Manchester has the Manc derby, Liverpool has the Scouse derby and Glasgow has the Old Firm derby. But in the north London metropolis the daddy of all derbies is the fixture that brings together Arsenal and Tottenham and they meet at the Emirates today.
Arsenal are still buzzing from the wonderful goal that Mesut Ozil scored to clinch a Champions League win away at Ludogorets on Tuesday. Tottenham have scored just three goals in six matches at home and in Europe.
Arsenal are winless in their last four Premier League north London derbies (drawn 3, lost 1) and they’ve never gone five without a win against Tottenham in the league under Arsene Wenger. If avoiding defeat Mauricio Pochettino would be the first Spurs manager not to lose any of their first five North London derbies. The fixture holds the record in Premier League history for the first scoring team not winning. Arsenal have failed to score against Tottenham only once in 43 meetings in all competitions. An Arsenal win to nil is the obvious call even though “form counts for nothing” in derbies but will do in this one.
Some respected pundits believe as a manager Jurgen Klopp has no weaknesses and Liverpool will win the league with him in charge. It took Klopp three years to turn Borussia Dortmund into Bundesliga champions from also-rans but the process could be quicker at Liverpool. Jordan Henderson apparently is the best passer in the Premier League and is finally playing like a genuine successor to Steven Gerrard.
Watford were one of the biggest overachievers of last season and finished 13th despite being odds-on for relegation at the start of the season. The club have built on that solid foundation and are currently seventh but Liverpool away is their toughest assignment to date in the Premier League this season. The home team can cover a handicap of one goal at Anfield on Sunday.
Leicester have all but qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League but their domestic form has suffered. They were never going to replicate last season and mid-table security and a good run in Europe represents a good season and consolidation from the glories of last year. Never before have the Premier League champions started the following season as seventh favourites to retain the title and Leicester are just about performing to that level.
Tony Pulis has signed a long-term contract at West Brom and they are another mid-ranking side who should have the experience on the field and in the management to avoid the drop without challenging for Europe. Defence is the key to West Brom staying up and conceding 14 goals in 10 matches is about par but nothing special.
The form and trends suggest a draw in this Midlands derby at the home of the champions.
Despite all these big televised matches the best has been saved for Monday night when Southport play Fleetwood at home on TV in the first round proper of the FA Cup in the seaside derby. Come on the Sandgrounders!