Arsenal Preview vs Tottenham

Now without a loss in over three months, Arsenal face their fiercest rivals, Tottenham, in what could be a huge game in the battle for the top four.

Arsenal used a heavily rotated squad during the week, however they comfortably dispatched their Europa League opponents FC Vorskla Poltava – making it 18 games unbeaten, and topping group E.

Tottenham are also in good form. They have won all of their last six games – most recently, an impressive victory against Inter as they kept their Champions League dreams alive.

Tottenham begin this weekend three points ahead of opponents Arsenal, however, a win for the Gunners would take them above spurs on goal difference.

Team News:

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette will be facing a late fitness test after he missed last weeks win at Bournemouth through a groin injury.

After making an appearance for the Under 23’s, Laurent Koscielny could make his return to the matchday squad for the first time since his injury in May.

Danny Welbeck, Nacho Monreal and Konstantinos Mavropanos all remain long term absentees

Tottenham defender Juan Foyth returns after being ineligible for Wednesday’s win against Inter Milan. While Jan Vertonghen could also play – it would be his first league game since September.

Christian Eriksen’s fitness is in doubt. The denmark international only made a substitues appearance against Inter – he scored the winner. Midfielder Erik Lamela is also a doubt after suffering a thigh injury in their last game.

Vincent Janssen, Mousa Dembele, Victor Wanyama, Davinson Sanchez and Kieran Trippier are all still sidelined.

Key Battles:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Vs Harry Kane:

Both the top scorers of their respective teams, Aubameyang only just edges the two with eight goals in the league so far compared to Kane’s seven. However, the gabonese striker has a far superior goals to minute ratio with a goal every 118.3 minutes compared to the Englishmen’s goal every 166.3.

Kane is notoriously good against Arsenal – scoring seven in his last seven games against the gunners.

Aubameyang also has an exemplary record in derby matches – he boasts a record of six goals in seven matches in the Revierderby for Dortmund against FC Schalke, while he also scored one for St Etienne against their biggest rivals, Lyon.

He recalls what it’s like to score in a derby, “In the past I’ve played some derbies and I’ve had the chance to score and it was a great feeling.”

But this is the North London derby, form goes out the window. If either of these men have a good day, the tie is likely to swing their way.

Shkodran Mustafi & Granit Xhaka vs Themselves:

One of the most important factors of this game is likely to be whether Mustafi and Xhaka are able to win the battle with themselves. The latter has been brilliant at times this season next to Lucas Torreira but just like Mustafi, seemingly has serious lapses of concentration.

With the Swiss international, if he can retain the ball as we know he can, then Arsenal stand a good chance of winning the midfield battle.

Similarly, if Mustafi can refrain from lunging in at every single possible opportunity, ball or no ball, then we could see a a top team performance as we did vs Liverpool.

From the Dugout: 

Arsenal Manager Unai Emery: “On Sunday the derby, with our supporters and also three points on the table that we need there is a lot of positive things for our motivation to be very, very high.

“I am positive usually before playing matches and I think on Sunday our only possibility is to win.”

Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino explained “We have the belief and that is the most important thing in football and the faith that you can beat any team away from home.

“It’s a special game, it’s tough to play this sort of game, it means more. We know that it means to our fans this game.”

Match Facts: 

Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates last season, but that is their only win in their last eight league games against Spurs (D4, L3).

Spurs have only won one of their last 25 top-flight games away to the Gunners (D10, L14), with their solitary success a 3-2 victory in 2010.

Very surprisingly, Arsenal are one of only two teams yet to lead at half-time in a Premier League match this term (alongside Cardiff) – though the Gunners have gone on to win eight of those 13 fixtures.

Expected Scoreline: 

Arsenal 2 – 2 Tottenham

Expected Line ups:

Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac; Torreira, Xhaka, Özil; Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Tottenham: Lloris; Aurier, Vertognhen, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks, Alli, Eriksen, Son; Kane.

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