It’s that time of the year when the two London clubs fight for their superiority in North London. With Spurs sitting at the top of the table Mourinho’s side looks well-drilled and positive to extend their home run. On other hand, the Gunners find themselves at 14th position in the table coming from a loss at the hands of Wolves. At the emirates, they have just 13 points from the ten league games. Arteta’s side has looked sloppy and unstable in the past few months. A positive result in this match would help them immensely in clearing any speculation about his future at the club.
Arsenal have a better overall record against the Spurs with 20 wins, 23 draws, and 10 losses. But Spurs have had an upper hand in the last few meeting with not a single loss in their last 6 home matches. Additionally, the special one has never lost a home game to arsenal (wins- 6, draw-4, lost- 0) Fans will return to the stadium after nine months’ absence which would boost the players to embrace the rivalry.
Lineup and Tactics
The home side would possibly line up in their much preferred 4-2-3-1 system. Though there is a doubt over Harry Kane which could mean Gareth Bale or Lucas Moura a position in the starting 11. Or it could merely be mind games from Mourinho to alter the strategy of the opponents’. Son would like to continue his scoring form with 9 goals in the league. Whereas Hojberg and Sissoko provide much-needed stability at the center of the park. Also, there will be a toss-up between Ndombele and Le Celso for that 3rd midfield spot, with will get-go. In defense, Jose might go with Alderweireld and Dier as the center-back pairing along with Aurier on right and either of Reguilon or Doherty at left as the fullback pairing and with questions over Lloris fitness for this game we might see Joe Hart in the goal, but mostly we expect Lloris to start.
The visitors are desperate for a result. And Manager Arteta would know that this is far from the ideal place to get it. The Spaniard will go with a 4-2-3-1 formation as he always looked to establish a system that gets a result and mitigates the loss but has lost the creative power of the team in this process. As he has the only one proper number 10 ( Mesut Ozil ) in the squad that too he is omitted till February. Many expect him to employ Alexander Lacazette in this position who can be lethal with his long shots. Aubameyang’s occupy the center-forward role just ahead of Lacazette. Pepe is suspended meaning either Saka or Nelson will start with Willian on either wing.
In defense, Gabriel will be paired with either Pablo Mari’s or Holding as they both are in exceptional form. When it comes to fullback the usual duo of Tierney and Bellerin will be preferred. Finally, in midfield, we could see the pairing of Mohammed Elneny and Thomas Partey who could return from his injury.
Players to watch out for –
Son Heung Min
Though in the shadows of Kane, Son’s ability to split up the Defense or score a long-range screamer should not be underestimated. The Kane- Son partnership has worked wonders this season with sharing 16 of the 21 goals scored in which son has an upper edge of bagging 9 which is just one short of arsenal’s total goal tally.
2. Harry Kane
There is no else who enjoys more scoring against the gunner, with having bagged the most number of goals in north- London derby, recently he has deployed in a deeper role with having nine assists and an average of 26 passes per match, he poses an all-round threat to the opposition and an injury blow to him could alter the dynamic of the match.
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The Gabon striker has been missing his shooting boots recently but all of the Arsenal fans would pray for him to rise to the occasion and regain his form which saw them win the Fa cup, with a pinpoint ball from midfield he will be more than willing to put it in the frame, this would be the perfect opportunity for the captain to pull up the team and lead them to the path of victory.
Both teams have their reasons to take away all the three points and would make it for an exciting ninety minutes football match. Spurs would want to stick to their winning form but the Arsenal would be equally desperate to get a result and silence their north London rivals. In the end, it would be quite an uphill task for the gunners to break Mourinho’s resilient side and thus they would hope to at least salvage a point from the game.