There are always fireworks in the North London derby. And Saturday’s early kick-off between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal will be no different.
As always, local pride will be at stake. But both sides also need three points to close the gap on the Champions League spots.
Mauricio Pochettino has a full squad to choose from. Toby Alderweireld made his comeback in Spurs’ FA Cup win over Newport County in midweek but may not be ready for this yet.
Arsene Wenger may have to pick David Ospina in goal, with Petr Cech a doubt. The rest of his squad is available, bar long-term absentee Santi Cazorla.
Tottenham were dominant in their 2-0 win against Manchester United last week. They followed that with Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool, before a weakened side progressed in the cup against Newport. They’re unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions.
Arsenal have been very impressive at home this season. But it’s a different story on the road. The Gunners have only won three of 13 away league matches.
However, they’ve got have a superb record at Wembley. They’ve won nine consecutive games at the national stadium (including penalties), a run that’s seen them lift the FA Cup in three of the last four years.
Head to Head
Arsenal produced a sensational display in their 2-0 win at the Emirates in November. But they hadn’t won any of the six previous league NLDs before that.
Pochettino’s tactics have generally been successful against his neighbours.
Arsenal have found it tough to get their passing game going against Spurs in recent years. They turned it around earlier this season by pressing high and winning the ball in dangerous areas. Will they be able to play those tactics away from home?
Players to Watch
Harry Kane loves taking on Arsenal. The England star has scored six goals in six appearances against them.
Arsenal looked very slick in their 5-1 win against Everton on Saturday. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be the club’s new record signing, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be more important in this game.
His technique and skill could help new team to evade Spurs’ pressure and open up space for Mesut Ozil to pull the strings.
Arsenal’s away form could cost them here. But there should be plenty of drama throughout the 90 minutes. Both sides have scored in 34 top-flight meetings – more than any other fixture in the Premier League.
It’s all set up for a cracker. And whoever wins will get a huge boost heading into the final few months of the season.
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