Some corners of the Arsenal internet are dreading today’s North London Derby. They’re concerned that Tottenham are in-form and primed to beat the pants off the Gunners. I’m not. I’m excited. North London Derbys are fun. There will be fans in the stadium, which should lift both teams. And I think Arsenal are well-positioned to have a go at spoiling Spurs fans’ return to the ground.
The Gunners match up well with Tottenham. Spurs have thrived this season on breaking quickly, and one of the things Arsenal have done well with their rigid system and deeper setup is not get hit on the break. Hector Bellerin has the pace to run with Son Heung-Min, and I’m expecting Mikel Arteta to set a holding midfielder to play Harry Kane very tight to limit his time and space to create.
Although there has yet to be official word (I’ll update it when it breaks), reports are that Thomas Partey will be available today. David Luiz is questionable as the bad cut on his head from his collision with Raul Jimenez continues to heal. Nicolas Pepe serves the second of his three match-ban for his red card. Gabriel Martinelli, while back in training, won’t play with the first team until playing for the U23’s at some point later this month.
Harry Kane faces a late fitness test, but it’s highly unlikely he misses a NLD for a niggling injury. Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Sergio Reguilon, and Carlos Vinicius all have small injury concerns as well. Erik Lamela is out.
Arsenal will be looking to overturn recent history in today’s match — the Gunners have not fared well against Spurs lately. They haven’t won at Tottenham since 2014, and they haven’t beaten Spurs at all since December 2018. The Gunners haven’t lost back-to-back Premier League matches against Spurs since 1993 (Spurs won the previous meeting in July). Harry Kane has scored 10 in 11 matches against Arsenal, with 5 of the last 6 coming via penalty. The Gunners still have the upper hand head-to-head all-time, 77-59-51.
Arsenal - Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Tottenham - Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Lo Celso, Bergwijn, Son, Kane
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