Arsenal welcome (that may not be the most precise word, here) Tottenham Hotspur to the Emirates tomorrow for the first North London Derby of the year. Spurs currently sit one point above Arsenal in the Premier League table after eleven matches, but last year, they were much farther ahead at a much later stage, so there's no reason for especially rivalry-bound Arsenal supporters to panic just yet.
Both sides are pretty well beat up at the moment; Spurs will be without defenders Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul, along with midfielders Moussa Dembele and Scott Parker. Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe, and Kyle Walker are all doubts. Assuming none of those seven can play, a reasonable Spurs lineup to expect would be:
*unless they finally decide to roll out Hugo Lloris
Arsenal face a number of late tests themselves for some key players. The usual suspects, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, and Kieran Gibbs, are definitely out. Gerviho is also definitely out. Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna will possibly be available, along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Johan Djourou has a slight hamstring tweak. Wojciech Szczesny may also be available, and if he is, he should start. Given the lateness of these tests, it's hard to say exactly how Arsenal will form up, but here's a reasonable guess:
Depending on the availability of certain players, either Theo or Poldi could go up front, slotting in Oxlade-Chamberlain as needed in the midfield. Or...hey...Marouane Chamakh could...pl...what? What's that you say? Now, there's no need for language lik--okay, okay--yes...yes. I understand. Okay. Thanks.
Derby! Everyone give me all the coffee!
Match prediction: Jack Wilshere swears at everyone. Scott Parker's hair swears at Jack. Puppies. The sun turns an eerie shade of green. The Emirates Stadium rears up due to all the dang CRISIS around. Arsenal to win 15-13.