It may only be pre-season but north London derbies are always an occasion to look forward to, and this Sunday we’re treated to the latest instalment of the old rivalry as Tottenham host Arsenal in the Mind Series tournament.
Both of these sides have already played Chelsea in the round-robin event, but neither have recorded a win after Spurs battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge and the Gunners were beaten 2-1 by Thomas Tuchel’s side at the Emirates Stadium.
Nuno Espirito Santo will probably be looking forward to the game given it’ll be two hours of his life where he doesn’t have to think about the future of Harry Kane – though he’ll probably spend the full match thinking about him and wishing he was playing, so scratch that.
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.
Kane won’t feature in Sunday’s matchday squad as he’ll be self-isolating having returned from holiday – a plight which is also expected to keep him out of Spurs’ opening Premier League fixture against Manchester City.
The only other absentee is expected to be Ryan Sessegnon who is also a doubt for Nuno’s side’s clash with City next weekend, while Pierluigi Gollini could be handed his home debut after getting the nod against Chelsea in midweek.
Japhet Tanganga’s participation is in doubt with a loan move to Galatasaray potentially on the horizon, and so Joe Rodon could be given a start having sat out the clash with the Blues.
Thomas Partey’s injury struggles since moving to Arsenal look set to continue after he picked up an ankle knock against Chelsea which threatens to rule him out for at least a month. Either Albert Sambi Lokonga or Mohamed Elneny are expected to deputise for the Ghanaian alongside Granit Xhaka.
Bukayo Saka has returned to training this week following his exploits at Euro 2020 with England, but Sunday’s clash is expected to come too soon to see his return.
Gabriel Martinelli is still away with Brazil at the Olympics and he would have been joined in Toyko by teammate Gabriel Magalhaes had the centre-back not picked up a knee injury last month. Despite not being away on international duty, Gabriel remains sidelined and shall play no part at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tottenham: Gollini; Doherty, Dier, Rodon, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Winks, Alli; Bergwijn, Son, Moura
Arsenal: Leno; Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney; Xhaka, Elneny; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
It’ll come as no surprise to hear these two sides have had their fair share of meetings over the years, with Spurs facing Arsenal a whopping 189 times.
The Gunners edge the rivalry with 78 wins to Tottenham’s 60, though in recent times it’s Spurs who’ve enjoyed the more success. In the last six meetings Arsenal’s only victory over their north London rivals came back in March as they came from behind to win 2-1.
This one feels a bit like trying to pick a winner between two drunks fighting in a car park.
Neither looked great against Chelsea in their respective first outings of the Mind Series tournament, though in fairness Spurs did somehow manage to salvage a draw from their poor display.
Both sides are in something of a period of transition as they look to freshen up their squad and challenge at the top end of the table, and so we can imagine this being a bit of a disjointed game – something which won’t be helped by the fact you’re allowed to make 341 substitutes-per-game – with the two teams ultimately cancelling each other out.
Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Arsenal