How quickly fortunes can change in the Premier League: Just a couple of weeks ago Tottenham Hotspur was at the top of the early-season standings and Arsenal was mired at the bottom without a point. There’s suddenly a different vibe around both teams heading into Sunday’s London derby at Emirates Stadium.
With a win at home, Arsenal can go level with its rivals on points. Considered to be on the hot seat for some time, manager Mikel Arteta’s positivity has seemingly paid dividends: He now has once-injured players back in their starting roles alongside new acquisitions that are already making an impression. That has led to two shutout wins in a row in the Premier League, and advancement to the Round of 16 of the Carabao Cup.
It’s gone the other way for Tottenham. After three straight wins to start the season, the ideas in attack have dried up, the tactics of new manager Nuno Espirito Santo are being questioned, injuries to Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura have compounded the issues, and an extra busy schedule featuring European cup competition has limited practice time for a new coach to implement his ideas. (Arsenal does not have European obligations this season.)
With that backdrop, here’s how the odds for this match are shaping up as of Sunday (odds courtesy of DraftKings):
- Moneyline: Arsenal +125 / Draw +230 / Tottenham +240
- Spread: Arsenal -0.5 (+125) / Tottenham +0.5 (-145)
- Over / Under Total Goals: O2.5 -105 / U2.5 -120
- Both Teams To Score: Yes -130 / No +100
Are Arsenal’s last two 1-0 wins against relegation candidates like Norwich City and Burnley really ones to get excited about, or did they simply serve to buy under-fire Arteta more time? Are we making too big a deal about Tottenham’s two consecutive 3-0 losses, when one came against steamrolling European champs Chelsea and the other was attributable to a red card that reduced Spurs to 10 men against Crystal Palace?
Even if you take the above into account, it’s hard to look past the fact that Arsenal has a deeper squad right now, it’s playing at home, and the new signings have integrated seamlessly into the starting lineup. Digging through the available bets, the top three picks all lean toward Arsenal. Scroll down for more on each (odds courtesy of DraftKings):
- Arsenal or tie and over 1.5: -180 (previously -160)
- Arsenal 1st Half pick’em Asian Handicap: -160 (previously -155)
- Arsenal -0.25 Asian Handicap: -105 (previously +100)
How Arsenal, Tottenham shape up
Tottenham may have held onto striker Harry Kane (below), who was seriously courted by Manchester City this summer, but Spurs are just not generating enough goal-scoring options to make full use of his repertoire of skills. Tottenham is last in the league with 4.6 expected goals after five matches: It’s no wonder Kane has yet to score a Premier League goal this year. Kane’s three goals have come in non-league competitions: two came in the Conference League and another in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
The story becomes evident when looking at the ‘shot-creating actions’ metric, as tracked by FBref: Arsenal is 6th in the Premier League with 124 total shot-creating actions, while Tottenham is second to last with nearly half the amount (70), although Spurs are better at getting the fewer shots they create on target (league-best 38.3 shot-on-target percentage).
The criticism is being pointed directly at Espirito Santo, who’s considered a conservative coach for the defensive structure he gave his teams at Wolves. By contrast, with the full complement of their attackers now available, Arsenal is hoping the goals will start to flow just as the team defense benefits from the new additions of right back Takehiro Tomiyasu, center back Ben White and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. It has helped that they’ve had the safety blanket provided by Thomas Partey who’s back patrolling the midfield in front of them.
Both teams made it past their opposition in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, though Spurs had to field eight starters against Wolves, including Kane, while Arsenal needed just one one starter against third-tier side AFC Wimbledon.
So Arsenal should be the fresher team on Sunday when they welcome a Spurs side that is only 1-2-2 away from home this year in all competitions. That lone Tottenham win came against a misfiring Wolves team.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Injury updates and projected lineups
Arsenal essentially has a full-strength squad with the return of midfielder Granit Xhaka (below) from his three-game red-card suspension. Mohamed Elneny is also back from a hamstring injury and he was even included in the midweek Carabao Cup squad though he didn’t receive minutes.
Given the lineup he used on Wednesday against AFC Wimbledon, Arteta is likely to field a similar Arsenal team to the one that beat Burnley in Week 5 with 10 of those 11 starters being rested for the Carabao Cup on Wednesday (Partey was the exception).
Lucas Moura is available again for Spurs though Steven Bergwijn is still out. The return of Moura helps Spurs become a threat again in transition; in the absence of Moura and Bergwijn in recent weeks the team has been predictable and the bullseye was placed squarely on forward teammates Kane and Son Heung-min.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham best bets
Anyone who’s watched Arsenal in recent years knows that this game should probably be considered a toss-up, especially when there’s any degree of optimism around the team. Even though Arsenal should have the edge, Tottenham under Nuno Espirito Santo is still capable of bunkering and hitting the Gunners on the counter with a rested Son.
Live betting this game — it’s an 11:30 a.m. ET kick, so no excuses — and reacting to a potential opening salvo from Tottenham is advisable, especially as a hedge opportunity if you’re picking Arsenal in the lead-up as do the best bets selected below:
Arsenal -0.25 Asian Handicap: +100
Arsenal is at full strength, fully rested, full of confidence and playing at home. Taking the -0.25 Asian handicap, which provides a little insurance in case of a draw (half the bet is a push if it ends in a tie), is one way to leverage the Arsenal momentum play.
Arsenal or tie and over 1.5: -160
Here’s another way to cautiously play Arsenal, though the return isn’t as attractive. There have been two or more goals scored in league matches between these two rivals in nine of the last 10 meetings.
Arsenal to win either half: -155
Tottenham has conceded in four of five away games played this season in all competitions and Spurs are susceptible on set pieces. Arsenal should score at some point, and given its newfound defensive stability thanks in part to a more competent goalkeeper leader in Ramsdale, winning one of the two halves is not far-fetched (as reflected by the odds).
Arsenal 1st Half pick’em Asian Handicap: -155
The energy of the crowd, buoyed by the recent positive results, and the fresher players should make for an electric start for the home team. If there’s a half Arsenal is likely to win, the first one is a compelling choice. The halftime draw is a push in the case of this specific bet.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang anytime goal scorer: +175
Since we’re counting on goals to be scored in this game, and on Arsenal to be the side likely to do it, the Gunners’ center forward is good for a flier as an anytime scorer. He should benefit from a team that’s slowly improving and working better as a group. Aubameyang (below) is also Arsenal’s designated penalty taker.
How to watch Arsenal vs. Tottenham
The match will be televised in English (NBCSN) and Spanish (Telemundo) with both channels streaming on fuboTV (free 7-day trial for new users).