Tottenham Hotspur face Arsenal this Saturday lunchtime at Wembley in one of the biggest games in the English footballing season.
Both teams head into this North London derby outside the current top four with Spurs in fifth place and Arsenal in sixth. Only a mere four points separate the sides and with Arsenal beating Spurs back in November, revenge will be on the cards for Mauricco Pochettino’s side.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the battle at Wembley Stadium:
The two sides have provided us with some memorable clashes over the years, from 2001 when Sol Campbell received a hostile return to Tottenham after leaving them to go to Arsenal and in 2004 when the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ clinched the Premier League title at White Hart Lane. But it hasn’t always been so difficult for Tottenham in recent years.
In April 2010, Spurs’ first league win over their rivals in 11 years proved to be a vital moment in the Lilywhites’ season. The line-up chosen by then-manager Harry Redknapp would have worried some fans, especially with a 19-year-old Danny Rose given his debut at White Hart Lane, but the youngster’s inclusion proved an inspired one as he fired a dazzling 30-yard volley.
Former Spurs star Gareth Bale then doubled Tottenham’s lead and despite a late attempt from the visitors, with Nicklas Bendtner pulling one back, all three points went to the hosts.
It was their first win in 11 years, but the victory proved a massive boost in Spurs’ Champions League hopes and essentially killed Arsenal’s title challenge.
Spurs went on to finish fourth that season and secure European qualification, reaching the quarter-finals a year later.
Laurent Koscienly v Harry Kane
The Arsenal defence will be needing to keep their eyes open to watch Harry Kane this Saturday lunch. The most obvious pairing but Kane has the ability to make the game on his own laurels with his current form. His form against Arsenal is impressive but in a recent article in the Players’ Tribune, he confessed to being rejected by Arsenal at such a young age helped determine the character he is now.
Kane may not always score, even though his 100-goals tally may suggest otherwise, Koscienly will have to be man-marking at its best with Kane’s hold up play and ability to eliminate players from a situation, making way for others to score.
Wenger on Cech: “I will not take any risk of he’s not 100 per cent fit, for sure, because I have full confidence in David Ospina. I have no problem [playing Ospina]. David Ospina or Petr Cech – I will make that decision tomorrow.” #afcpic.twitter.com/NYXi7i07X3
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 8, 2018
Arsenal could travel to Wembley without goalkeeper Petr Cech after he picked up a calf injury in the 70th minute in the 5-1 demolishing of Everton last weekend. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will assess on Friday whether the first choice goalkeeper will be fit for the clash.
Nacho Monreal was also forced off in that victory due to an injury but Wenger thinks he should be fit to play against rivals.
Tottenham have no injury concerns after Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Serge Aurier and Harry Winks have all returned to full training.
New January signing Lucas Moura is also in the squad and could feature in his first North London derby.
Potential Tottenham Starting Lineup: Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies;Dier, Dembele; Son, Ali, Eriksen; Kane.
Potential Arsenal Starting Lineup: Ospina; Bellerin, Koscienly, Mustafi, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan; Aubameyang.
Both teams will be hoping to claim all three points as well as bragging rights but this game could prove difficult for either to win.
They will have studied each other’s games and potential line-up and formation, therefore, with the skill of Aubameyang and the tenacity of Kane against solid defenders, this game could result in a tight draw.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Arsenal