North London Derby Preview: Team News, One’s To Watch, Likely Line-Ups & Prediction

It’s the big one. In a game where form usually goes out of the window, Arsenal will want to ensure they take confidence from the last few weeks.

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Tottenham Hotspur travel down the road to Emirates Stadium with an impressive record under them, they remain the only undefeated team in the Premier League.

That might sound pretty worrying for an Arsenal side who will rotate again this weekend, but despite their results Spurs have been falling down the table recently.

Just three points separate the sides going into Sunday’s game, but Arsenal remain confident in continuing their winning record, which has now stretched to 12 in 14 games.

Both sides will have big absences this weekend however, but having rested since Tuesday night Arsene Wenger’s side are well prepared for what promises to be a huge tie.

Team News

Arsenal

Gunners fans would have been on the back of a little pre-game scare on Tuesday night, as Wenger travelled to Bulgaria without four of his key players on hand.

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However, the boss has come out and stated that he expects Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin to definitely feature as they’ve been working on match fitness throughout the week.

Wenger raised slight concerns over whether Monreal and Cazorla could be in contention, both will have a late fitness test but again, they are in full training so all looks good.

Aaron Ramsey is back in Wenger’s thoughts after completing 75 minutes on Tuesday night, with Granit Xhaka also ready to start after serving his three game match suspension.

Tottenham

Harry Kane will not be fit in time to feature this weekend, having suffered such a long-term injury there’s chances of picking up further muscular strains if he’s not prepared.

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Big names missing from the Tottenham line-up will be Toby Alderweireld, who has been so impressive for Spurs since linking up with his Belgian centre back, Jan Vertonghen.

There’s a chance Erik Lamela could shake off his hip injury but again, Pochettino can’t afford to take too many chances with the players he already has missing.

Moussa Sissoko will continue to serve a three match ban, whilst there will be a late decision made on Moussa Dembele who picked up a knock during the 1-0 loss earlier this week.

One’s To Watch

Arsenal – Alex Iwobi

I think this could be a massive game for the 19-year-old, who was deservedly rested from the starting XI on Tuesday night after a sloppy display against Sunderland.

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Having played in the EFL Cup too, Iwobi looked exhausted and having played just a couple of minutes in the week will be well up to take on our London rivals.

Alexis dropped back to the left-wing and things just didn’t quite click when going forward, so Iwobi’s presence back on that flank will be vital for many reasons.

One of which is the choice at left-back, Gibbs struggled against Ludogrets and there are concerns over Monreal’s fitness so Iwobi may be forced into doing some more of the leg work.

Tottenham – Hugo Lloris

If Spurs have anyone to thank for their position in the league table, it’s this man – and without him I don’t think they’d be doing half as well in Europe.

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Tottenham’s defence was so poor during their Wembley outing against Leverkusen that everyone leaving the stadium must have wondered how it was only 1-0.

Thankfully this man was on hand to soften the blow, and having conceded just five goals in the Premier League this season he’s arguably the most in-form goalkeeper in England.

If Arsenal are going to attack the defence from the off, Lloris will have to be on the top of his game, these players are scoring for fun at the moment so that confidence must translate on to the pitch.

Likely Line-Ups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Wanyama, Lamela, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Janssen

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

If I thought we were going to lose, trust me I would say it. However, in this game I really don’t see any other outcome than three points for the red half of London.

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It’s going to be a really difficult afternoon to break down this Spurs defence, but in recent weeks that’s all Arsenal have had to do, so intensity will be key.

I think if we can start with the same style we did against Chelsea then there’s every chance of sorting this game out from the off, and leaving Spurs to do the chasing.

As I’ve said already, you can forget about form in this one, but the sheer confidence that surrounds the Emirates Stadium at the moment is undeniable.

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