Our nerdy facts could net you to a perfect punt on Arsenal v Spurs

We’ve let our stats genius loose on Saturday’s North London Derby and there was no stopping him…


What a time it is to be a Spurs fan. They’ve got a new stadium on the way, they finished above Arsenal for the first time in two decades last season and none of their best players have scarpered off to play for big clubs for a while.

Something they haven’t enjoyed too often though is a win at Arsenal. This match takes place seven years to the weekend after their last victory, which was only their second in the Premier League era and even then, they had to come from 2-0 to do it.

Of course, Spurs currently have something they haven’t generally had down the years, and that’s a top, top, ‘triffic’ striker. Harry Kane is also one of their own, in case you haven’t heard.

The last three meetings at the Emirates have been 1-1 draws. What odds a repeat? 6/1 since you ask. But is it likely? It’s interesting (if you’re a nerd like me) that the FiveThirtyEight expected goals data from this season suggests that 1-1 actually is the most likely outcome.

Spurs haven’t won any of their last seven matches against a fellow big six team when it has directly followed an international break either. Another omen which perhaps points to a draw?

If it is a score draw, then both teams will need to score. Now that’s the kind of insight you read this for, there’s no need to thank me.

Paddy is offering odds of 1/2 that both teams find the back of the net, and every big six clash this season where both teams have scored has featured Arsenal or Spurs. The Gunners saw it in seven of their ten top six matches in 2016/17 too.

The 6/4 price that they don’t both score appeals to me more, and not just as the winnings will be greater (more top insight, there). Arsenal have only conceded four league goals at home this season, and Spurs only three on the road, so there’s a fair chance somebody gets a clean sheet.

Here are the top ten Premier League teams for matches where both teams scored since Mauricio Pochettino took over at Tottenham. The two north London clubs are neck-and-neck, but several games behind the most frequent teams.

The card market is always worth a look in a derby match, as they can be fiery games. Arsenal against Spurs is in the Premier League’s top five fixtures for most cards issued.

But, of course, the problem with such lists is with only six ever-present teams in the Premier League (and Ronald Koeman did his best to reduce that to five), meetings between them always see the most goals and most cards in total.

The last two games at Arsenal have actually seen just four yellow cards between them, and the last sending off was in 2012. The referee on Saturday is Mike Dean though, and he dishes out cards more often than he trends on Twitter for doing something bonkers.

Over the years, he has sent off four Spurs players and six for Arsenal, including Emmanuel Eboué in a north London derby. That was almost nine years ago, but nobody bears a grudge like football fans.

Arsenal fans should just get over it, and accept that Eboué played for them.

The market for cards in this match is set at 50 points. The average from the last six league meetings at Arsenal has been 52. It’s almost as if these bookmakers know what they’re doing or something.

Anyway, I’ll be putting a few quid on ‘Under 50’ at evens. Both sides average 17 points per game, and as card friendly as Dean is, he averages 41 per match.

His games for Arsenal and Spurs have seen slightly more points, but still under 44 per game, and early kick-offs are invariably sleepy affairs early on. It’s a tightrope though – one Granit Xhaka ‘tackle’ and the bet could be out of the window.

The odds of 12/5 that there will be a penalty look quite tasty. A Spurs match is due a penalty more than Arsenal from Dean.

Tottenham and Swansea are the only two teams in the Premier League not to see a penalty given for or against them yet this season. Strangely, they both last had one on the same date (30th April) so are equally due for another.

Weirder still, Spurs’ last penalty was against Arsenal, and they had one in both meetings last season for good measure too. Tottenham are on a run of 15 matches without seeing a penalty, when their average since August 2009 is one every 4.6.

Plus Dean awards a penalty more often than any of the 12 current top flight refs with over 80 matches under their belts. You can never guarantee the ref will give a spot kick, but would anybody be surprised if he tried to make the match all about him?

In terms of first scorers, it’s no surprise Kane leads the market, at 7/2, but a better bet might be Alexis Sanchez. He has only scored once this season, and only one in seven appearances against Spurs, but he has missed all three of his clear-cut chances so far in 2017/18.

He might not be that bothered anymore, but he’s due a goal and at 5/1 the Chilean might prove to be better value than Kane.

Going further out still, how about Christian Eriksen (sorry, Ireland) to score the last goal of the game at 11/1?

Around 28% of goals in the Premier League are classed as winners, which means they are the decisive strike in a one goal win. When it comes to Arsenal and Spurs’ most likely goalscorers, Tottenham’s Dane leads the way for winner percentage.

In a game that is likely to be close, Eriksen’s ability to bag decisive goals might just prove the difference. But I think 1-1 is still a good shout, even if we’re all secretly hoping for a Spurs win to get some real entertainment on Saturday afternoon.

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What do you think?