The North London derby is one of the most hotly anticipated fixtures of the season and this weekend, we will witness the first one of the season. Tottenham are traveling to the Emirates Stadium and they will be hoping to extend their unbeaten Premier League run. The hosts are in better form, especially in front of goal, but to reference a cliche, form goes out of the window in Derby matches. If one side does manage to win the fixture, they will put themselves in a strong position in the league table heading at the start of November. Arsenal have been talked about as title contenders in recent weeks and it is easy to see why. They have a talented first eleven after adding players in key areas during the summer. The weakest link theory is often proven correct in football and Arsenal have strengthened in what have been problematic areas. There remain doubts about their mentality and whether they have the wherewithal to challenge for a title. November has traditionally been a bad month for Arsenal, but a good result against their local rivals will be the best way to put that hoodoo to rest.
Arsenal have been talked about as title contenders in recent weeks and it is easy to see why. They have a talented first eleven after adding players in key areas during the summer. The weakest link theory is often proven correct in football and Arsenal have strengthened in what have been problematic areas. There remain doubts about their mentality and whether they have the wherewithal to challenge for a title. November has traditionally been a bad month for Arsenal, but a good result against their local rivals will be the best way to put that hoodoo to rest.
The visitors on Sunday have been struggling for goals recently, scoring just two in their last three Premier League matches, all of which finished in draws. They are the only remaining unbeaten team in the league, but they must improve in the final third if they want to finish in the top four for the second successive year. Harry Kane has been a huge miss and he could be involved on Sunday, which would be great news for Mauricio Pochettino. Although Vincent Janssen was signed to provide cover, the Dutchman is still adjusting to the league and doesn’t look like threatening in open play.
Both of the North London derbies ended in draws last season, but there was plenty of entertainment and drama on show for the neutral. In the match between the two at the Emirates Stadium, it finished 1-1. Harry Kane gave his side a first half lead, but Kieran Gibbs scored late on to earn Arsenal a point. Meanwhile, the match at White Hart Lane was a classic that ended in a 2-2 draw. Aaron Ramsey gave Arsenal the lead with a sublime goal, but then disaster struck as Francis Coquelin was sent off. Goals from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane put Tottenham ahead before a late Alexis Sanchez denied Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
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Carl Jenkinson and Theo Walcott will both be available for Arsenal this weekend. Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Gibbs are all facing a battle to be passed fit in time. Lucas Perez, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck won’t be involved.
Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld will face late fitness tests as they try to be passed fit for the biggest game of Spurs’ season so far. Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele are both doubts. Moussa Sissoko will miss out through suspension.
Only Gareth Bale (5) has more Premier League North London derby goals than Harry Kane (4) for Tottenham.
Mauricio Pochettino is the only Spurs boss that Arsene Wenger has faced more than once in the Premier League and failed to beat.
The German scored an excellent goal during the week that took the headlines, and he will be hoping that he can be the standout performer again this weekend. Ozil is ,without doubt, the best in the world at what he does, as he possesses incredible vision and weights every pass perfectly. At the age of 28, he will be hoping to win some more silverware in club football and this season could be his best opportunity to lift the Premier League title with Arsenal. For that to happen, he will have to perform at elite level on a weekly basis. Towards the end of last season, the German stopped contributing goals and assists with the regularity that he was before Christmas. He has started this season slowly after the European Championships, especially creatively, as he currently has three goals and one assist to his name. The 28-year-old will be crucial this weekend as Tottenham have a well organised defence who will look to frustrate Arsenal. Ozil has the creative ability to cut them open with regularity. If he plays well, there is a great chance that Arsenal will take the three points.
There were doubts about how the Kenyan would fit into the Tottenham starting eleven when his signing was announced, but he has been an ever-present this season. He is a destroyer and has added an extra dimension to Tottenham’s defence. It is in matches like these that his role is most important, as he will be required to break up the play and win the ball back for his side. Arsenal possess one of the best midfields in Europe and Wanyama will face a difficult test to keep the likes of Mesut Ozil quiet. However, he has taken every challenge in his stride to date and will relish the opportunity of dominating a North London derby. That said, he will need to be careful not to get sent off, as he is known for his lack of discipline at times.
Derby matches are historically difficult to predict as form goes out of the window and it is the team with the best mentality that normally prevails. Tottenham have looked like the better team in this fixture during recent seasons, but they have missed Harry Kane. Even if the striker is passed fit, he won’t be able to come straight into the team and play at the level that we have grown used to. I fancy Arsenal to take the three points and the bragging rights this weekend. They look a lot stronger mentally and should have enough to get the win.