We thought that for one of the biggest games in the Premier League season that we would bring our Spurs writer in Jonnie Langton and our Arsenal writer in Ben Holding together to discuss the biggest derby in the Premier League.
The North London derby is one of the most fiercely contested games in a Premier League season, with Arsenal playing host this time around. With their last encounter being very much in Tottenham’s favour, will Saturday’s fixture paint North London in red or white?
Spurs have failed to win in the Premier League at the Emirates since a 3-2 win in 2010, when Younes Kaboul scored a late winner which sent the away fans into raptures.
However, there are questions to answer going into the game for Antonio Conte if he is to end their losing streak, regarding selection and tactical set up.
Meanwhile Arteta and his side will be hoping to stay on top of the Premier League table as they look to build on their impressive start to the Premier League season.
Mikel Arteta has managed against Spurs at home twice in his career at Arsenal winning both of them in the previous two seasons.
Hugo Lloris picked up a knock during the international break but there are question marks over his return to fitness. This lack of information would suggest it isn’t a major concern for Spurs fans.
If Lloris does fail to recover, Fraser Forster will step up and attempt to recreate a performance similar to that of his last season when Southampton beat the Gunners 1-0.
Ben Davies is expected to be fit for selection after staying home during the international break. It’ll be interesting to see if he returns to the starting line-up or if Clement Lenglet will slot in at left centre-back.
Unfortunately, Dejan Kulusevski has a tightness in his hamstring which puts him in doubt for Saturday. The Swede played admirably during the break and has been a threat for the Lilywhites going forward. The obvious replacement for him would be Richarlison, unless his injury was to force Conte into tactical changes that could benefit the side.
As for the Gunners, it’s doubts and fitness tests all over the pitch as Mikel Arteta will be needing to keep a close eye on a number of players returning from international duty. Thomas Partey returned early from international duty with Ghana after picking up a knee injury in the warm up for their match against Brazil. The early return allowed for more recovery time at London Colney and he is expected to be assessed in the lead up to the derby.
The two left backs in Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kieran Tierney are both expected to be fit after the latter picked up an injury in Scotland’s 2-1 win over Ireland while Zinchenko didn’t go on international duty due to his ongoing calf issue.
Martin Odegaard missed the Gunners’ last Premier League outing at Brentford but played twice for Norway over the international break and has trained after the calf injury. Takehiro Tomiyasu is a doubt after also returning early from international duty due to ‘club circumstances’.
The more long-term news for the Arsenal fans is that Mikel Arteta will be without England international Emile Smith-Rowe for at least two months after he successfully underwent surgery on his groin issue which was picked up at Old Trafford earlier in the month. He will be expected back at the return of the Premier League from the 2022 World Cup on Boxing Day.
WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR:
Arsenal fans will be well aware of the South Korean’s hat trick against Leicester before the international break and the desire he will have to add to his tally. After continuing his goalscoring form with his country, Heung-Min Son will be eager to combine with Harry Kane and reignite their infamous partnership.
This will be made much easier at the Emirates than the previous outing there under Nuno Espirito Santo. Last season Spurs’ away tie with the Gunners was tactically lacklustre and often left the Lilywhites with no midfield structure.
Under Conte, as well as new additions to the squad, the midfield can now provide a counter threat as well as an extra defensive barrier for the opposition to break down. The red side of North London will not be hoping for a repeat of Son’s screamer at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during lockdown.
I was spoilt for choice in all fairness which isn’t something that I’m used to saying as an Arsenal fan but it could’ve been a handful of players how well we have started the Premier League season.
The former Manchester City striker has hit the ground running at the Emirates Stadium securing seven goal conbruitions in his first seven appearances and looks full of confidence coming into the North London Derby.
He is the clinical striker that Arsenal have been looking for after Aubameyang left and the flair he brings in attack is enough to make any defence, even one as secure as Spurs, worry. The twenty-five-year-old striker is also fully refreshed after being left out of the Brazilian national team over the international break due to rotation in the national squad.
Arsenal: (4-2-3-1) Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus
Spurs: (3-5-2) Lloris, Perisic, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Sessengon, Hojbjerg, Bissouma, Bentancur, Son, Kane
Jonnie: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
Ben: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1