Arsenal host Spurs on Sunday noontime in the most highly anticipated Premier League match of the weekend; the first North-London derby of the season. Arsenal go into the match sitting 2nd in the table, while Spurs currently lie 5th, though three points are all that separate the perennial rivals.
The Gunners go into Sunday’s intriguing clash on the back of a thrilling Champions League victory on Tuesday night against Ludogorets, wherein Arsene Wenger’s men came from 2-0 behind to beat the Bulgarian outfit 3-2 away from home.
In a stark contrast Spurs were limp in defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen in front of a lacklustre Wembley crowd, as Bayer’s Kevin Kampl’s solitary goal was enough to leave Spurs’ Champions League journey in jeopardy.
Arsenal last took on their North-London rivals in March at White Hart Lane, drawing 2-2 on the day in what was a typically thrilling derby. The last derby at the Emirates meanwhile was just under one year ago in November 2015 when the pair once again could not be separated when they drew 1-1.
While both clubs are so close in the table their immediate form couldn’t be further apart. Spurs remain largely solid at the back, having conceded just three goals in their last six Premier League matches. Their attack however is just as poor as their defense is solid, scoring only seven goals in their last six league fixtures.
Again in contrast Arsenal are flying offensively, scoring 15 goals in their last six Premier League matches. Their defense meanwhile may not be as impressive as Spurs’, but is still decent having only conceded four goals in their last six league games.
Mesut Ozil have been in superlative form of late, adding goals to his game. Alexis Sanchez has been deployed as a centre-forward in recent weeks, improving week on week in the new role for the diminutive Chilean attacker. Spurs’ attacking play couldn’t be further from Arsenal’s meanwhile, wit new signing Vincent Jannsen displaying some of the strength and hold-up play associated with Harry Kane, but none of the goal-scoring nous.
Kane is not expected to start in this clash, but may be given a pain-killing injection in order for him to come off the bench if he is required. Moussa Sissoko serves the third of his three-match ban, while Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela too.
Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck, Chuba Akpom and Lucas Perez are all ruled out for Arsenal.Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal are all doubts too, though the latter duo should feature. Aaron Ramsey may keep his place in the side, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dropping to the bench, while Granit Xhaka could start for the first time domestically since his red card in the 3-2 win over Swansea.
Assessing both short and long-term form, plus team news and specifically the likely absence of Kane this match seems perfectly set-up for Arsenal to win. Their attack is flying while their defence is more than capable of shutting out a blunt Spurs forward line.