The Second North London Derby of the 2015/2016 Premier league season between arch rivals Arsenal and Tottenham is set to be played at the Emirates stadium on Sunday, as the two teams meet for the first time in the league this season.
The previous meeting this season was in the League cup, and the Gunners ran out 2-0 winners, thanks to two goals from Mathieu Flamini, this time we expect an even better game with the stakes apparently higher.
The two sides are coming into these games as two of the hottest teams in the league this season with Arsenal lying in 2nd position on goal difference after winning their last 5 league games, while Spurs seem unbeatable lying in 5th position and unbeaten since opening day when they lost narrowly to Manchester United. We now look at the things that would decide the outcome of this game, players to watch and key stats.
The gunners have recovered from an inconsistent start to the season and are now scoring for fun in the league, the same cannot be said though for other competitions, with the Gunners already out of the League Cup –where they defeated Spurs earlier this season– after being humbled 3-0 by Sheffield Wednesday, and are on the verge of being knocked out of the Champions league. And a growing concern is in their injury list, with a number of first team starters currently injured, the Gunners look like these might be tough times. A 5-1 drubbing by Bayern during the week seems to affirm that.
But it would be important to note that while their Champions league form hasn’t been so good, they dispatched Swansea 3-0 at the weekend even with their injury list, with Joel Campbell (Brought into the side after injuries to both Ramsey and Chamberlain) getting on the scoresheet. They will be looking to correct the errors they made against Bayern with a win against Tottenham, just as they did to Manchester United after losing to Olympiakos some weeks ago.
Players to Watch:
Joel Campbell – The Costa Rican striker who hasn’t had a chance since joining Arsenal now has the best chance he can ever hope for, with both Ramsey and Chamberlain injured, he has started well in taking that chance with a decent performance against Swansea and a goal for his efforts, and also another decent performance in an otherwise terrible night at Munich. This derby would be his examination, by not just his manager, but the home crowd, and one he really has to pass if he is to have a future at Arsenal, he has all the qualities to pass in flying colours though, with Pace, Technique and a wonderful left foot added to a high work rate being his strength. Everyone related to Arsenal will be hoping the wonderkid they signed in 2011 steps up on the big stage this weekend.
Oliver Giroud – The Frenchman is always trying to prove he can be the man to lead a successful Arsenal attack to the league title, On Sunday would be no different with the French man reinstated into the starting lineup following Theo Walcott’s injury, he has done quite well this season though with 8 goals to his name including the wonderful consolation overhead kick in the defeat to Bayern. It is important to note that most of his goals have been vital goals, either openers or winning goals, on Sunday he will be turned upon once again to deliver the goods, and we all hope he stands up to the occasion and prove that he deserves the starting spot even when Theo Walcott gets fit.
Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Campbell, Ozil, Alexis
Subs: Macey. Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Adelaide, Iwobi
After a narrow opening day defeat to Manchester United, Spurs haven’t allowed any team take all three points from them in the league again, and having now won their last 4 matches added to the fact that beleaguered striker Harry Kane is finally finding his feet this season with 5 goals in the last 3 games, this won’t be an easy game for Arsenal. Bringing Christian Eriksen off early against Anderlecht goes to show just how tough they know this game would be, and with the return of Son Heung Min, they will be looking to stop Arsenal from getting a sixth straight win in the league.
Players to Watch:
Harry Kane: After a wonderful 2014/2015 season where he finished top goal scorer and won the English Young Player of the Year award deservedly, this season started with the feared second season syndrome with the Englishman finding goals very hard to come by with only one goal in his opening 13 games of the season. However, he seems to finally be finding his feet with 5 goals in his last 3 games including a hat-trick against Bournemouth. While we don’t expect him to score a hat trick against an Arsenal defence that hasn’t conceded more than two goals in a league game this season, he would be expected to at least get his name on the scoresheet.
Walker, Alderwield, Vertonghen, Rose
Dele Alli, Eriksen, Lamela,
The last time both teams met in the league, Tottenham took all three points thanks to two goals from Harry Kane
There has been only one goalless draw in the last 38 matches between these two sides, so goals are expected
Arsenal have scored 16 and conceded just 4 in their last 5 league games
Tottenham are unbeaten in 10 straight games leading to this game
Arsenal: Jack Wilshere (Ankle) Danny Welbeck (knee), Rosicky (knee), Ramsey (Hamstring), Oxlade Chamberlain (Hamstring), Walcott (Calf) and Bellerin are all out, while Arteta, Koscielny and Ospina are doubts for the game.
Tottenham: Pritchard, Chadli and Bentaleb are out of this game with injuries, while Townsend is still serving punishment by the club after an altercation with a fitness coach. Clinton Njie is a major doubt.