Great Odin’s Raven, Christian Eriksen is spectacular at football! Tottenham’s Danish playmaker was omnipotent throughout the Crystal Palace match and put in a sensational shift when Spurs needed him the most. With Tottenham anxiously searching for a breakthrough, Eriksen had the only goal and match-winner, yet was truly fantastic for ninety minutes. Simply put, it was among the most important individual performances of the season and among the greatest outings of Christian Eriksen’s Spurs career.
It cannot be stated how massive that win really was. Sandwiched between two blockbuster London derbies, with cups and decades long narratives at stake, back-to-back losses would rattle anyone heading into a fixture that is as gargantuan as Sunday’s. With the win Spurs retain their stronghold on second place and remain within striking distance of top of the table Chelsea. With the Manchester Derby draw, Tottenham have put nine and ten points between themselves and City and United, while also maintaining an eight point lead over Liverpool, having played one less game. Sixth placed Arsenal, playing just one match less than Tottenham Hotspur, sit fourteen points behind their North London rivals. MIND THE GAP!
This is far from a vintage Arsenal side, but the second half of their season, as chronicled by every soccer website known to humankind, has been really bad. Their embarrassment to Bayern Munich is the most obvious example of the drudgery they’ve been capable of, but they’ve just simply lost an unusual amount of games over the past few months. Since January they’ve fell to Watford, Chelsea, Liverpool, Munich twice, West Brom, and Crystal Palace. They’ve also dropped points to Bournemouth and City in that span. This, and the fact that they’ve looked disinterested and apathetic for stretches in many of these matches, and Arsenal F.C. look in disarray. That said, they’ve been pretty good in the last week. An FA Cup victory over City has breathed some life back into their season and a midweek win at Leicester kept them within striking distance of the top four.
Arsenal, as always, have real talent going forward. Alexis, however many rows he has with Arsene Wenger, is a bonafide superstar and a handful in the attack. Mesut Ozil can disappear for games at a time, but also, when motivated, be world-class. Though its important to note that he is never quite as good as Dele Alli. Coquelin still plays for Arsenal, which is weird, and their defense can kind of be all over the place. Depending on the match they can be stout or careless, yet with forty goals against, they are far from formidable.
The nerves in this one have arrived early. A win all but secures a finish above the Scum and keeps us in the hunt for first place, while a loss keeps Arsenal close to the top four and provides them with a revolting amount of ammunition to talk smack against Spurs over the summer; even with their dismal 2016-17 campaign. Its the last North London derby at White Hart Lane and the single most important North London Derby that I can remember — the energy on the pitch will be extraordinary. BRING IT ON!
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. (UK), 11:30 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Michael Oliver
TV: NBCSN (USA), Sky Sports 1/HD (UK), BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky Go UK (UK), Sportsnet World, Sportsnet World Now (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
Mauricio Pochettino indicated that Danny Rose is getting closer and closer to a return, but that he is unlikely to suit-up for this weekend’s match-up against Arsenal. This is expected, but nonetheless disappointing news. There aren’t too many players who I’d trust more than Danny Rose in a North London derby, especially one of this magnitude.
If my memory serves me correctly, the first time Spurs trotted out the 3-4-3 lineup this season was in November in our match against Arsenal at the Emirates. It pumped the breaks on the poor October form we had showed and the club hasn’t really looked back since. For this reason, I think Sonny is the odd man out and we start with the three center-back set.
Walker and Davies will start out wide, with Dier, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen comprising the back three. Mousa Dembélé and Victor Wanyama will look to boss the center of the park, [Ed: assuming he plays!] while Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane look to cause havoc further up the pitch.
Brian Mechanick dropped a Christian Eriksenesque Prediction League performance and foresaw the exact scoreline in Spurs’ 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. He has now joined GN Punk at the top of the table. Everyone else predicted a win, a faithful lot we all are. Five games left!
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop||17|
Dustin Menno: This is quite possibly the biggest NLD I can remember. My nerves are already shot and I'm considering starting to drink now. And while the #narrative is strong, I can't pick against Spurs at home. Kane gets a brace and a header from Toby Alderweireld. Spurs 3-0.
Matthew Pachniuk: Can’t see it not being frenetic. Spurs concede early, but get four back unanswered and Shang Tsung the souls of the Scum. Its going to be the best. 4-1 Spurs.
Jake Meador: Spurs 2, Arsenal 1.
Alex Greenberg: The big one. Spurs finally get that monkey off their back for the first time in 21 years. What a day (I hope) it's going to be. 2-0 Tottenham.
Brian Mechanick: Why do I have confidence on this one. This disappointment is inevitable. Eff it, Go Spurs. A nervy 1-0 Spurs win.
GN Punk: Lots of stress. Lots of breathing heavily into a paper bag. But, Spurs get it done and dance on the corpse of St. Totteringham's Day. 3-1 good guys.
Pardeep Cattry: I'll play it safe (somewhat) and say that it'll be a tight match, but Spurs will prevail. Tottenham 2-1.