Three games down and two to go. In the gauntlet that is Spurs’ February fixture list, the lilywhites have jumped out to a strong start. A massive victory over United, a difficult away point at Anfield, and a trip to the final sixteen of the FA Cup is a fine string of results over the past week. Toby Alderweireld also played, how cool is that?
Spurs remain in fifth place in the Premier League, but did well in making up ground over their competition over the past two matches. With Chelsea’s debacle against Watford, Tottenham are just one point behind the West London club who sit in fourth place. Spurs are clear of the Gooners by four points and sit behind third-placed Liverpool and second-placed Manchester United by two and six points respectively. A victory on Saturday goes a long way for Spurs’ top four ambitions, but also puts Tottenham in a great spot to finish above Arsenal for the second straight year.
Lucas Moura’s signing looks to be a smart one from Spurs, but they took a back seat to their North London rivals in terms of activity in the January transfer window. Arsenal was the most active high profile club in the window and while they lost a star and a stalwart in Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, they replaced them with some interesting players. Henrikh Mkhitaryan never settled at United, but is no doubt a talent and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is about as solid of a replacement for Alexis Sanchez that Arsenal could ask for on the open market.
If there is a knock on these signings, its that both players are approaching thirty and, maybe more importantly, they don’t address key needs of the current squad. With fifty-one goals to their name, Arsenal surely aren’t in sixth place because of their goal production. They are level with Spurs and United in this stat and five ahead of Chelsea. Its their inconsistent midfield and defense which has allowed thirty-five goals on the season, the same numbers Brighton, and more than the likes of Leicester City and Burnley, who have given up less.
Granit Xhaka someone to contend with in midfield, though he is near the top of the league in fouls and can be reckless. If he is on his game though, Arsenal usually follow suit. Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, and Ozil are a flat out dangerous trio and Wenger’s build-up play and overall flow remains attractive when their squad is clicking. Quetions remain elsewhere though. Ramsey hasn’t been wonderful of late, Wilshere *actually* features for the Gooners on a regular basis, and the team is prone to dumb mistakes. If Spurs can stay organized against Arsenal’s attack, they have a fantastic opportunity to take three points on Saturday.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, February 10, 12:30 (UK), 7:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Official: Anthony Taylor
TV: CNBC (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK), TSN5 (Canada), SBS/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
As Dustin posted a few days ago, EVERYTHING IS GREAT on the injury front. With Toby in contention, Tottenham have the opportunity to trot out in their favored 3-4-3 formation. Alderweireld is simply a player who doesn’t miss out on big matches when he is healthy, so I think its a near certainty that he features on Saturday. The squad rotation of outside backs looks to continue and Kieran Trippier was pretty impressive against a difficult Liverpool attack, so I surprising don’t hate this call. The last question for Saturday’s lineup revolves around our central midfielders. Eric Dier was pretty bad against Liverpool, while Victor Wanyama was decidedly not. Yet Wanyama started midweek and I think that is all we need to know about who feature against the Scum.
The lineup is as follows then: Toby, Sanchez, and Jan across the back three, with Trippier and Davies at the wing-back spots. Moose and Dier will start in center midfield, as poor Son Heung-Min heads to the bench, in favor of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. Harry Kane will start up top because he is a golden god.
2-2 was a popular prediction for that result and four people - Joe Patrick, Pardeep Cattry, GN Punk, and Jake Meador - take the spoils for the matchday. Menno and Pardeep are now tied at the top.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop
Dustin Menno: Spurs are fully healthy and are playing pretty well during a tough stretch. Plus, Tottenham have a decent amount of experience containing Aubameyang already this season. 3-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: These games always seem so exciting from far away when you don’t have to mentally prepare to actually watch the match. Now that we are a day away, I already hate myself for caring so damn much about the result. Fork Arsenal, Spurs 3-0.
Jake Meador: I am cautiously optimistic. 2-0 to Spurs.
GN Punk: We’re playing well. We’re healthy. It’s at home. There’s no reason to think this won’t be different than November. Spurs 3-1
Pardeep Cattry: Spurs, seemingly, have less kinks to work out than their rivals. Tottenham 3-1.
Skipjack: 3-3 Arsenal’s recent spike in value might last a bit but eventually they’ll come crashing down to earth.
Ed F: I’m not gonna lie, Arsenal with PEA and Mkhi on board scare me. I don’t think Spurs are going to blow this one but I also don’t think we’ll get the result we want either. 1-1.
Earl of Shoop: Gonna be a fun one. Spurs 3-1
Salmon Chase: TBD
Alex Greenberg: 2-1 Spurs because...well I don’t know. I just really need this.
Joe Patrick: 2-0 Tottenham. I’m fairly confident that our cohesive back line will catch Auba offside consistently. Dropping deep like Everton did (bc they have slow-ass Ashley Williams) is about the worst thing you can do, and they paid for it.
Nathan Giannini: I’ve watched Harry’s goal from the 2016 game at WHL about 100 times this week. In the past, I was always just happy to have one goal where we went ahead or tied the game so I could lose my mind like that. Screw that. Now I want to destroy them. PEA and Mkhi be damned, 3-0 Spurs.
Joel Wertheimer: Spurs have the healthiest and deepest squad we’ve had under Poche, Arsenal are integrating Auba and still don’t have a midfield. I hate that I feel this way but, uh, we’re gonna smash ‘em. 4-2 Spurs.
Bryan A: TBD