It’s that time of the year again! It’s the North London Derby and as the cliche goes, form goes out of the window on derby days.
There is never a clear favourite when it comes to derbies. There is also no need for you to be in ‘great form’ heading into a derby. The North London Derby for sure isn’t left out. In the midst of a bad patch or a great run of form, Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal provides what a true derby is all about.
For the first time in over 50years, Arsenal will be visiting Spurs outside White Hart Lane – a ground were Arsene Wenger’s men had won the title. This particular edition of the North London Derby would be played at the Wembley Stadium – a home away from home for Arsenal. The Gunners last 3 visit to Wembley had resulted in victories, 2 of which landed the Gunners a record 13th FA Cup title and the Community Shield.
But then, Spurs are beginning to understand how to play at the Wembley after a bad run of form earlier in the season.
The reverse fixture of derby produced a clinical 2-0 win for Arsenal with goals from Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez. However both sides comes into this game with a good spirit and on a high.
Arsenal’s last game saw them defeat Everton 5-1 with new signing Aubameyang scoring his debut goal as we saw the return of the renowned ‘Wenger Ball’. Tottenham on the other hand benefited from some wrong calls in their 2 – 2 draw against Liverpool.
- Arsenal beat Spurs for the first time in seven Premier League meetings in the reverse fixture last November.
- This is the first game between the sides at Wembley since April 1993, when a goal by Tony Adams gave Arsenal a 1-0 FA Cup semi-final victory.
- Tottenham have dropped 37 points from winning positions in Premier League games against Arsenal – the worst record of any club against a single opponent.
- They have met 194 times in all competitions, with Arsenal leading by 81 wins to Tottenham’s 62.
- Spurs are unbeaten in eight league games but have drawn three of the last five.
- Mauricio Pochettino’s side have gone 12 home matches without defeat in the Premier League, winning eight of the past 10.
- The four points earned from their two most recent league fixtures, against Manchester United and Liverpool, is one more than they managed in five previous games this season against other current top-six sides.
- Since Pochettino took charge ahead of the 2014-15 season, Spurs have the best home record in Premier League matches between the current top six teams: 10 wins and 35 points from 18 fixtures.
- Tottenham have scored in 14 successive top-flight matches since the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on 18 November.
- They have conceded nine of their 24 league goals this season, or 38%, after the 75th minute of matches.
- Harry Kane has scored six goals in six league games against Arsenal. He has 21 goals in 32 Premier League London derby matches, an average of 0.66 per game.
- Arsene Wenger’s side are winless in 15 Premier League away games against the current top five clubs since a 2-0 victory at Manchester City in January 2015 (D6, L9).
- Arsenal have only averaged a point per away game in the Premier League this season, with three wins, four draws and six defeats. They have the division’s ninth best away record.
- They could suffer three straight away defeats in the Premier League for the first time since a run of four losses ended last April.
- However, Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine matches at Wembley Stadium, winning them all including two penalty shootouts.
- The Gunners have gone eight league games without a clean sheet since mid-December.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored four goals in four appearances against Tottenham: one in the Champions League and three goals in the Europa League.
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan has set up three Premier League goals in 120 minutes of action for Arsenal, as many as Alexis Sanchez managed in 1507 minutes for the Gunners this season.
Arsenal is expected to have the same team that demolished Everton last time out. The only doubt is goalkeeper, Petr Cech, who according to Arsene Wenger is yet to train with the team after a kick to his calf. Danny Welbeck and Nacho Monreal are expected to return to the team.
Wenger also has a decision to make on who to start between Aaron Ramsey and fit-again Jack Wilshere. The tantalizing LMAO combination might have to wait one more game before being unleashed as Wenger would most likely go with a front four of Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang.
Toby Alderweireld is fit again for Tottenham Hotspur but it’s still unclear whether he will be involved in this game. Same with new signing, Lucas Moura. Spurs’ manager, Mauricio Pochettino is expected to go with the same team that drew against Liverpool.
Like his Arsenal counterpart, Pochettino would also have a big selection headache as to who to start.
Tottenham starting XI: Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dembele, Dier; Alli, Eriksen, Son; Kane
Arsenal starting XI: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Ozil, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
This game would be won from the midfield, so we need to be on our A-Game. Tottenham’s duo of Dembele and Dier/Wanyama would attempt to bully our players, so they need to be prepared.
Our defenders did so well in the reversed fixture, taking no chance whatsoever. They need to be ready this time.
Derbies are very difficult to predict. Spurs are a very difficult side to play against. But then, we are playing at our second home – Wembley where we have an excellent record. With spirits high in the Gunners’ rank, I am going to stick my neck out and predict an Arsenal win. 0 – 2 to the Gunners.