With 51 wins, Tottenham are still a long way from being on par with Arsenal, who boast of 65 wins in the North London derby.
Arsene Wenger is under pressure again but the most ardent of his critics will not want him to lose this one – this is the trophy Gunners want to keep – keeping the noisy neighbours in check.
At the moment, Tottenham are four points better off than Arsenal in fifth place and a win will stretch that gap to seven; a loss whittles it down to one and a draw maintains status quo.
Arsenal have been woeful away from the Emirates this season with their last away victory coming against another London rival, Crystal Palace on December 28, 2017.
Does that portend a good omen? In their last match, the new recruit, Henrikh Mkhitaryan provided three assists – one of that was to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Spurs have the deadliest striker in the land, in Harry Kane and the Tottenham academy graduate has already scored 22 league goals in this campaign. Inasmuch as that is good news for Spurs’ fans and Mauricio Pochettino, it is also good news for opponents because they know that stopping Kane means stopping two-thirds of Tottenham goals. Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min, and Christian Eriksen must weigh in with their share of goals.
The Midfield Battle
Wenger must be thinking of using a three-pronged creative/destructive combination of Aaron Ramsey, who scored a hat-trick in the last match against Everton, fit-again Jack Wilshire and the tackling tenacity of Granit Xhaka. Spurs have a power-house midfield and it is very probable that Pochettino would deploy a four-man midfield of Victor Wanyama, Moussa Dembele, Eriksen, and Alli. Alli will be expected to join Kane in attack at every opportunity, an area where the match could be won and lost.
Injuries and Formations
Petr Cech and Nacho Monreal are doubts while Toby Alderwerild is back amongst the squad but may have to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench. Will Wenger continue with a back three or would he go to a flat four to combat the pace and pressing of this Spurs’ side?
The match kicks off at 1:30 p.m and with European action to resume next week, the result of this encounter could mean a lot to the rest of each club’s season. Let the games begin!
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