Kickoff – 1630 GMT
Not for quite some time have our neighbours gone into a North London Derby as such overwhelming favourites.
It really is a good thing that form doesn’t apply in these fixtures.
If it did, then tottenham would win handsomely and enjoy the superiority they currently enjoy in the Premiership table. Sitting in second spot and chasing Chelsea hard for the title, they have left Arsenal choking on their dust. The Gunners are sitting in sixth place and the gap of 14 points is a chasm and the biggest it has been in over two decades.
Arsene Wenger must set his team up accordingly. This may carry a whole heap of pressure, but it is also a great opportunity to win the last derby at White Hart Lane – a place which has been a happy hunting ground over the years.
Wenger will have to deal without Shkodran Mustafi again, but talismanic defender Laurent Koscielny has a “60% chance of playing” according to the Gunners boss in his last press conference. Arsenal’s hopes could well hinge on if Koscielny makes the team, but if he does, will Wenger continue with his recent experiment with 3 at the back?
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be one who hopes so, as his performances have been excellent since the new formation has been implemented. The Ox was an unused sub in our last game, but could come straight back into the team. Theo Walcott or Hector Bellerin may be the men to make way.
Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of Moussa Dembele, but if the Belgian misses out, then Eric Dier may come into the defensive midfield spot. Aside from Dembele and Danny Rose, spurs have a clean bill of health.
The title race may be filling the home side’s thoughts, but they won’t want to lose the last ever derby at their ground. They have recent derby results in their favour though, as Arsenal have one win in the last eight trips to White Hart Lane – which was in 2014. There may well be goals too, as despite the poor recent record, the Gunners have scored in 35 of their last 36 derby games.
Arsenal players and Gooners know that if tottenham win, then for the first time in over 21 years they will finish above us. We cannot allow them this luxury. There are some stats worth remembering though.
This is Wengers 50th derby, and he has lost only seven so far. spurs have the only unbeaten home record left in the league, and have already amassed their best ever points total. We meanwhile, have lost four of our last five away games and tottenham have won their last 8 league games.
The man to watch out for? Christian Eriksen. He has been involved in 16 goals in his last 12 games, and the Dane is playing the best football of his career so far. Harry Kane – the mouth-breathing, non-annunciating goal-getter, has a great record against us too, so our newly-shaped defence must be drilled and prepped.
It’s a good thing form doesn’t apply…….
Predicted Lineup – Cech, Gabriel, Koscielny, Holding, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Monreal, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal.