28-year-old key man in high-pressure tie: Three things to expect from Tottenham in clash v Arsenal
COMMENT By Danny Wright
Tottenham play host to Arsenal on Sunday in what will be the final North London derby to be contested at White Hart Lane.
There’s no doubt that Mauricio Pochettino and his men will want to come out on top in what will be a historic day, but they also know that there is a large amount of pressure on them to keep up with Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things we can expect from Sunday’s showdown:
Chelsea to open the gap
History suggests that Spurs will struggle to get a win against Arsenal this weekend. Pochettino’s side haven’t triumphed over their London rivals for over two years. What’s more significant is that Tottenham haven’t got the better of the Gunners at The Lane since March 2013. It’s going to be a tough game for Spurs because Arsene Wenger and his men will be eager to rain on their parade, and with the weight of the Premier League title race on their shoulders, the home side are likely to buckle. Chelsea have a trip to Everton earlier in the day and will more than likely pick up all three points to open up the gap to second-placed Spurs.
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It wouldn’t take a brave man to bet on a few tears in the stands on Sunday because White Hart Lane has been home to Tottenham since the 19th Century. It’s played host to some wonderful occasions in its 118 year history and there are just two games left to play there before being demolished to make room for the new stadium. There have been 192 north London derbies between Spurs and Arsenal throughout the two clubs’ histories – but this will be one of the most poignant of the lot.
28-year-old will be key
Tottenham haven’t conceded a league goal in their last three outings, but there’s a low chance they will be able to keep a clean sheet against Arsenal at the weekend. The Gunners haven’t been the most efficient attacking force in the league this season but Spurs know that they have to get goals in order to give themselves a strong chance at catching Chelsea at the top. This will open up Pochettino’s usually-study defence and make them susceptible to a quick counter attack. 28-year-old Alexis Sanchez will definitely to be the man to watch whenever the home side lose possession. If they can stop him, they stand a good chance of recording a historic victory.
In other Tottenham news, this emerging star has picked up a player of the season award while out on loan.