For most gooners, the Tottenham fixture is the most emotionally and psychologically grueling 90 minutes of the entire year. There is nothing enjoyable, nothing fun about it. It’s misery, anguish—the pinnacle of sports suffering and stress.
Every year I tell myself that I won’t watch—that I refuse to put myself through that kind of torment again, that I’d rather stay in bed.
Sure, it’s great to have beaten Tottenham once the final whistle blows, when we get three points, when Spurs supporters go home crying. It’s great to have beaten a team whose year-long success hinges on beating us, whose season is defined by whether or not it finishes ahead of its rival, whose primary measure of achievement is not winning trophies but claiming to be the best team in its neighborhood. Yes, it’s great to remind Tottenham that it is, and always will be, the smaller brother—to affirm the inferiority complex of its entire fanbase.
But this is a retroactive pleasure. While the match is live, I’m sick, sweating, pacing, panicking, biting my fingernails, throwing around furniture.
At this stage in the competition, and with the race for the top four already looking so congested, this year’s matchup feels particularly dramatic and pivotal. Winning the derby has historically propelled Arsenal into further success, and a win on Saturday could provide the sustained confidence that we’ve been missing in December and January.
No matter what happens tomorrow, count yourself lucky: at least you don’t have to call yourself a Tottenham fan.
Tottenham will be close to full strength. Dele Alli, Harry Kane, and Harry Winks are all fit to play, having rested through the international break. Goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, is also likely to return after suffering an groin injury vs. Real Madrid.
After picking up a thigh strain vs. Wales, Olivier Giroud is doubtful. Obviously, this is a huge blow to a squad which will likely be in need of goals late in the game. There is some good news in this regard, though: Danny Welbeck has been training and will probably be available.
It’s safe to guess that—considering his off-the-bench performance at Manchester City—Alexandre Lacazette will start at home this weekend.
10 Game facts
- More goals have been scored in the north London derby (34) than any other fixture in the history of the Premier League.
- The Gunners have won ten straight matches at the Emirates (the longest home-win streak in Arsenal history), but
- They haven’t beat Spurs in the last 6 league games, which means
- Six games is the longest unbeaten streak the Lilywhites have ever had against the Gunners.
- Unfortunately for us, Tottenham has won more away games (10) and scored more away goals (37) than any other team in 2017. However,
- In their last 32 visits to Arsenal, Spurs have only won twice.
- Mauricio Pochettino hasn't lost a north London derby in the Premier League since he took over Spurs in 2014, which means
- He is the first Tottenham manger since 1997 that Arsene Wenger hasn’t defeated.
- Both teams have scored 20 goals this season.
- Since the rivalry began, the Arsenal is 80-62-51 against its little brother.
Us: Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette
Them: Lloris, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies, Trippier, Dembele, Winks, Rose, Eriksen, Alli, Kane
WHAT: Arsenal v Tottenham
WHERE: Emirates Stadium, London
WHEN: Saturday, November 18, 12:30 PM GMT | 7:30 AM EST | 4:30 AM PST
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