By Toyin Akiode


Tides seem to have turned in the North London derby. Unlike the past, Arsenal are now the underdogs in this keenly contested local derby that had produced many outstanding games in the past.

Now, Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane trailing their bitter rivals by 14 massive points. Many die hard Gooners have also agreed that there won’t be any ‘St. Totteringham’ day celebrations this season as Tottenham are firmly in control of their destiny.

To wit, they are not only assured of Champions League qualification but also in contention to knock Chelsea off their perch if the Blues falters in critical moments.

Some had pointed out that the Tottenham of today plays like the Arsenal of yesterday when the likes of Patrick Viera, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljunberg and of course, Thierry Henry were the names on the sheet.

While Arsenal have struggled significantly this season to beat top oppositions except Chelsea and Manchester City in the FA Cup, Tottenham have been incredible in their performance. Almost impervious at White Hart Lane, they are equally strong on their travels.

Mauricio Pochettino has come good with a collection of some of the finest players in the English Premiership.

Dele Alli is England’s best young player for the second year in a row. He is arguably one of the best and most promising prospects in the world.

Upfront, Tottenham have red hot Harry Kane leading the line. Backed with Korean super talent, Heung Son Min and Christian Eriksen, goals have poured in torrents!

Amazingly, Arsenal’s rivals have mastered the art of defending which seems to have eluded the Gunners. Tottenham have the best defense in the league with only 22 goals conceded in 33 matches.

Head to Head

Arsenal face an uphill task at the Lane on Sunday. It is as simple as that!

If they want to win, they will have to put in extra effort and generate the firepower to subdue a highly mobile Spurs at home.

The Gunners have winners in their ranks. Unfortunately, they have floundered in pivotal moments and let their guards down when they needed to stand to be counted.

Alexis Sanchez is the standout star for Arsenal and expectations will be that he should deliver the goods come Sunday. Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech know what this derby means to the fans.

Arsenal won’t win the league. Tottenham are in the mix and have a chance.

However, the fans will not forget, at least until the next one, who is the King in North London and this is what drives the intensity of this derby!

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