This Sunday, Arsenal head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to compete against their arch-rivals in the North London Derby.
After FA Cup success against Oxford United, Arsenal await a monumental task and opportunity against Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal have not had a great deal of success at the Lane in recent memory; their last triumph being in March 2014, courtesy of a Tomas Rosicky screamer.
🔴⚪️ Throwback to that rocket of a goal by Rosicky away at Spurs 🚀💯⚪️🔴 pic.twitter.com/Ukgth50N13
— GoonerNick (@nickvann1987__) January 11, 2023
On a weekend of great significance for the Premier League title race, Arsenal look to protect their 5 point gap at the top of the league, while their closest contenders, Manchester City, travel to Old Trafford to play Manchester United; likewise, they play away from home in an intense rivalry.
Last Time Out…
Arsenal last played Spurs in October; where goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus, and Granit Xhaka led Arsenal to a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
However, Arsenal’s last trip to Spurs will bring back agonising memories, where Arsenal sustained a massive blow to their Top 4 challenge at the end of last season after Arsenal were trounced 3-0, and would eventually miss out on the final Champions League place.
Arsenal are long overdue a victory at Spurs, and if they ever needed it, now is the time.
Tottenham Hotspur Preview:
Spurs currently sit in 5th in the Premier League, on 33 points. This puts them 11 points behind Arsenal with an extra game played.
The Lilywhites are coming off a victory against Portsmouth in the FA Cup, but perhaps more importantly, obtained their first victory in the Premier League after the World Cup break with an emphatic 4-0 victory away at Crystal Palace.
Spurs will be receiving a boost ahead of the North London Derby, with Antonio Conte stating he expects to have Swedish winger Dejan Kulusevski available to play the Gunners.
The status of Rodrigo Bentancur and Richarlison will need to be “monitored”, says the Italian manager.
After getting back to winning ways via a 3-0 victory at Oxford United, Arsenal hope to get one over their arch-rivals on Sunday.
Arsenal sit 5 points clear at the top of the Premier League, hoping to maintain a gap of at least 5 by the end of this week.
Arsenal received a welcome boost of their own in the FA Cup contest, as 22 year-old Emile Smith Rowe played his first minutes since undergoing groin surgery.
Bukayo Saka sustained a knock against Oxford which led to Smith Rowe coming off the bench, however Mikel Arteta has downplayed any concerns, stating the England international is “fine”.
Mikel Arteta tells @itvfootball that Bukayo Saka is fine.
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) January 9, 2023
Arsenal will set up in a 4-3-3; a system very familiar to followers of the Gunners.
The Arsenal contingent will be well aware of Spurs’ tactical set-up; sitting deep in a low block, and relying on counter-attacks with blistering pace to exploit the Arsenal backline. Arsenal dealt with this extremely well in October; Spurs only goal coming from a penalty, as a result of a few missed opportunities to clear the ball in the Arsenal box.
Arteta’s men will be expected to dominate possession, and should receive an abundance of opportunities from outside the box which can be exploited, as seen from Thomas Partey’s thunderbolt.
🔁 ON REPEAT 🔁 pic.twitter.com/jeY89E4HjF
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 2, 2022
A common theme of the game in October was the double-up on both Arsenal wingers, Martinelli and Saka. This gives licence for the full-backs to receive the ball on the edge of the box with bags of space.
The central-midfielders are now too late to press Partey, who strikes it perfectly into the top corner.
This goal perfectly sums up the ways Arsenal can exploit the Spurs defence, without having to get in behind.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup:
Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah.
Arsenal fans will almost certainly see the 11 that is evidently Mikel Arteta’s first choice XI, bar the absent Gabriel Jesus.
Emile Smith Rowe will provide a much-needed boost off the bench, giving Arteta more depth in the attacking department.
Arsenal will definitely be without Gabriel Jesus (knee) and Reiss Nelson (hamstring).
Despite recent struggles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Arsenal will likely be favourites to win on Sunday.
Arsenal have shown this season that they are a changed side; this will be another enormous step towards the ultimate goal of the league title.
The Arsenal contingent will be well aware of Spurs’ tactical set-up; sitting deep in a low block, and relying on counter-attacks with blistering pace to exploit the Arsenal backline.
Arsenal dealt with this extremely well in October; Spurs only goal coming from a penalty, as a result of a few missed opportunities to clear the ball in the Arsenal box.
If Arsenal manage to keep their cool, which they failed to do last May, their dominance should be too much for Conte’s Spurs.
No matter what, the North London Derby promises to be fiery, feisty, and entertaining contest.