There is no love lost between the two sides tethered by the Seven Sisters Road but tonight’s north London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal promises to be especially combustible.
The stakes are higher than they have been for any north London derby in several years, with both teams hunting a return to the Champions League worth in the region of £50m.
On top of that, ill-feeling is said to linger at Spurs over the extent to which Arsenal were justified in postponing this fixture in January, citing Covid-19 cases.
Beneath the simmering tensions, however, lies the prospect of an intriguing tactical battle between two managers compelled to rethink their favoured approaches.
Tottenham, who must overhaul Arsenal’s four-point lead in their final three Premier League games to pip them to the Champions League, likely need to win this fixture.
Their most obvious ploy, then, is to take the game to the Gunners, who have lost on four of their last five trips to their neighbours, in this north London derby.
But that does not appear to suit Spurs boss Antonio Conte, whose most impressive results have come when playing counter-attacking football against opponents who dominate possession, such as their 3-2 win at Manchester City in February and last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
When obliged to break down well organised and defensively resilient sides they have at times struggled, as in defeats to Wolves, Brighton and Burnley.
While that poses a dilemma for Conte, there is no easy solution for his opposite number Mikel Arteta either.
Arteta has built an Arsenal team that aims to pull opponents out of position by monopolising the ball, an approach that has tended to work against technically inferior sides.
They have taken 63 of their 66 points from matches against the 16 teams below them in the table but lost five out of six fixtures with City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
While the Spanish coach has made them more defensively resilient, Arsenal remain vulnerable when trying to protect a position, as against 10-man Leeds on Sunday.
So while Conte may have to fight the urge to set up for the counter in this north London derby, Arteta might also be tempted to go against his instincts and prioritise defence.
The decisions have huge ramifications for both men and their clubs.
Conte continues to cast doubt on his long-term future at Spurs and it is not difficult to see him and the club agreeing a quickie divorce if Champions League proves out of reach.
Should Tottenham qualify, however, it could unlock the kind of investment Conte has said he needs to turn them into challengers for top honours.
Arteta’s position is more certain, having just signed a new contract last week, but for him and Arsenal securing a top-four finish is about maintaining momentum.
Achieve it, and the extra £50m can secure a higher calibre of summer signings and continue the progress he has fostered during this campaign.
Miss out from this position and Arsenal must take another tilt at the Champions League next season, when rivals will also have had a chance to strengthen.