Slew of Absentees won't stop Arsenal winning NLD
The second North London derby of the Premier League kicks off on Sunday afternoon, and Tottenham Hotspur will be seeking revenge for the 3-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of their arch-rivals back in September. Though under new management, Antonio Conte's charges looked distinctly second best against Chelsea in both legs of the EFL Cup semi-final, and he must now rally his players against Arsenal, who held Liverpool to a stalemate in the same competition in midweek, despite having Granit Xhaka sent off after just 24 minutes. Read our preview here:
A Dier need
Cristiano Romero's recovery from injury continues apace, but the big match might come too soon for his name to be included amongst the substitutes' bench. A fellow member of the back three will be back, however. Eric Dier's propensity to spray balls forwards should help both relieve the pressure on the defence, and quickly turn things around into potential attacks. Conte is keenly aware of the lack of creativity behind the forward line, with the majority of the other eight 'shields' more than 'swords'. He will seek to redress the balance in the January transfer market as best as he can, and will also have to make do without Heung-min Son for the rest of the month. Steven Bergwijn will compete with Gio Lo Celso for the South Korean superstar's berth in the meantime.
Decimated by AFCON, Covid, and injuries, Mikel Arteta will have taken plenty of heart from a stoic performance against Liverpool in midweek, and they have real hope of reaching the EFL final next week. In the meantime, they will be more reliant than ever on their emerging young stars, with versatile forward Gabriel Martinelli perhaps curbing the need for another body in the short-term. The tricky Brazilian has plundered four goals from fewer than 800 minutes in the league despite being deployed all over the place. Martin Ødegaard has tested positive for the virus, which could push Ben White into unfamiliar midfield territory.
Gunners looking upwards
The Gunners could have more than a full lineup of players missing for the hop, skip, and jump to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, it's hard to back against them as they continue their collective recovery from a very poor start to the season, and betway are offering odds of 3.10 for an away win that will increase the gap between the sides to five points.