Improving north London pair set to share spoils at the Lane

AFTER a poor start to the campaign, Arsene Wenger has turned the negativity around Arsenal into optimism. Performances have improved and the club are favourites on Sporting Index’s FA Cup Index to retain that trophy.

The Gunners were never going to win the Premier League this year but victory tomorrow at Tottenham will put them into the Champions League places – for a few hours at least – and they are 1/3 with Betway for a top four finish.

Tottenham’s season mirrors their local rivals’: struggling for consistency early on, but flourishing of late, and in their case with a League Cup final to look forward to.

Both sides have lost only two of their last 10 league games, but defeats to Crystal Palace (Spurs) and Stoke (Arsenal) highlight their vulnerabilities. Tomorrow’s hosts also exited the FA Cup with a poor reverse to Leicester at White Hart Lane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have a remarkable record for winning – or losing – 2-1, with nine wins and four losses this term by that scoreline. It was also 2-1 when Tottenham last won a north London derby in March 2013.

However, Spurs have lost just one of the previous six league derbies at home, winning three, and proved in smashing five past Chelsea and three against West Brom recently that they can turn it on when they want.

Arsenal, without top-scorer Alexis Sanchez, battered Aston Villa 5-0 on Saturday and only Liverpool are on a longer winning streak than Wenger’s side. The signing of Gabriel Paulista is a good one, with the defender set to be a commanding presence in a back-line that has often looked lightweight.

Whether he plays and can stop Tottenham’s 20-goal Harry Kane from continuing his impressive form remains to be seen. Arsenal are favourites – Sporting Index have quoted their supremacy at 0.25-0.45 – but buying doesn’t appeal.

They have lost a third of their league games away and their record at top sides was woeful before the recent 2-0 win over Manchester City.

On the other hand, Tottenham and Stoke are the only clubs in the top 12 to have suffered more than three home defeats, making a Spurs triumph an uninviting betting option.

The reverse fixture in September finished 1-1 and another draw looks the likeliest result – Betway offer 23/10.

Most will remember the successive 5-2 wins by Arsenal in 2012, yet only one of the next five meetings has seen three goals. Both teams scored in the same match only twice in that time.

With the pair fighting it out for a top four place, this could be tight and selling total goals at 2.9 with Sporting Index is advised.

■ Pointers…
Draw at 23/10 with Betway
Sell total goals at 2.9 with Sporting Index