Arsenal will be without some key players as they head down the road to Tottenham in what could be the biggest North London derby in years.
The Gunners are aiming to bounce back from a poor run of form, with three points seeing them back into the title race after a dismal month of February.
But that won’t come easy against a Spurs side who have picked up 12 points from their last five Premier League games, whilst topping the form table as well.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are breathing down the necks of table toppers Leicester whilst maintaining a good run in the Europa League, much to the surprise of Gunners supporters.
However, with fixtures beginning to pile up, pressure has mounted on these players to step up and that has seen shaky performances in recent weeks.
All that being said, this is a tie where form goes out the window, with the reality being that this result could change the title run-in completely.
When: Saturday 4th March (12.45GMT)
Where: White Hart Lane
Watch: BT Sport from 12pm
Last Time Out: Tottenham 1 – 2 Arsenal (Capital One Cup)
As if the news on The Ox wasn’t enough to cope with this week, Arsene Wenger dropped a massive bombshell that could decide Arsenal’s season.
Petr Cech is set to miss up to four weeks with a serious calf injury picked up whilst running back from a corner against Swansea.
Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny is also forced to sit on the sidelines, with a chance of him recovering in time for Tuesday’s FA Cup showdown.
An update on Jack Wilshere was also revealed, with the midfielder aiming to be back in contention following the international break.
Injury List: P. Cech, S. Cazorla, L. Koscielny, A. Ox-Chamberlain, J. Wilshere, T. Rosicky
Things are looking much better on the other side of north London, with near enough a full squad to play with on Saturday afternoon.
Dele Alli is set to make a challenge to get back into the starting line-up after recovering from a minor setback that saw him play just 30 minutes against West Ham.
The boss also confirmed that Moussa Dembele is fighting to be in contention, stating that he has a chance to be in the squad, but will only feature if necessary.
Harry Kane will continue to wear a full face mask after suffering a broken nose, whilst Danny Rose is expected to return to defence after being rested on Wednesday evening.
Injury List: F. Fazio, J, Vertonghen, C. N’jie, M. Dembele (doubt)
One To Watch
Arsenal – David Ospina
With Cech’s injury, it’s time for the Colombian to step up and be counted, despite only playing 18 league games since arriving in 2014.
If Arsenal anything like they have in recent fixtures then Ospina is bound to be busy, with set pieces being a real issue.
We all know how well Christian Eriksen can float a ball into the box, and Ospina is often inclined to punch out from the area, something that has led to clumsy mistakes in the past.
However, he now has a shot at playing consecutively for four weeks so this is his chance to show Wenger he deserves the gloves on a regular basis.
Tottenham – Harry Kane
We all know what the Englishman is about now, and with north London derby goals already under his belt, he’ll be fired up for this one.
Kane has become a leading figure in this side, scoring 19 goals so far this campaign has kept competing strikers at bay.
His relationship with the front three midfielders is wonderful now, and that could prove to be a real nuisance for the Gunners back line.
The striker grabbed the winner with a header last year, and if Ospina gets stuck in dreamland you can count on that happening again.
However, the England international hasn’t bagged a goal from open play since the beginning of February, so will his confidence be up to scratch.
Goalkeeper – As mentioned above, this is a real chance for Ospina to rekindle the form he showed towards the end of last season.
Defence – Limited options leave this back line with no choice than to partner Mertesacker with Gabriel, they’ll have worked together all week so we should see a better level of communication between the duo.
Defensive Midfield – The fans want to see a change here, but Wenger will no doubt go with the pairing of Ramsey and Coquelin, but we are desperate to see more from the Welshman.
Midfield – Following his goal in mid-week Joel Campbell should be one of the first on the team-sheet because his form is one of the best in the squad. Mesut Ozil will be a key figure once again, and his experience needs to shine through a committed Spurs defence.
Forward – Up top and leading the line should be Welbeck, his work rate is second to none and we’ll need agility to keep knocking on the door. His aerial presence is another addition that will help set knockdowns for our midfield three.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck
Goalkeeper – Much like Cech of Arsenal, many of the points collected this season have been down to Hugo Lloris, arguably one of the top goalkeepers in the league.
Defence – A defence that has played together for the majority of the season, and despite missing Jan Vertonghen, they have conceded just 22 goals this season. The lowest in all of the Premier League.
Defensive Midfield – Eric Dier has been a saviour on too many occasions for Spurs, and his rise to a regular place has opened the eyes of Roy Hodgson ahead of this Summer’s Euro’s. He’ll partner Nacer Chadli, who will play more of a roaming role into the attacking third.
Midfield – Despite getting benched in mid-week, Pochettino will welcome Dele Alli into his second north London derby, with plenty of experience in this fixture surrounding him. Both Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen will add vital knowledge to this tie, and should cause problems throughout the 90 minutes.
Forward – Up top it’s a man that lives for games like this, and with 19 goals to his name, there’s every chance Harry Kane will cause an upset.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Trippier, Alderweild, Wimmer, Rose, Dier, Chadli, Alli, Lamela, Eriksen, Kane
For regular updates on the north London derby action, including post-match reaction make sure you’re following @Fresh_Arsenal on Twitter.