Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal on Sunday, and the North London derby is expected to be a fierce one given what is at stake for both sides.
A loss will deal a huge blow on Spurs’ chances of playing European football next term, and the same thing will happen to Arsenal with only a point between both teams in the table.
While Tottenham are at home, there won’t be much of a home advantage as the game will be played in an empty stadium.
The fans would have played a huge role in potentially spurring Jose Mourinho’s side to victory against their bitter rivals, but that advantage has been lost due to social distancing rules put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a masterpiece to behold, but it’s ordinary without the teeming fans, and Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti shares Mourinho’s pain.
“It’s so sad. Best stadium in the world, great rival history in north London, two big clubs. I can imagine it would be a very special, magnificent atmosphere in stadium, in streets, in north London. We all feel sorry,” Mourinho told football.london when asked how being no fans will affect the match.
“Of course Arsenal prefers to play behind closed doors because would be our advantage, but even them would have special motivation to come to us with that special atmosphere that we love in football. But we have to do what we are trying to do, I remember Nuno saying it is hard, it is sad to play like this – we all have that feeling.
“Ancelotti told me the same: ‘Jose, what a stadium, pity to be empty’. We have to compete, these matches are deciding Champions League, Europa League, relegation. They are proper matches and we have to try to forget the situation and just to compete and try to play well and win.”
The lack of atmosphere in stadiums has affected almost every team since the Premier League restarted, and Spurs will have to find another way to get all three points at the expense of Arsenal in the first-ever North London derby played behind closed doors.
Also See: Arsenal v Tottenham history and rivalry.