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Jan 16, 2022 at 4.30pm UK
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Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Since this article was published, the derby has been called off due to a lack of players in the Arsenal squad. A new date for the game will be confirmed in due course.

Off the back of differing fortunes in the EFL Cup in midweek, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal lock horns for Sunday's North London derby in the Premier League.

Antonio Conte's side suffered a 3-0 aggregate defeat to Chelsea in the semi-finals of the competition, while the Gunners held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in their first leg.

Match preview

One shot at ending their dismal 13-year run without a trophy has already passed Tottenham by, as Antonio Conte's former club Chelsea followed up their 2-0 Stamford Bridge win with a 1-0 success in North London during the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Antonio Rudiger headed home the game's only goal after Pierluigi Gollini tried and failed to meet Mason Mount's corner, but the Lilywhites have no time at all to dwell on that result as Conte seeks to make amends in the North London derby.

Spurs are impressively still unbeaten in the Premier League since the Italian took over - winning five and drawing three under Conte in the top flight so far - with that hot streak seeing them enter the weekend in sixth place - two points behind the Gunners with two games in hand.

With victory this weekend boosting their top-four hopes while simultaneously ruining Arsenal's, Conte's crop need no second invitation to take advantage of their visitors' absentee woes, assuming that the tie goes ahead as scheduled.

The Lilywhites have also taken 13 points from a possible 15 at home in the Premier League during Conte's reign - scoring at least two goals on each occasion - but Arsenal proved at Anfield that their defensive capabilities have gone up a notch in recent months.

The stage was certainly set for a Liverpool thumping in midweek, as an Arsenal side already missing a host of key players lost Cedric Soares to injury within 10 minutes and witnessed Granit Xhaka collect his fifth red card in Gunners colours before the 25-minute mark.

However, Mikel Arteta's 10 men thwarted Liverpool with a magnificent defensive display to leave it all to play for in next week's second leg, with Bukayo Saka and Takumi Minamino both spurning gilt-edged chances to win it on the night.

Such a result was a marked improvement from their 4-0 drubbing at Anfield with 11 men earlier in the season and their FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest, but Arteta's side are still waiting for their first win of 2022 and have dropped out of the top four, although West Ham United are still within touching distance.

As much as Liverpool's lack of attacking inspiration was to blame for their failure to score on Thursday night, Arsenal's staunch rearguard laid down a marker on Merseyside, and they will need to be on song once more if the Gunners are to chalk up a third Premier League away win on the bounce.

Arsenal humbled Nuno Espirito Santo's Tottenham during a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium back in September, but not since the 2013-14 season have the Gunners won away from home in the league against Spurs, who can boast four wins from their last five against their bitter rivals on familiar territory.

Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Arsenal Premier League form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Arsenal form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D

Team News

Spurs remain without two key players in Son Heung-min and Cristian Romero for the derby, while Conte has also ruled Eric Dier out of contention due to a muscular issue.

The hosting manager has also reported one more unnamed coronavirus case ahead of Sunday's game, while Sergio Reguilon is facing a race against time to prove his fitness, but Steven Bergwijn will be fit enough for a place on the bench.

Hugo Lloris will certainly expect to return in between the sticks this week, and Ryan Sessegnon could be in with a chance of starting on the left if Reguilon does not make the cut.

As for Arsenal, Xhaka will serve the first of a two-game ban following his embarrassing sending off at Liverpool, while Nicolas Pepe, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are competing at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Martin Odegaard will miss out again after testing positive for COVID-19, while Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe, Cedric Soares, Sead Kolasinac, Bukayo Saka and Calum Chambers represent a wealth of injury concerns.

Saka and Chambers are thought to have good chances of being available for the contest, and Arteta may be forced to push Ben White into midfield alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Winks, Sessegnon; Lucas, Kane

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Saka, White, Lokonga, Martinelli; Lacazette, Nketiah

We say: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Arsenal

Arsenal may be missing players in the double figures, but Spurs also have key men of their own absent for the derby, and confidence is not overwhelmingly high in the hosts' ranks right now.

There is no reason for the depleted Gunners to believe that they cannot come up trumps here after holding Liverpool with 10 men, but Spurs should take advantage of Arteta's selection woes to claim a point and keep their unbeaten league run going under Conte.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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