Martin Keown has backed his beloved Arsenal to come away with a 2-1 win from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium while Peter Crouch believes his former club will get three points to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
Arsenal come into the game knowing that a win will see them finish above their North London rivals for the first time since 2016 and return to the Champions League for the first time in over five years.
In fact, even a draw will see the Gunners have one foot in fourth place, given that they have a four-point cushion over the Lilywhites heading into Thursday’s clash.
Antonio Conte’s men know that this is a must-win game for them to keep alive their hopes of securing Champions League football.
Crouch insisted that the pressure is on Arsenal since they are now the overwhelming favourites to finish fourth.
The former Spurs striker told The Daily Mail: “It’s definitely Arsenal’s to throw away. They’re favourites. In pole position. It’s been so long for them, too, and this would have a huge impact for Arteta.
“He’s done a very good job there but he needs this. If he can deliver that, it cements the fact he’s doing well. He’s been quite cut-throat with players and I want that from a manager.”
Keown insisted that this is the biggest North London Derby in living memory since both clubs are competing for the same prize.
When asked which of the two clubs this is a bigger game for, the former Arsenal defender said: “I don’t think you can choose between the two clubs. It’s equal jeopardy. In the past, it’s been a Tottenham team trying to sabotage a successful season for Arsenal. Like in 1971. Like in 2004. Arsenal got the job done on those two occasions, getting what they needed at White Hart Lane to be crowned champions.
“But this time, both are chasing the same prize, both have watched Liverpool and Manchester City compete in special Champions League ties over the last two weeks and want that for themselves. That makes this the biggest game between Arsenal and Tottenham in living memory.”
Keown acknowledged that Spurs have improved considerably under Conte but the Gunners legend backed Arteta’s men to get all three points on Thursday.
He said: “Tottenham are dangerous and have become so much more difficult to beat under Conte.
“Their front three is different class, and I’ve been immensely impressed by their new signings, Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur. But I believe this will finish 2-1 to Arsenal, with the confident Nketiah bagging the winner.”
However, Crouch believes that Spurs’ superior quality will shine through tomorrow evening. The former England striker predicted: “I fancy Tottenham. They have more match-winners, a touch more individual quality.”
Spurs Web Opinion
This game is very difficult to call. We certainly have more match winners in our team but Arteta has proved this season that he is very tactically astute.
The Arsenal boss will set the Gunners up to defend deep and the onus will be on us to break them down – something which we have struggled to do under Conte.
We need one of our forward players to produce a moment of quality and open the scoring early in the encounter.
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