Tottenham vs Arsenal: Who has the best remaining fixtures in the top four run-in?

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are left to battle for a place in the Premier League top four

The race to qualify for next season’s Champions League has still not been decided ahead of one of the biggest north London derby’s in recent memory.

Arsenal are in pole position and can secure a top-four spot in the Premier League table with victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday evening.

Tottenham need some sort of result to keep their hopes alive but have drastically improved since the appointment of Antonio Conte.

With Chelsea’s place appearing secure after their victory over relegation-threatened Leeds, only one remaining spot is likely to be up for grabs.

The Independent has analysed both clubs’ remaining fixtures to see where the race could be won and lost.



Points: 66

Avg. opponent PpG: 1.35

Run-in difficulty: ★★★½

Tottenham (A)

It all really comes down to Thursday’s north London derby. Arsenal know a win will be enough to secure their place in next season’s Champions League but will be facing a Tottenham side that has dramatically improved since Conte’s appointment, even if that is not totally apparent from their home record alone.

Tottenham have gone from 1.80 points-per-game at home under Nuno Espirito Santo to 2.08 under the Italian, averaging out for the fourth-best record in the league. Southampton, Wolves and Brighton have all come away from the new White Hart Lane victorious since Conte’s arrival, though, proving they are far from impenetrable.

Newcastle (A)

If Arteta does not pick up the points he requires from the derby, he will have to hope for some joy at St James’ Park. Newcastle’s home record over the course of the season is a steady 1.50 points-per-game but looks a damn sight better when only looking since Eddie Howe’s appointment in mid-November.

Under Howe, Newcastle have picked up 1.9 points-per-game at St James’, winning seven of 13 games. Some of those victories have been hard and closely-fought, perhaps even a little fortunate judging by their +0.7 xG difference from Howe’s time in charge, but this is not the favourable fixture it was during Steve Bruce’s days.

Everton (H)

On the final day of the season against a potential relegation candidate, form and points-per-game records may as well go out of the window. Even so, Everton’s miserable away record will reassure Arsenal supporters if they still go into the final day without that Champions League place secured.

If Everton are safe by then, many will expect a routine Arsenal win. If they are still scrapping for survival, all bets are off. Everton’s 15-game wait for an away win finally ended at the King Power recently – lifting their points-per-game to a heady 0.56 – but it remains to be seen if Frank Lampard has well and truly fixed their troubles on the road.


Points: 62

Avg. opponent PpG: 1.03

Run-in difficulty: ★★

Arsenal (H)

Tottenham do not need to beat Arsenal in order to keep their top four hopes alive but it would certainly help. If they only earn a draw and then fail to better Arsenal’s result the following weekend, their race will be run. And even if they win the 191st north London derby, they will need a favour from elsewhere.

Beating Arsenal could prove difficult enough. Only the top three have better records on the road than Arteta’s side, but 1.65 points-per-game is hardly invincible either. Arsenal’s -1.2 xG difference away from home is even less impressive, albeit slightly skewed by heavy defeats away to City and Liverpool.

Burnley (H)

Tottenham round off the campaign against one side battling against relegation and another who are already gone. Burnley will visit north London on Sunday lunchtime having watched Leeds and Everton play catch-up fixtures in midweek and will know what they need in order to live and fight another day.

Burnley have taken 0.76 away points-per-game across the season, with only Everton and Norwich having inferior records on the road, even after a win and a draw from Mike Jackson’s first two trips in charge. With his new manager’s bounce now seeming to wear off, it is hard to see anything other than a Tottenham win.

Norwich (A)


If the top four race is still alive on the final day, Tottenham could hardly ask for a better fixture. Only Watford have a worse home record than Norwich’s 0.67 points-per-game at Carrow Road this season. No side has scored as few as Dean Smith’s when playing in their own backyard.

Their home xG difference of -15.9 is the worst outright of any side, as is their xG against of 32.5. In the unlikely scenario that Tottenham and Arsenal go into the final day level on points and close on goal difference, the fact that Conte’s men are playing a relegated side with a woeful defensive record and nothing to play for could count in their favour.

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