History and form will be on the side of Arsene Wenger’s men as they will take on the challenge of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham, on Sunday, in the first North London derby of the season. While Arsenal has been in a great run of form since their opening day loss to Liverpool, Spurs have remained unbeaten in their first 10 games.
The two rivals are separated by only 3 points with the hosts in the second place and the visitors in 5th. With a wonderful home record of only a single loss to their city rivals in the past 26 meetings and 4 wins in their last 5 games, the Gunners have the upper hand over Tottenham who are winless in their last 5 matches and will be visiting the Emirates on the back of a disappointing loss to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League at midweek.
Arsenal saw some of their absentees return back to training to be in contention for the awaited clash on Sunday. Hector Bellerin suffered a minor knock in training on Monday but is expected to return for the game after getting a bit of rest in the midweek.
The Trio of Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal will be assessed before the game but are expected to play the game. Kieran Gibbs, suffered a nasty collision resulting in a shoulder injury in midweek which will probably rule him out of the game with Lukas Perez who will have to wait until December to return from his ankle injury.
The midfield of the hosts would be boosted by the return of Granit Xhaka after serving a three-match ban due to a red card against Middlesbrough.
Tottenham do have their fair share of fitness concerns with the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela ruled out of the tie. With Moussa Sissoko suspended, Pochettino is seriously short on options in the midfield region.
There might be some changes made in the defence if the manager wants to utilise Erik Dier in the midfield with Kevin Wimmer possibly coming back to play at the defence or the chance of 20-year old midfielder Harry Winks making his first start in the Premier league.
The good news is, however, the return of striker Harry Kane after his injury layoff. However, Tottenham’s Argentine manager would not be risking him from the start meaning Victor Janssen will be the one leading the line with Kane possibly coming off the bench.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Elneny; Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez
Tottenham (4-1-4-1): Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama; Son, Alli, Winks Eriksen; Janssen
Alexis Sanchez will be a player on whose forward play the hosts will depend upon. With a relatively new defensive combination, the Chilean would look forward to exploit the little pockets of space in behind on offer with the occasional drifts into the half spaces left vacant by the overlapping fullbacks of the opposition.
Victor Wanyama is the key for the visitors. A lot will depend on how the Kenyan is able to cover his zone and mark the creative Mesut Ozil in the midfield so that Spurs are not carved open easily especially with the absence of some key players in their defensive phase.
A win for the home side is rated at 19/20, while the visitors are given a 16/5 chance. A draw is priced at 13/5. (888Sport)
Arka Tarun Mukherjee
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