HomeOTHEREPLDerby Day | Spurs vs Arsenal

Derby Day | Spurs vs Arsenal

The passion, vitriol and electricity of Derby Day will be unleashed on North London this Sunday afternoon. It is one of the fiercest matches of any season and a huge day on the calendar of both Spurs and Arsenal fans. It is a fixture that needs no extra spice. But this first derby of the season has plenty with Spurs sitting above Arsenal and looking to stay there.

This fixture has had new life breathed into it in recent years as Spurs have bridged the gap between the two sides. A fine recent record of 2 wins 3 draws and only 1 defeat in the league is part of the reason why Spurs enter as favourites. Spurs have strung together three wins on the bounce in the league and have conceded only two goal in their last six games in all competitions. This stands in stark contrast to Arsenal’s recent form. Arsenal have conceded 20 goals in all competitions (though they’ve had more clean sheets than Spurs in the league).

It seems certain that there will be goals at the Lane on Sunday. Last season there were 11 spread across both matches. This season, Spurs have created 15.4 chances per game (Arsenal with an almost identical 15.3). Both sides have given up plenty of chances too (13.6 and 12.1 respectively). Their matches this season have averaged 4.5 goals per game.

Both Brad Friedel and Wojciech Szczesny have been busy this season. They have picked the ball out of their own nets 23 times combined. Brad Friedel has demonstrated his competence on the ball more than Szczesny. He has received the ball to his feet and played out twice as often as his Polish counterpart and has been much more accurate with his distribution from goal kicks. Szczesny has also gambled by punching the ball clear at least once per game. Spurs fans will recall the last time an Arsenal goalkeeper attempted to punch clear at White Hart Lane.

Although derby hero Danny Rose is unlikely to feature, both sides will send out potential match winners. As usual, the clash between two former Southampton colleagues, Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott, promises to have significant bearing on the result. As Jerod pointed out on this site, Bale has made twice the number of successful dribbles as his old friend Walcott. He has also shown signs of reaching top form in his last two games. Both starting right backs that he has come up against have been dismissed after being forced to foul the Welshman in order to stop him. Sagna is one of the better and more experienced right backs in the Premier League and is unlikely to fall into the same trap but this clash should still prove interesting.

The presence of Emmanuel Adebayor in the derby has been cause for celebration for Arsenal fans in the past. The Togolese striker has made a habit of plundering goals in this match. Spurs fans will be hoping he continues the fine early form of his Spurs career by scoring in another derby match, this time against his old employers.

While most of the Spurs selection seems obvious, it remains to be seen who will be chosen to partner Adebayor in attack. Jermain Defoe has shone in that combination, while Van der Vaart scored last week and in both derbies last season. It is unlikely that both will be able to start so Harry has a tough decision to make. Defoe helps to make the pitch bigger, stretching the space between midfield and attack. His constant presence on the last shoulder allows Adebayor to drop off or push wide. At times against Wigan when he did so there was no Spurs striker in an attacking position. Adebayor’s willingness to push wide also takes pressure off Kyle Walker’s attacking role. The young full back was brilliant in attack at Wigan but still has much to learn defensively. Given his opponent this week is likely to be Gervinho in combination with Van Persie, he will probably be pegged back much more than last week.

This match has been built up with all the usual anticipation of derby day. On Sunday, Spurs and Arsenal will meet in a fierce and closely competitive match. Spurs are favourites, just, and Arsenal will hope to continue to recover from their disastrous start. There is every chance that this match will be a real classic.

I'm a journalist in training, living in Australia and consuming every piece of news, stat and football information I can. Put them together and that's why I'm here
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