Tottenham head to the Emirates on Sunday three points ahead of their North London rivals after securing back to back 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Swansea with two penalty goals from record signing Roberto Soldado.
Arsenal, on the other hand have recovered well after their opening day defeat to Aston Villa with an impressive 3-1 win over Fulham last weekend and will be eager to impress their home fans after their less than impressive start at The Emirates.
Tottenham have won four of their last eight games against The Gunners, with Arsenal winning three. However, Arsenal have won 5-2 in the last two North London derbies at The Emirates, with Tottenham’s 3-2 win in 2010 being their first away win at Arsenal in the Premier League since 1993.
Their have been on average 6 goals per game in the last 5 games at The Emirates, with the 0-0 in 2009 being the first goalless game between these two sides since 1998. Although, Tottenham have failed to concede a goal this season and look a much more solid team with Capoue, Sandro, Dembele and Paulinho vying for places in midfield.
You can listen to our podcast featuring @fkhanage & @DialSquare_1886 (Arsenal) Vs @Kevrov & @stevemcgookin (Tottenham Hotspur) previewing the game by using the embedded player or you can use the links beneath it.
Listen to this podcast episode | Download this podcast episode (right click and save)
Arsenal will be without Lukas Podolski after the German limped off with a torn hamstring in their 3-0 win over Fenerbache in midweek. Aaron Ramsey is expected to play some part in the derby, while Arsene Wenger thinks Jack Wilshere should be ok after taking a knock to the ankle in midweek.
Thomas Vermaelen is still a few weeks away, while Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all long term absentees. Laurent Koscielny will return after being suspended for the last Premier League game, while new signing Mathieu Flamini should be included in the squad.
Gareth Bale won’t play for Tottenham again and is expected to complete his move to Real Madrid in the not to distant future, while Aaron Lennon will be hoping to return after a foot injury that has kept him out of recent games. Lewis Holtby is available and new signings Vlad Chiriches and Erik Lamela may be included in the squad.
- Arsenal did not lose a game when taking the lead last season, winning 17 and drawing 3.
- Only Manchester United (1.81) earnt more points per game after going 1-0 down last season than Tottenham (1.38).
- 10 of Olivier Giroud’s 11 goals came at The Emirates last season and he has never scored outside of London in the Premier League.
- There have been 3 goals or more scored in the last 8 Premier League games between these sides.
- There have been 30 goals in the last 5 North London derbies at The Emirates.
- Both teams have scored in the last 7 games between these sides.
Arsenal will be looking to the Spaniard this weekend to make the difference in what is expected to be a tight game. Cazorla was Arsenal’s most creative player last season creating 96 chances, which was 21% of Arsenal’s overall chances.
Santi Cazorla created 51 more chances than any of his teammates in the Premier League last season with only Leighton Baines (116) and David Silva (104) creating more chances than him in the Premier League. Cazorla also weighed in with 11 assists, with only his fellow countryman Juan Mata (12) assisting more goals in the Premier League last season.
The former Malaga midfielder created 15 clear cut chances, which was 4 more than any other Arsenal player with only Leighton Baines (22), Robert Snodgrass (16) and David Silva (16) creating more.
When Cazorla is on form then Arsenal play well, but it is not only his creativity stats that impressed last season.
Santi Cazorla made 1265 final third passes, which was 292 more passes than any other player last season, with 82% of them finding a teammate. This is a very impressive final third completion rate considering the volume of passes he makes and to put this into context he completed a higher percentage of final third passes than Juan Mata, David Silva and Steven Gerrard last season.
The Spaniard’s ability to keep hold of the ball in the final third and create chances from nothing was invaluable to Arsenal last season and this coupled with the fact that Cazorla made 13 more accurate through balls than any other player is why Tottenham will have to stop Cazorla to have any chance in this game.
Paulinho has made an instant impact at White Hart Lane, fitting nicely into Andre Villas-Boas new 4-3-3 formation. The Brazilian has put in some all action displays in his first few games as a Tottenham player, bombing forward whenever he has the chance.
Tottenham will need Paulinho’s energy in midfield alongside Ettiene Capoue and Mousa Dembele to limit the time that Arsenal’s more creative players such as Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere have on the ball. As well as having the ability to help stop Arsenal he also gives the Arsenal midfield something to think about going the other way with his marauding runs.
Paulinho also provides support for lone striker Roberto Soldado, which is crucial in the 4-3-3 formation that AVB has set his side up in this season. Paulinho is a typical box to box midfielder, which along with a playmaker was something Spurs missed last season and Arsenal will need to be aware of the Brazilian midfielder.
Paulinho has made 7 tackles in his first two games for Spurs at a rate of a tackle every 26 minutes, winning 57% of them. He has also entered into a ground 50-50 every 8.18 minutes winning 64% of those, showing just how hard he is working off the ball for his team. The Brazilian has also completed 90% of his 89 passes this season and won possession of the ball back every 14 minutes.
He is also not afraid to have a go at goal, having 7 shots in his first two games with 43% of them hitting the target, with his first Tottenham goal coming in the Europa League qualifier against Dinamo Tbilisi.
Spurs will be looking for their midfield trio to stifle Arsenal and Paulinho’s work rate and hunger to win the ball back will help to make Tottenham a more defensively sound team than in their last two trips to the Emirates. His forward runs will also give Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey something to think about, which is maybe something Spurs have missed in recent seasons with the focus all being on Gareth Bale.
Neither team will want to lose such an important game so early in the season and I am fully expecting this game to be a lot closer than in recent seasons at The Emirates. It looks like the Gareth Bale saga is finally over and Spurs can finally focus on their football but the new signings will need to gel sooner rather than later for Tottenham to have a good season.
Arsenal will be wanting to prove a point on the pitch after all the recent comments about their lack of transfer activity, with people forgetting that although the squad is light the players they do have are top quality.
Tottenham have failed to concede a goal this season and look very difficult to break down, but with the creativity of Cazorla and the pace of Walcott I think Tottenham’s run of not conceding will end …. but so will their run of not scoring from open play.
I am going for a score draw in this game, which will suit both managers – especially AVB.
You can back the draw with Pinnacle Sports at 3.58.
Pinnacle are also offering odds of 2.15 for an Arsenal win or if you fancy Spurs to take all three points then you can back them at 3.62.