Tottenham vs. Arsenal: Odds, Picks, Predictions (1/15/23)

This is not a typo- it’s mid-January, and league leaders Arsenal are heading to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a huge North London Derby as they look to widen their league lead to 8 points over Manchester City. Tottenham need the win pretty badly themselves; they’re not in the same form as their neighbors, and need all the points they can get to stay well-positioned in the crowded top-four race. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for Sunday’s massive rivalry match.

Tottenham vs. Arsenal Odds

Visitors Arsenal are the moderate favorite, with their end of the three-way moneyline set at +120. The draw i set at +260, while a Spurs win has the odds of +220. For a goalscoring total of 2.5, the over is favored at -135 while the under is +110.

Tottenham vs. Arsenal Prediction & Pick

It’s truly been a magical season for the Gunners, and seemingly out of nowhere for a team that didn’t even make the Champions League last season. As things currently stand, Arsenal have the second most goals scored and second fewest allowed, as this balanced effort has left them with a 5-point lead at the top of the table. That being said, they’ve not been in their best form since returning from the World Cup; they did restart in the Prem with nice attacking performances in victories over West Ham and Brighton. But they also gave up 3 goals between those 2 games, before struggling to a 0-0 draw with Newcastle, and squandering a chance to pull away from a faltering City side. It’ll be interesting to see which Arsenal shows up on Sunday, in the first of several upcoming major clashes for the title hopefuls.

Tottenham are currently sitting in fifth place in one of the messiest top-four battles I’ve seen in recent years, but it’s worth noting that they have played a game more than challengers Liverpool (5 points behind Spurs) and Man United (2 points ahead). They’ve had extremely mixed results in the Prem since Christmas; a 2-2 Boxing Day draw with Brentford in their first match following the World Cup, followed by an ugly 0-2 home loss to Aston Villa, and then a lovely rebound, a 4-0 road win over Crystal Palace. They also won a game in the FA cup, but it was a dicey 1-0 win at home over third-division Portsmouth. As is the case with Arsenal, this group has the ability to play great football, but it’s hard to say if their best selves will show up.

Of course, everything is relative; Tottenham’s dip in form is pretty objectively just that, while Arsenal’s is only a dip in terms of beating the ridiculous domestic pace you expect of Manchester City down the stretch. What I’m getting at is that while both teams have had frustrating results recently, the scope is not the same; Spurs are surely struggling more than their rivals. I’m going to take Arsenal on the moneyline of +120, although it is a road rivalry match, I was slightly surprised to see the league leaders in the plus, so I’m immediately loving that value. The goalscoring total is a bit tougher, but I do think Vegas has it right with the over being favored; in Addition to Arsenal being the second-best goalscoring side, Spurs are third in that category, without the same defensive quality, to say the least. I’m taking over 2.5 goals at -135, in what should be a fun and open football match.

Key Matchups

The Midfield Battle

Forwards tend to steal the highlights; everyone’s heard about newcomer Gabriel Jesus, or the rise of young star Bukayo Saka for this year’s Arsenal side. But the heartbeat of this team has undoubtedly been its outstanding midfield trio, led by newly-minted team captain, 23-year old Martin Odegaard. The Norweigan attacking midfielder has exploded this season, he’s tied for the team lead with 7 Prem goals, and is one off of the top spot with 5 assists in the league as well. He’s averaging over .8 goal contributions per 90, and has scored or assisted a third of the team’s league goals so far; it’s safe to say that he’s been an enormous part of the team’s offensive success. Even Granit Xhaka, who plays less of an attacking role, has picked up 3 goals and 4 assists in league play, as he has put together one of his best all-around seasons as a gunner. Thomas Partey, is also having a great year in terms of his on-the-pitch performance; his impact doesn’t always show up through statistics, but he has an outrageous average match rating (via FotMob) of 7.70, and is one of the team’s most irreplaceable players. Even in the draw against Newcastle, the team possessed like crazy (67%) against a very good side, and won the shots attempted and chances created battles by quite a bit; the midfield has not slipped up, even when other units have.

On the other side of the pitch, we are surely looking at a less midfield-centric side in Antonio Conte’s tottenham. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a major key for the team, he’s picked up a pair of assists as well as four goals, which is actually tied for second on the team, and has played more Prem minutes for Spurs than any outfield player not named Harry Kane. Rodrigo Bentancur has also been solid, but is currently injured; he’s questionable for the match against Arsenal, and I’d expect Conte to give him a limited shift, whether that’s a start with an early exit or simply an off-the-bench cameo. English youngster Oliver Skipp started in his spot last match but was not outstanding, as he was eventually lifted in favor of Pape Matar Sarr, who was a bit more lively. Lastly, we come to Matt Doherty and Ivan Perisic, who both play an interesting role that lands somewhere between fullback and true midfielder when Tottenham line up in their customary 3-4-3 shape. This is not necessarily the strength of Tottenham’s team, but they’ll have to do just enough to keep Arsenal from absolutely running them over if their team is going to take home all three points, or even one truthfully.

Spurs Attack vs. Arsenal Defense

As I’ve alluded to, Arsenal have allowed the second-fewest Prem goals this season; only Newcastle have been tougher to score on, so perhaps it’s fitting that the two sides played to a scoreless draw. Brazilian centre-back Gabriel is at the heart of things, he’s played outstanding defense for the Gunners while playing every minute in the league so far, the only outfield player on the team to do so. William Saliba, however, has only missed 15 total minutes, and he’s been excellent in them, asserting himself a one of the breakout stars of this season. The young Frenchman is making a massive impact after returning from a handful of loan spells and finally making his senior league debut for Arsenal; as arguably the team’s most valuable player thus far, it’s looking like he’ll be a fixture in the lineup for years to come. On either side of the formidable centre-back pairing is a similarly solid duo of fullbacks. Left back Oleksandr Zinchenko has been a positive addition after the end of his Man City tenure, as he’s made his presence felt at both ends of the pitch. On the other side of the formation, Ben White, a big addition from a year ago, is settling in and playing consistently strong football for Arsenal. And of course, at the back of it all has been Aaron Ramsdale, putting in another predictably strong season for his club.

Despite the ups and downs in terms of team results, there’s one comforting similarity to the best Spurs teams of recent years; Harry Kane is playing absolutely out of his mind. We’ve already discussed the fact that Tottenham have scored the third-most goals of any team in the Premier League with 37; Kane has put in over 40% of those by himself, as he’s scored 15 thus far. It’s truly another outstanding season for the England captain, which has unfairly been somewhat overshadowed by the insane goalscoring feats routinely exhibited by Erling Haaland. Outside of Kane, however, there’s not too much to write home about; he’s been the definitive centerpiece of what has been a very productive attack. Son Heung-min is playing solid football, but with 4 goals and 2 assists, he’s not really been near the level he achieved last year when he surged to a golden boot win. Dejan Kulusevski has been very strong, as he’s tied with Perisic for the team lead with 5 assists, but is currently out with an injury; Bryan started in his stead against Palace, and had a solid passing performance in which he assisted a goal. It’ll be interesting to see how this usually-potent attack approaches the challenge of a central defense that is semi-uniquely well-equipped to deal with Kane, who can be described as nothing other than Spurs’ main strategy to score goals and win games.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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