Arsenal-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Antonio Conte insists his first campaign with Tottenham has been a success regardless of the outcome of Thursday's clash with Arsenal, where the hosts need a result to keep their top-four hopes alive.
Thursday's North London derby could prove decisive in the battle for Champions League qualification, with fifth-placed Spurs requiring a win to move within a point of the Gunners, who can guarantee a top-four finish with a win after a run of four successive victories.
Conte, however, says the very fact Spurs retain a chance of finishing fourth proves this season has been a success.
"I don't know if the club's aspiration at the start was to fight for a place in the Champions League, honestly," Conte said. "To have only three games to go and to have the possibility to get a place in the Champions League, for us it means we have worked very hard and worked very well with my players.
"I think this season is a great success, especially for the relationship created with the players and the achievement we have reached in my time here, but the job isn't finished, we have to finish this job."
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, says the short trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium represents the most exciting outing of his time in the dugout.
"It's the most exciting one, probably," he said. "But we had others when we played finals against Chelsea and Liverpool in the FA Cup and the Community Shield, it was the same.
"When you have the opportunity to achieve one of your objectives in the season, you just cannot wait to play the game."
Having beaten Tottenham 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in September, Arsenal are aiming to complete a first league double over their rivals since 2013-14.
Tottenham – Harry Kane
Spurs' talisman is the top goalscorer in North London derby history, scoring 11 goals in 16 games against Arsenal. However, he's not scored in either of his last two matches against the Gunners - his longest drought against them, and will be determined to end that on Thursday.
Arsenal – Eddie Nketiah
Having scored just five goals in his first 52 Premier League appearances, Nketiah has netted four in his last four league outings for the Gunners, and could continue that run against a Spurs team with just one win in four league games.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven home league games against Arsenal (W5 D2), their longest such run against their north London rivals since a run of nine between 1960 and 1968.
- After a run of four straight Premier League victories, Tottenham have won just one of their last four (D2 L1). However, Spurs have won four of their last five home league games (L1), netting at least three goals in all four victories.
- Victory for Arsenal will secure their highest Premier League finish (at least fourth) since the 2015-16 campaign when they finished second. It will also be the first time since that season that they have finished above their north London rivals Tottenham.
- Conte has won just one of his eight meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L3), with all of these coming as Chelsea manager between 2016 and 2018. Of clubs he's faced at least five times in his managerial career, against no side does the Italian have a lower win rate than against the Gunners (12.5 per cent).
- Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka were both on the scoresheet for Arsenal in their 3-1 victory against Spurs in the reverse fixture. The last Englishman to score for the Gunners in both home and away fixtures against Spurs in a single season was Ian Wright in 1993-94.
Updated May 11, 2022