Arsenal (8-1-2) v Tottenham (5-5-1)
Date: November 8, 2015
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick off: 11:00 AM EST
The battle for bragging rights in North London will be staged for the 181st time at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium this Sunday and the encounter is shaping up to be as interesting as it has ever been. While Arsenal have traditionally dominated this rivalry, their recent period of austerity has seen the gap between the two teams lessen somewhat. Indeed, under Pochettino, Spurs look like a team poised make a statement this season and there can be no better place to show their intent than the home of their fiercest rivals.
After a dodgy start to the season, Arsenal have gone on a run of games that have seen them rise to 2nd, with only goal difference to separate them from leaders, Manchester City. The cohesion that Wenger spoke so fondly of over the summer seems to have been matched with consistency as his team is undefeated in five games, scoring 16 goals in that run and conceding on only 3 occasions. Arsenal’s mixture of a high pressing game and their famed possession based style, along with a new found sense of pragmatism have fans and neutrals alike thinking this may be their year, injuries notwithstanding.
Spurs also come into this enjoying the longest current undefeated run the division. Since their opening day defeat to Manchester United, Spurs have been efficient, if not spectacular, in picking up points with five wins and five draws in that run. Pochettino’s high energy philosophy seems to have won over the players and board alike with him having full control to mastermind Tottenham’s rise from top four hopefuls to legitimate threats to the title. This is a transformation that will take time but the early signs are there that Spurs are on the right path with everyone on board.
While both teams have injuries to important personnel, those on show this Sunday at the Emirates are more than capable of setting the stadium alight. Mesut Özil is one such player that Spurs will have to pay close attention to. In his ten games so far this season, the German has only managed to score once but his impressive 9 assists in that time place him comfortably at the top of the assist charts. The likes of Dier and Alli will have to be at their best if they hope to stop the World Cup winner from influencing proceedings on Sunday.
With Héctor Bellerín injured, Mathieu Debuchy will get a rare Premier League start and he is set to have his hands full Heung-min Son declared fully fit. The Korean had enjoyed a good start to his career in England with 3 goals in 5 games before injury struck. Now fit, he would’ve wanted no bigger stage than the North London Derby to truly announce his arrival from Germany and in Debuchy, he has an opponent struggling for form. The perfect scenario for him.
Last 5 matches
Wins: Arsenal 2 – 2 Spurs
Goals: Arsenal 5 – 5 Spurs
Arsenal: Cech; Debuchy-Mertesacker-Koscielny-Monreal; Coquelin-Cazorla; Campbell-Özil-Alexis; Giroud.
Spurs: Lloris; Walker-Alderweireld-Vertonghen-Rose; Dier-Alli; Son-Dembele-Eriksen; Kane.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs.