It has almost felt like a second summer break. Arsenal has played only once since September 8th, the 3-0 win over Brentford. The lengthy delay has benefited Arsenal’s injury report. Four players are expected to return, while the Gunners received the unfortunate news that Emile Smith Rowe will be out of contention for the rest of the calendar year after needing groin surgery. Arsenal returns to action, still top of the Premier League, and ready to host their bitter rival in the first big clash of the season.
Tottenham enters the weekend third in the league but only a point back of the Gunners. Last time out they thrashed a struggling Leicester City side 6-2 after being beaten 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League by Sporting CP. Saturday will be the 206th North London Derby, a tie that has not been favorable to Arsenal lately. In the last ten matches, Arsenal have three wins, two draws, and five losses. However, all of their last four wins over Spurs have come at the Emirates.
- Eddie Nketiah
- Fabio Vieira
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Kieran Tierney
- Rob Holding
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Cedric Soares
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: Reiss Nelson (injury), Emile Smith Rowe (injury), Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- The injury to Emile Smith Rowe is disappointing, but hopefully, with the long winter break, he will be able to return as the team comes back around the holidays. In his stead, this presents a great opportunity for Marquinhos who should see a lot more minutes and starts in the Europa League.
- On the positive side, Arsenal has cleared a lot of critical names from the injury report Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyas, and Oleksandr Zinchenko. All four are expected to be in contention for the squad on Saturday morning, with Partey and Zinchenko returning to the starting XI.
- With the World Cup final squad selections just around the corner, Arsenal’s Brazilian trio will be eager to remind their national coach exactly why they should all be on the plane to Qatar. This is a new opportunity for them in what will be the marquee match of the weekend.
How to watch
Saturday (10/1) at 7:30 am ET / 4:30 am PT on the USA Network.
Arsenal - 2
Tottenham - 1
Honestly, I could see just about any result. We could easily have a nil-nil or a 3-3. But given the form both sides are on and of course, the situation fireworks are more likely. At the Emirates, knowing this is not only a chance to put their stamp on the top of the table but over their rival, I’m leaning toward another performance from Gabriel Jesus and Martinelli.