everyone is going to do that and look at that. Score three points for the Maryland kid. Look at these Panicky Petes. These Debbie Downer's, these... Kings of New England.
But yeah still 2-0 Reds
Brian Meyers: 2016 is hell. 1-0 Arsenal
Earl of Shoop: I'm from Cleveland. Nothing in sports is good. 3-1 they who shall not be named.
GN Punk: Spurs defense is still very good. Spurs offense is not very good. It's like the irresistible force meeting the movable object....or something like that. I don't know where I was going with this. 1-1 Draw
Brian Mechanick: I feel that the Spurs defense is going to be in bunker mode, and try to frustrate deeply on the road. And heck, some negative football might not be a bad idea! 0-0 Draw
Alex Greenberg: It's a tense game with plenty of chances, slightly shaded towards Arsenal, that looks like it's going to end scoreless. With 15 minutes to go our hero arises from the subs bench, struggles to take off his warm-up bib, and returns to haunt Gooner dreams. Harry Kane comes back and shocks the world with a late winner. 1-0 Spurs.
Luke Zimmerman: TBD
Matt Pachniuk: TBD
Ed F.: TBD
Bryan A.: TBD