Sunday 8th November – 16:00 – Emirates Stadium
Two of the league’s most inform sides meet on Sunday afternoon in the North London derby as Tottenham Hotspur make the short trip to Arsenal. The Gunners are aiming to achieve a sixth straight league win, but will need to pick themselves up after a 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek which left their chances of progression in the competition as slim. Meanwhile Spurs haven’t lost in the league since the opening day and beat Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday thanks to Mousa Dembele’s superb late winner. With this game being the last fixture before the international break, nothing but a win will be expected from both managers’, knowing how much winning this match means to each set of supporters.
- Arsene Wenger is hopeful Laurent Koscielny will recover from a hip problem in time to play, but right-back Hector Bellerin is still sidelined by a groin injury.
- Mikel Arteta faces a late fitness test on an ankle injury, while David Ospina could return from a shoulder problem.
- Theo Walcott (calf), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (fibula), Danny Welbeck (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (knee) remain out.
- Left-back Danny Rose is expected to be available despite suffering a knock against Aston Villa.
- Clinton Njie is close to recovering from a hamstring injury and could also feature, while fellow forward Son Heung-min made a substitute appearance against Anderlecht on Thursday after six weeks out with a foot problem.
- Nabil Bentaleb and Nacer Chadli are both out with ankle injuries, whilst Andros Townsend is also likely to be absent as the winger serves punishment for his altercation with a club fitness coach on Monday.
The Key Battle: Per Mertesacker vs Harry Kane
It was a bad day at the office for Per Mertesacker and his defensive colleagues on Wednesday night as Bayern Munich smashed five goals past them. Although the German himself wasn’t solely responsible for any of the goals, he still failed to provide leadership to a defence hit by injuries.
To be fair, it was a rare blip for the Gunners’ backline, who had previously kept three clean sheets in their last four league games. There would be no better way to make up for the horror show in the Champions League by keeping Tottenham’s attackers, mainly Harry Kane, at bay.
2014-15’s PFA Young Player of the Season had a slow start to this campaign, but finally looks to be rediscovering the form that earned him so many plaudits last season.
Kane has five goals in his last three games in all competitions, and is continuing to impress for England as well. His two goals in the North London derby in February which gave Spurs a 2-1 win earned him cult status at White Hart Lane, and on the run he is on, the striker could well do the same on Sunday.
Arsenal wins = 78 / Tottenham Hotspur wins = 55 / Draws = 48
Last Meeting: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Arsenal (23rd September 2015)
Mathieu Flamini scored a superb volley to give Arsenal victory in their League Cup third-round tie at Tottenham earlier this season. The Frenchman slotted the visitors into the lead after Spurs keeper Michel Vorm could only parry an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot back into his area. Tottenham’s Danny Rose had a penalty appeal rejected before the hosts equalised when Calum Chambers scored an own goal from Nacer Chadli’s cross. Midfielder Flamini then volleyed in from 20 yards to secure the win and send the Gunners through. [BBC]
Arsene Wenger: “They [Tottenham] have been a threat every year since I’ve been here. In the last 20 years, they always had very strong teams and let’s not forget that some periods we were eight or nine points behind them in April, so they have had very strong teams. This year they are younger, they work very hard and they will be a tough opponent again – they are every year.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “The derby is always a different game. You need to play with your heart and passion. I know what it means to our supporters. It’s not important the past, it’s how you take the game and we arrive in very good form. We have to be ready and be strong in our mind and try to win the game because we know what the derby means.”
The Referee – Martin Atkinson
- Last Premier League game: Stoke City 0-2 Watford (24th October 2015) – 4 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Arsenal game: Arsenal 0-2 West Ham United (9th August 2015) – 4 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Tottenham Hotspur game: Leicester City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (22nd August 2015) – 4 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Stat of the Match
Mauricio Pochettino could become only the second Tottenham manager to win more than one Premier League match against Arsene Wenger (Harry Redknapp recorded three victories).
Where can I watch it?
Sky Sports 1 will be live at the Emirates Stadium from 3:30pm on Sunday, with kick-off half an hour later. The highlights will then be on Match of the Day 2, which is at 10:30pm on BBC One.
My Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
This game all depends on how well Arsenal respond to their thrashing on Wednesday night in Munich. If they slump, then Tottenham could easily exploit them, but Sanchez & co will be keen to make amends. At the same time, Spurs won’t want to end their unbeaten run, least of all to their local rivals. That’s why I’m going for a 1-1 draw, with Mesut Ozil and Christian Eriksen to score.