Here is one match that needs little introduction. A North London Derby is, at least to the parties concerned, one of the defining matches of a season, regardless of positions on the table or silverware available. Throw in the idea that one side could climb to as high as third with a positive result, and you have a recipe for a barn-burner of Biblical proportions.
Each side comes in on varying waves of momentum, with Tottenham having overwhelmed Chelsea a and Arsenal overcoming Manchester City. Spurs’ win over Chelsea is significant for a number of reasons: one, of course, they defeated Chelsea in the Prem, something that’s only been done once before. Two, they won at White Hart Lane, a bit of a rarity for Spurs. Three, they scored five goals in one match after going for 24 in their previous 19. All season, Spurs have managed to wring maximum points from minimal goal difference; their +5 is the lowest among the top eight squads. That’s a knife that cuts both ways. On one hand, they’re familiar with and perhaps even comfortable with delivering results under pressure. Pochettino’s fitness-regimen seems designed to help his players win late, as evinced by how many times they’ve found a late winner or equaliser.
In particular, Christian Eriksen, schooled at Ajax, has earned 13 points for Tottenham with his goals, best in the Prem. Of his nine goals, four of them have been winners scored in the last 20 minutes of the match. Not to be outdone, Harry Kane has won 12 points through his goals, second-best in the Prem. Third on the list would be one Alexis Sanchez, but he might be ruledout, leaving us to wonder who will unsettle Tottenham’s defense and possibly eliminating the chance that a Gunner could overtake a Spur in the “most points won” category, at least for this matchday.
In Alexis’s potential absence, of course, we did quite well against Aston Villa, what with goals from Giroud, Walcott, Cazorla, Özil, and Bellerin, making us the most egalitarian scoring side in the Prem. It’s not that we should draw any direct comparisons between Villa and Spurs, but, then again, they’ve each conceded the same number of goals (30). In Alexis’s absence, we fould see a fully fit Walcott deployed, who should be raring to go and more than ready to remind the Tottenham faithful of what he’s capable of after his 2013-14 campaign came to an end against them in the FA Cup’s third round last season.
- Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham (27.09.2014)
- Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal (16.03.2014)
- Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham (04.01.2014)
- The two clubs first clashed on 4 December 1909—1-0 to the Arsenal.
- Tottenham have won their last six matches at White Hart Lane.
- Tottenham have not scored more than two goals against Arsenal in eight matches.
- Arteta, Wilshere, Diaby, Debuchy, and Oxlade-Chamberlain have been ruled out; Welbeck and Alexis face late fitness tests.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
- Ospina; Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin; Ramsey, Coquelin; Özil, Cazorla, Walcott; Giroud.
Walcott will deliver the kind of performance we’ve been hankering for since he last faced Tottenham.