Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur
English Premier League
Saturday, February 7, 2015
4.45AM PT/7.45 AM ET/12.45 PM BT
White Hart Lane, London
League Form: ARS 2014 Jaguar XK Convertible | TOT 2011 Ford KA
US TV: NBCSN | Worldwide TV info livesoccer.tv
Every summer, the biggest event for Premier League fans is the publication of the fixture calendar. Not for its mystery - unlike American sports, of course, Premier League teams face each other the same number of times every season, without exception - but for certain dates. For more recently-minted fans, the dates against Chelsea and the Manchesters pop out, but for those of us that have been around a while, there's only one opponent that I scan for, and that opponent is the subject of this weekend's Travels With Arsenal.
Arsenal head 5 miles north of the Emirates in, as the English say, fairly good nick. Danny Welbeck is available; apart from the usual cast of long-term absentees, Alexis is still resting his twangy hamstring. Unlike prior years, though, this current Arsenal squad won't wither and die without him - yes, it'd be far better to have him on the field, but if he's not, I guess we'll just have to rely on Özil, Walcott, Ramsey, and Giroud to shoulder the burden. THE HORROR
Gabriel should also be in the squad, and may even see some playing time; not sure if he'll start, but having him around will be very helpful as Arsenal try to stop a Tottenham attack that is spearheaded by Harry Kane, scorer of 30% of Spurs' goals this season, and nine-goal scorer Christian Eriksen. Spurs also have the benefit of being injury-free, and in addition they'll be boosted by the return of Nabil Bentaleb from the Africa Cup of Nations.
These games aren't fun in the yay-sports sense; they're fun in the sense that skydiving is fun. Sure, your chute might not open and you could die horribly, but when you land safely, it's a huge rush.