Four matches to watch: Arsenal on salvage mission against Spurs, Real desperate for win at Atletico

Arsenal players celebrate winning the penalty shoot-out. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Arsenal v Tottenham @The Emirates@1:30pm on Nov 18

Tottenham finished ahead of Arsenal last season for the first time in 22 years. Arsene Wenger is under immense pressure with Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Shkodran Mustafi, all needing late fitness tests, while Olivier Giroud is out with a thigh injury picked up during the international break. The captain of the side, Laurent Koscielny, is struggling with an Achilles problem.

Meanwhile, Tottenham seem to have the trio of Harry Winks, Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane back in training. Wenger has not won this North London derby in the past six meetings and further dropping of points will heap more pressure on him. Jonathan Wilson, writing in the Guardian said, “Tottenham may not yet be the club Arsenal could have been but Arsenal are the club Tottenham don’t want to become. If Spurs outgun the Gunners this weekend, then it will be confirmed that North London has been bleached white from its customary red colour.”

Current form: Arsenal [L-D-W-W-W]; Tottenham [W-W-L-L-W]

Head to head

Sun    30/04/17     PRL    Tottenham    2 – 0 Arsenal

Sun    06/11/16      PRL    Arsenal        1 – 1   Tottenham

Sat    05/03/16     PRL    Tottenham    2 – 2 Arsenal

Sun    08/11/15      PRL    Arsenal        1 – 1   Tottenham

Wed   23/09/15     LEC    Tottenham    1 – 2 Arsenal

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

Roma v Lazio @Stadio Olimpico @6pm on Nov 18

The Derby Della Capitale follows immediately after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. The two sides are separated by 12km but by one point on the table with Lazio ahead of Roma.

Former Lazio striker and now manager, Simone Inzaghi, has regenerated enthusiasm for the club and must be the catalyst that has turned Ciro Immobile into one of the deadliest strikers on the European continent. Immobile already boasts 14 goals in 11 league matches. But in Roma, they meet the stingiest defence in Italy – having conceded just seven goals. The Romans also showed they are an attacking force by scoring six times against Chelsea in the Champions League. Will this be a feast of goals or will pragmatism win the day?

Current form: Roma [W-W-W-W-W]; Lazio [W-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Sun    30/04/17     SEA   Roma 1 – 3   Lazio

Tue    04/04/17     COI   Roma 3 – 2 Lazio

Wed   01/03/17      COI   Lazio 2 – 0 Roma

Sun    04/12/16      SEA   Lazio 0 – 2 Roma

Sun    03/04/16     SEA   Lazio 1 – 4   Roma

Prediction: Roma 2-3 Lazio

Atletico v Real Madrid @WandaMetropolitano @8:45PM on Nov 18

The season is not going as planned for the top two Madrid teams. Both with 23 points – eight points adrift of Barcelona, the game on Saturday is one no team can afford to lose or draw, which should make for an exciting end-to-end contest. Both teams are also supposedly experiencing upheavals behind the scenes concerning their prized attacking assets. Loic Remy has more goals for Las Palmas than Antoine Griezman has for Atletico while Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just once in the league this season compared to two for Gareth Bale, who has played 234 minutes less than him. Zinedine Zidane is coming under increased pressure while Diego Simeone, even though his team is yet to lose, are not as watertight at the back as they used to be.

Current form: Atletico [W-D-D-D-W]; Real Madrid [W-L-L-W-W]

Head to head

Wed   10/05/17      UCL   Atletico       2 – 1   Real Madrid

Tue    02/05/17     UCL   Real Madrid 3 – 0 Atletico

Sat    08/04/17     PRD    Real Madrid 1 – 1   Atletico

Sat    19/11/16       PRD    Atletico       0 – 3 Real Madrid

Sat    28/05/16     UCL   Real Madrid 1 – 1   Atletico

Prediction: Atletico 0-1 Real Madrid

Napoli v AC Milan @Stadio San Paolo@8:45pm on Nov 18

The $200 million spent to refurbish AC Milan during the summer seems to have brought nothing but imbalance to the team. The Rossoneri are floundering, already 13 points off leaders, Napoli, and in need of a confidence-boosting win. Can they achieve this at the San Paolo? It looks tough because Maurizio Sarri’s men have been near impeccable at home – scoring 15 and conceding just two. Though the loss of Faouzi Ghoulam has taken something away from the Naples side, they still have the attacking trident of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon to deliver the goods. These three have between them already scored 18 goals in the league this season. Milan manager, Vincenzo Montella, will be hoping Antonio Donnarumma can keep Napoli at bay and maybe keep him in his job for a while longer.

Current Form: Napoli [D-L-W-W-D]; AC Milan [W-D-L-W-D]

Head to head

Sat    21/01/17      SEA   AC Milan      1 – 2   SSC Napoli

Sat    27/08/16     SEA   SSC Napoli 4 – 2 AC Milan

Mon    22/02/16     SEA   SSC Napoli 1 – 1   AC Milan

Sun    04/10/15      SEA   AC Milan      0 – 4 SSC Napoli

Sun    03/05/15     SEA   SSC Napoli 3 – 0 AC Milan

Prediction: Napoli 3-1 AC Milan


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