In what promises to be another exciting Premier League weekend, the exciting and much anticipated North London derby takes centre stage at the Emirates. Fierce North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will come face to face, once again this season, after their League Cup clash at White Hart Lane some weeks ago.
It’s being touted to be one of the closest North London derbies in recent times, with both old rivals sitting at 1st and 2nd on the Premier League form table. While Spurs haven’t lost a game since their defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Arsenal are yet to concede a defeat in the Premier League since their 2-0 loss to Chelsea in a rather controversial game.
Spurs haven’t won all of their games since their opening-day defeat and have drawn some on the way, but Arsenal’s recent spanking at the hands of Bayern Munich places both sides on a similar footing when they meet at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon. And rightly so, it has all the makings of a thrilling contest.
Arsenal have a highly substantial injury list to deal with, heading into the clash. Hector Bellerin, who didn’t feature against Bayern Munich due to a groin problem and will miss the derby too. As far as Laurent Koscielny is concerned, Arsene Wenger has said that the Frenchman is 80 percent sure of featuring as he’s fighting for fitness ahead of the game.
Arsenal will still be without Theo Walcott, who sustained a calf injury during the Gunners’ clash at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday, quite like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain( hamstring). The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky are still nursing their respective injuries.
Spurs’ medical room would be far less populated than Arsenal’s. Danny Rose could be back after enduring a knock against Aston Villa on Monday and Hueng Son Min will probably be fit to feature, after making an appearance from the bench against Anderlecht. More so, French new signing Clinton N’Jie will be back in action too.
Arsenal: Petr Cech, Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud
Spurs: Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Hueng Min Son, Moussa Dembele, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane
As we already know, both these sides have already met this campaign, although in the League Cup but Arsenal emerged 2-1 winners in that one, thanks to a rather unlikely Mathieu Flamini brace.
When it comes to the Premier League, Arsenal have failed to beat Spurs in their previous two encounters, with the last game being a one of Harry Kane’s rejoice. Spurs came back from a goal down when Mesut Ozil had given Arsenal an early lead, only to be cancelled out by a Harry Kane strike in the first half and a thumping, sensational header in the later stages of the game.
Arsenal had beaten Spurs back in the 2013-14 season thanks to a Tomas Rosicky stunner from a tight angle.
History seems to be in Arsenal’s favor, with Tottenham having won their last game at Emirates back in 1993, which is 22 years ago. But the stat which would encourage the Lilywhites is that Spurs have lost just two of their previous ten away games, winning four and drawing just as many.
But, Arsenal have won 13 and have been beaten just twice, when it comes to Premier League encounters at Emirates.
Mesut Ozil, who’s arguably is back to his very best, has accumulated the most assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season, with his tally standing at 9. More so, four of Olivier Giroud’s 6 goals have been assisted by the German.
This Sunday’s North London derby has all the makings of being something truly special, or even the best and the most closely fought in recent times.
Historical stats do favor Arsenal, just a shade, but Tottenham are taking to an under the radar development and are slowly making inroads towards Arsenal and Manchester City. Unlike Arsenal, who are filled to the brim with individual brilliance, Spurs have adhered to a more teamwork, hard work based and method of winning matches. And their domination of Manchester City showed why they are a force to be reckoned with once again. If you look at their goal scorers, apart from Harry Kane who has scored five times, the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Moussa Dembele, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela have all scored twice, bringing to the fore how much of a collective and teamwork based approach Pochetinno has taken at White Hart Lane.
Arsenal, who were defensively all over the place against the Bavarians at Allianz have showed glimpses of lovely football, thanks to the individual brilliance of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. They’ve ousted defense apart at will, either home or away and that’s one of the reasons why they are second in the table right now. Behind Man City only on goal difference.
It’s going to be a game which will be closely fought and both teams will be itching to give the other a blow, and deal a blow to their respective hopes- the title and the top four. And as far as predictions go, I’ll predict a 1-1 draw.