Match Preview: Spurs v Woolwich Plastic Gunners (we must be positive)

Match Preview: Spurs v Woolwich Plastic Gunners (we must be positive; we can end in the top four)

Before we go into the Woolwich game, let us take a moment and discuss Kane’s future. There has been some speculation in the press (and amongst fans) that Kane will stay – and sign an extended contract – if Levy backs Conte in the transfer window. So, Kane will stay if Levy backs the team; if not, I can see both going, and we are left in the shit again! Kane has been very impressed with Conte so far in how he has changed Tottenham’s fortunes around since he became our Head Coach.

Remember that old motto; to accumulate, you need to speculate. We are all hoping that Levy does just that, give Conte the resources to put us in a better position to challenge for top honours… so over to you, Mr Levy… put your hands in your deep pockets and splash the cash. Or, if he doesn’t think he is up to the job, he should sell his stake in Tottenham… along with Joe Lewis. We don’t want just takers at the club… but people committed to the team and our history.

Anyway, this is a season-defining North London derby for both clubs as we face off against bitter rivals Woolwich-Dial-Square-Gunners. We all know that the plastic-Woolwich-Gunners start the day one place and four points better off than us. We also hope that Leeds can dent Chelski’s hopes of staying in the top four (they play tonight; Wednesday).

Match preview

 Conte’s team are in a better position than they were four months ago, with the club’s January arrivals beginning to flourish and the players’ confidence are slowly building up again.

Unsatisfactory results in April have harmed our top-four charge; we got right back on track by beating Leicester City before managing to end Liverpool’s 12-game Premier League winning run at Anfield – only conceding to a deflected Luis Diaz effort after Son’s opener.

A three-game losing run over the Easter period for Woolwich threatened to derail their European ambitions. Still, they responded with four consecutive wins over Chelski, United, the Spammers and Leeds United, leaving the Plastic-Gunners’ top-four destiny in their own hands heading into the game with us.

Even if Arteta’s side slump to defeat at our ground on Thursday, they will still be in the driving seat before potential slip-ups with Newcastle United and Everton, and failure to keep a clean sheet in seven Premier League matches is not a reassuring statistic before meeting our bright attacking frontmen.

Our first meeting this season

A first-half spell that saw Woolwich burst to a 3-1 win over Nuno Espirito Santo’s men back in September wasn’t a pretty sight… I remember it well; I tried to stay awake after a heavy lunch and drinking session before that game. Nevertheless, we have a formula for success on our own turf, as we are unbeaten in seven home Premier League games against our North London rivals and cannot afford to let that streak end.

Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:

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Arsenal Premier League form:

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Team News

Tottenham

Sergio Reguilon, Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp and Matt Doherty are out with long term injury.

Conte’s XI picks itself, with Ryan Sessegnon and Emerson Royal holding the fort in their wing-back roles and Ben Davies continuing in the three-man rearguard after a man-of-the-match performance at Anfield.

Harry Kane aims to build on a derby record of 11 strikes in 16 games against the Woolwich.

Arsenal

Ben White has now missed the club’s last two games with a tight hamstring, but Arteta is hopeful that he will shake off his injury to make himself available for Thursday.

Bukayo Saka’s injury at the weekend could see him out. Still, Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney will watch on from the sidelines, with Takehiro Tomiyasu likely deputising for the latter on the left.

 Possible starting lineup for us:

Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son

Arsenal possible starting lineup:

Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Xhaka, Elneny; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah

My prediction*: 3-1 to us

[*Somebody commented on my articles when I was at the Liverpool game; why do I always go for a win, never a draw or a defeat, he asked… the truth of the matter is, the way we’ve played this season (and other seasons) is the equivalent of throwing a coin in the air and hoping it ends right way up. We’ve never been really that bad or good, just inconsistent, and you never can pick the games where it is one way or another that you can think you get a positive result or defeat. So I’ve taken the optimistic route and have just gone for a win. It would have been a lot easier – when predicting outcomes – if I supported somebody like Watford/ Norwich or even Liverpool/ City.. so there you go!]

Thoughts

Woolwich rode their luck against United, the Spammers and the 10 men of Leeds, but that luck could run out in a fixture that has traditionally been unkind to them.

I don’t think Arteta’s side have developed a ruthless streak to kill games off, where we will be buoyed by our star-studded showing against Liverpool and should expose the Woolwich-Gunners’ recent defensive lapses to keep the race for the top four alive that little bit longer.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

We can win three successive home North London derbies in all competitions for the first time from 1980 to 1982 and in the league for only the second time. We also did so between 1960 and 1961.

We are unbeaten in our past seven home league games against Woolwich, our  longest run since we went nine without defeat at White Hart Lane between 1960 and 1968.

Plastic Woolwich aims to complete their first league double over us since 2013-14.

The Woolwich could win three consecutive North London league derbies for the first time since a run of five from 1987 to 1989.

Spurs

After a run of four straight league victories, we have won just one of our last four.

We have won four of our last five home league games, scoring at least three goals in those victories.

We lost five Premier League London derbies in 2021-22. We have only twice fared worse in a season: seven defeats in 2004-05, and six in 2003-04.

Son is only the second player to score 20 Premier League goals in a season without any of them being penalties, emulating Gareth Bale in 2012-13 (21).

Son has scored (12) and been involved in (17) more top-flight goals in 2022 than any other player.

After failing to score or assist in any of his first nine league games against Woolwich, Son has three goals and two assists in his last four North London derby appearances.

In all competitions, Harry Kane is the top scorer in North London derby history, with 11 goals in 16 games. However, he’s not scored in his last two appearances against the Gunners, his longest drought against them.

Arsenal

 

Victory for Woolwich would guarantee their highest Premier League finish since the 2015-16 campaign when they finished second. It would also be the first time that they have finished above Spurs.

The Plastics have registered four consecutive league wins while conceding at least once in every game for the first time since a run of five from February to March 2012.

Woolwich have gone seven league matches without a clean sheet since a 1-0 win at Aston Villa on 19 March.

The four goals scored by Eddie Nketiah in his last four top-flight games is just one fewer than he managed in his first 52 Premier League appearances.

Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka both have the chance to become the first Englishman to score for the Gunners in home and away fixtures against us in a season since Ian Wright in 1993-94.

COYS!

Glenn

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