You already know Arsenal is playing Tottenham Hotspur this week, and, if you’re like me, you’ve been dreading it, ignoring it on your calendar, pretending it’s not going to happen.
Yes, Spurs are still in
fourth fifth place, four points ahead of us in the League.
I don’t think I’m being dramatic when I say that, considering our respective positions, this match feels even more significant than usual. A seven-point difference—although not insurmountable—is a huge gap at this stage in the campaign. We can’t let that happen.
The stage is set for a particularly dramatic North London Derby.
Five Storylines To Keep in Mind
- Arsène Wenger—who is 1-2-4 against Mauricio Pochettino—will look to even things up with his rival.
- The expectations for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henkrihk Mkhitaryan were set (and set high) last week in the 5-1 Everton win. But can they repeat that performance against the likes of Spurs?
- Actually, Aubameyang was haunting Spurs long before he joined Arsenal. He scored four goals in four games against lilywhites while playing for Dortmund.
- Arsenal has failed to keep a clean sheet in five straight matches.
- Because Tottenham played earlier this week in the FA Cup, Arsenal will be the fresher of the two teams
Arsenal should have a completely healthy squad. Initially, we believed that David Ospina would have to fill in for an injured Petr Cech, but recent reports suggest that Cech has recovered and should available for the derby.
Nacho Montreal also appears to be healthy, and—in case anyone cares—Danny Welbeck is available for selection.
Spurs boast a strong squad, too. Toby Aldeweireld, who has been missing from action since October, is likely to make his return to the Premier League this weekend.
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka; Ozil, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Tottenham: Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dembele, Dier; Alli, Eriksen, Son; Kane
It’s true that the Gunners have played poorly on the road—having won only three of thirteen away games this season, with a goal differential of -6. It’s ugly. But on the bright side, they’ve been awesome at Wembley in recent years, and have won nine straight games there since 2014.
So, it’s kinda like a home game, right? No?
With Aubameyang, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, and Ramsey leading the line, we shouldn’t have a problem scoring goals this weekend. But as long as our full-backs keep playing like old-school wingers, we'll keep giving up goals, too.
I expect this to get a multiple-goal thriller.
WHAT: The North London Derby, Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur
WHERE: Wembley Stadium, London
WHEN: Saturday, February 10th 4:30 AM PT | 7:30 PM ET | 12:30 PM BST
US TV: CNBC
OUTSIDE THE US: Check out livesoccer.tv for all of your streaming information.