Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

Tottenham Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League title charge could rest on picking up all three points at home to arch-rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

Premier League
30 April 2017
Matchday 35
Kickoff: 17:30
Venue: White Hart Lane

Referee: M. Oliver
Assistants: S. Bennett, J. Collin
Fourth official: A. Marriner

Head-to-head summary:

Tottenham Hotspur 166 51 47 68
Arsenal 166 68 47 51

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (06/11/2016) Premier League

Arsenal goalscorers: K. Wimmer (OG 42′)
Tottenham Hotspur goalscorers: H. Kane (PG 51′)

Players to watch:

No one player in the Arsenal team can claim to instill more fear in their opponents than Chilean striker Alexis Sánchez. The 28-year-old has 24 goals in 44 games in all competitions, although one negative against him is that he has struggled to find the net against the so-called bigger sides this season.

Christian Eriksen came to Spurs’ rescue with a sensational strike to secure a much-needed 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last time out, and will surely be the man the hosts will look to for their creative spark, and to feed striker Harry Kane, who is certainly a man for the big occasions.

Team form and manager quotes:

Arsenal come into this game in sixth place, but on the back of two league wins that has reignited their fight for a Champions League place – four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United. After a woeful run of form, Arsene Wenger changed to three at the back and defeated Middlesbrough 1-0 and Leicester 1-0, while seeing off Manchester City in extra-time in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Ahead of this match, Wenger said: “I expect an open match, a committed match, a match with high pace. There could be goals because both teams play positive football, try to go forward and play in an offensive way. Normally that finishes with goals if you look at the quality of players on both sides.

“The priority for us is to finish in the top four. After that, for the pride and the continuity or our achievements, yes we want to fight to be in front of Spurs. We have to focus on what is really important to us at this moment, which is to finish in the top four.”

Tottenham’s run of eight Premier League wins means they come into this match just four points behind leaders Chelsea, with five games to play.

They last lost against Chelsea in the FA Cup semis, but bounced back with a 1-0 win over Palace on Wednesday.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said he isn’t interested in where his side finish in relation to Arsenal – while at the same time expressing his desire for Premier League success.

He said: “I completely understand, but I’m so honest and my feeling is now that when you’re so close to Chelsea — the gap only four points with five games to play — I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t win the title.

“I repeat: My challenge is not to be above Arsenal. My challenge is to be above 19 teams, and to be the first, on top. That is my challenge, my aim, my dream. I don’t care what happens with Arsenal. With all my respect, I care about what happens with us. I try to win every game and be the best. That is our big, big challenge.”

Team news:

Arsenal will hand a late fitness test to Laurent Koscielny (knee), but Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) and Santi Cazorla (plantaris) are out.

Spurs will probably have to do without Moussa Dembele (ankle) as well as Michel Vorm (knee), while Harry Winks (ankle), Danny Rose (knee) and Erik Lamela (hip) remain long-term injury absentees.