Winds of change for north London rivals

Arsene Wenger

They say 24 hours is a long time in politics. It can be a long old sit in football, too, just ask Tottenham fans.

On Wednesday evening the Spurs faithful were enjoying what appeared to be a comfortable passage towards the last eight of the Champions League for just the second time in their history.

Allied to Arsenal’s recent implosions in the league, they’d have been looking forward to seeing more Gunners misery in a tough-looking Europa League encounter away at AC Milan the following evening.

Then the Old Lady bit back. A wily Juventus side somehow got out of Wembley with a win and a day later Arsenal wakened from their slumber to win in the San Siro. So much for the form book, eh?

There might be another wobble on the road for Tottenham on Sunday when they travel to the south coast to face Bournemouth.

Eddie Howe’s side have lost just once in 10 games at the Vitality Stadium in the league, with Bournemouth also having held Spurs scoreless when they last visited.

Quantifying the scale of blow to the solar plexus that Tottenham suffered on Wednesday evening is not straightforward. This team desperately needs some silverware to give them a tangible progress check.

The good football and strong results, along with high league finishes and sitting above Arsenal at season’s end, can only count for so much. Spurs appear locked-in for another top-four finish although losing to Juventus in the manner they did will hurt.

It might be enough to knock them off their stride, at least briefly, and Bournemouth can take advantage by earning a point at 33/10.

Arsene Wenger will have been mightily relieved to get a win in Italy, but it cannot be allowed to paper over the cracks as a lone performance. They must build on it.

The Gunners have lost four of their last six games on league duty. Watford are their guests at the Emirates in Sunday’s early kick-off and they are far from ideal opponents on the back of that arduous trip to Milan.

The Hornets have won their last two meetings with Arsenal while they also boast two wins from their last three visits to the Emirates Stadium. There has been no stalemate in the last six meetings between these teams.

Watford have been boosted recently with back-to-back 1-0 wins over Everton and West Brom. The Hornets have, however, lost six from seven on the road while they’ve failed to score in five of their last seven away from Vicarage Road.

Arsenal are 20/41 to win this game. They’ve clearly struggled against this opposition in the past but given Watford are goal-shy on their travels, the suggestion is backing the home side to win to nil at 9/5 after they had some wind put into their sails in Milan.

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