Match date & time: Saturday 27th September 2014. 5:30pm GMT KO.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Emirates Stadium.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1. World wide TV listings HERE.
Here it is, the North London Derby. The most intense and nerve wracking game of the season, where expectation, blind hope, support & anxiousness all merge into one. A game with incredible history, which never fails to excite the neutrals and make the fans go grey with stress. Apart from bragging rights for the fans, this game brings a massive opportunity for Tottenham, not only to return to winning ways in the Premier League, but sparking our season into life, bringing confidence to the squad and Mauricio Pochettino instant heroism with the Tottenham fans. This game always brings an opportunity to unite the club as one, no matter what is happening around the club at the time. We all know how tough this game will be, Arsenal are an incredibly talented outfit who are very difficult to beat, especially at the Emirates, but, the players have to be confident in their ability, play their own game and play with aggression, passion & grit, if all that happens, I’m confident we’ll bring home the 3 points. We’ve got to support, and hope that the players and Mauricio Pochettino perform, and bring home the three points that can go into history.
Arsenal have a good team – they are without a doubt one of the best teams in the Premier League, and will challenge at the top of the table, as they always do. Their start to the season hasn’t been perfect, far from it, they have a record of 9 games, 3 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. They haven’t found their rhythm as of yet, and have shown that they are definitely beatable, with defence seemingly their biggest downfall, conceding 10 goals in those 9 games. This is a North London Derby, though, and Arsenal will try their best to bring their A game for this match, as they so often do, so we need to call & then raise their hand. Last time out for Arsenal, they were beaten by Southampton at the Emirates 2-1 in the Capital One Cup. Arsenal were frustrated, and Southampton got their tactics spot on. If we can defend well, and be clinical in front of goal, we can get something at least from this game. In the Premier League, they beat Aston Villa comfortably 3-0 at Villa Park, where they were much more clinical and impressive. It’s going to be very tough for us.
The Team news for Arsenal is that Yaya Sanogo (hamstring), Nacho Monreal (back), Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), Olivier Giroud (ankle), Theo Walcott (knee) and Serge Gnabry (knee) are out of the game, while Mathieu Flamini (dead leg) is a doubt, but expected to return to the squad. There are quite a few important players in that injury list for Arsenal, but they will still put out a strong side, that’s for sure. Danny Welbeck looks to be the man to start up front, with Alexis Sanchez on the wing. They have a lot of attacking threats, especially from midfield. It looks as though Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere & Alexis Sanchez will line up as a the attacking midfielders, with Mikel Arteta holding, which is a very threatening midfield with a lot of quick, talented players that can cause us problems along with Danny Welbeck making runs ahead of them. Our defence will have to be on top form. In defence for Arsenal, they have had some problems, but Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are 99% sure to be their centre back duo, with Keiran Gibbs on the left and former player of Mauricio Pochettino Calum Chambers on the right, which is very strong and they will have a good understanding of each other.
The team news for Tottenham is that we have a fully fit squad to face Arsenal, with the exception of Kyle Walker (abdominal) who remains out after surgery. Great news! It’s a rarity to have a fully fit squad, and hopefully it can give us the opportunity to go to the Emirates and get a positive result. After being rested for the Capital One Cup game against Nottingham Forest, Hugo Lloris, Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele will all return to the squad, hopefully fresh and raring to go against the Gunners.
As a team, we haven’t hit full throttle. And that’s down to a lot of factors; the team not fully knowing Mauricio Pochettino’s style completely, players still adapting to the Premier League and the players all finding out each other’s games and style. But, it is also down to key players not hitting the ground running, no more so than Christian Eriksen, who was instrumental to any glimmer of success last term, but has yet to find his old form, and improve on that. As a team is difficult, because as the old saying goes, when he plays, we play. Hopefully, on the big stage against Arsenal, Christian can find his top form and be our main man once again. In the centre of midfield, debates are rife throughout the fan-base, all we know is that Etienne Capoue is, more or less, a key player in that central area, but it is who partners him which causes confusion. Mousa Dembele, Paulinho, Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli are fighting it out for that role, and at the moment it seems Mousa Dembele has caught the fancy of Pochettino alongside Capoue, closely followed by Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Stambouli, with Paulinho seemingly seen as back up for the number 10 role. In this game, I would partner Capoue with Dembele once again – I think Mousa is a fantastic player and on form is a terrific passer and controller of the game, he pips Bentaleb & Stambouli because of that, but also because he is more experienced in these situations, and more likely to keep his head! Upfront, the discussion is still whether Emmanuel Adebayor should continue up front, or should Roberto Soldado get his chance in the Premier League, with his link up play seemingly better than Adebayor’s. My view is that Adebayor continues for this game, against his former club. He’s sure to be very pumped up and I think he’s more likely of a goal than Soldado. It is a tough choice though for Pochettino. Finally, at right back, I’d play Kyle Naughton instead of Eric Dier after Kyle’s performance in midweek and I think he’s more suited to the right back role than Dier.
Match Stats & Facts provided by Opta:
– Arsenal have won four of their last five Barclays Premier League games against Tottenham (two 1-0 wins and two 5-2 wins).
– Tottenham have won just one of their last 21 Barclays Premier League games away at Arsenal.
– Arsenal last failed to score at home to Spurs in the Premier League in November 1998. Since then the Gunners have scored 38 times in 15 games.
– Tottenham have conceded six penalties in the Premier League in 2014, only Manchester United have conceded as many.
– Arsenal took 25 points from their 10 London derbies in the Premier League last season (W8 D1 L1) and defeated Crystal Palace on the opening weekend this season.
– Six of Tottenham’s seven league points this season have come in London derbies.
– If there are four goals in this game then it will become the outright highest scoring fixture in Premier League history (currently 126 goals).
– Seven points from five games is Tottenham’s slowest start since gaining just two under Juande Ramos in 2008-09.
– Arsenal (154) and Tottenham (125) are first and third respectively for dribbles attempted this season.
– Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals than any other player in north London derby history (8 for Arsenal and 2 for Spurs).
There’s no bigger game in the Premier League for Tottenham than facing Arsenal. A game with rich history, fierce rivalry & exciting games all in one. This match is important for our season, not only for the three points but to show we can match the top teams and compete at the top this season. It’s going to be very difficult to get three points, but all I ask from the players is that we the fans don’t come out embarrassed and ashamed; that would be nice. Three points is always the main goal though. The game is televised live on Sky Sports 1, but I’ll be giving match updates, videos, pictures and much more from my Twitter account. Follow me here: @AddictedToSpurs. Nerves are here already! Let’s get three points! COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to face Arsenal at the Emirates:
Naughton – Kaboul – Vertonghen – Rose
Capoue – Dembele
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Mauricio Pochettino previews the trip to Arsenal: