Whilst Leicester City grab the headlines for continuing to top the league table, their two biggest rivals for the title are going head to head this weekend, in a clash that runs much deeper than a pair of title contenders battling it out.
Tottenham vs Arsenal. The North London Derby. A match that always gets hearts racing and passions soaring (not to mention the news feed on my Facebook turning decidedly heated). Arsenal have not finished below Spurs since the mid 90s (1995, if memory serves me right), but Tottenham are looking a much better side than they have in years, so much so in fact that they have earned the right to be taken seriously as title challengers. Arsenal have drawn one and lost three in all competitions – Spurs may have lost to West Ham in midweek, but prior to that had won their last six league games.
As a Liverpool fan I am for the most part neutral in this one, but with my dad, mum, brother, father-in-law and brother-in-law all supporting Tottenham (and my wife is somewhat fond of them too, as are numerous friends), I would not begrudge them a win at the weekend and even the title. I would prefer Leicester to win it (on the grounds that, unless it’s Liverpool I favour the underdog), but Spurs would be a good alternative.
Can they best Arsenal at the weekend? On the basis of pure form, I’d say yes, but the nature of derbies is such that teams play differently under the unique pressure of such a game, and this one is all the bigger, seeing as the loser’s title hopes could take a serious knock. It’s Arsenal who are under the greater expectation, and coming off the back of two poor performances, they sorely need a win to get their charge back on track. Tottenham are playing with confidence and might well fancy their chances, but history is not on their side.
My prediction? 2-1 to Spurs.