Sunday’s Premier League action commences with a mouth-watering all-London showdown between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.
Mikel Arteta’s high-flyers will take the field in a buoyant mood after painting their first Champions League fixture since 2016/17 with flying colours on Wednesday.
Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard were on the scoresheet as the Gunners humbled PSV Eindhoven 4-0 in their opening Group B outing.
Unlike their stellar European night in north London, Arsenal’s league showings have lacked conviction this season, even though only Manchester City (15) have amassed more points than them (13).
However, an outstanding performance against PSV promises to set Arsenal up nicely for the 194th edition of the north London derby, with resurgent Tottenham Hotspur coming to the Emirates.
Despite losing Harry Kane to Bayern Munich in the summer, Spurs have gone from strength to strength during Ange Postecoglou’s early regime, winning as many points as their more heavily fancied neighbours.
More importantly, Kane’s exit has left no scars on Tottenham’s frontline, with the Lillywhites heading into proceedings as the only Premier League side to score multiple goals in all five top-flight games this term.
Sheffield United put Spurs’ top-four credentials to a stern test last weekend. But stoppage-time goals from Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski inspired a mind-blowing late comeback in a nail-biting 2-1 home victory.
Trossard found a crucial breakthrough to hand Arsenal a hard-earned 1-0 win at Everton last weekend, maintaining the Gunners’ trend of winning their league contests by the slimmest of margins.
Except for a late 3-1 rout of Manchester United on home turf, their three remaining Premier League triumphs this season have yielded single-goal margins, including a 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest on day one.
Despite overseeing a league double over Spurs last season, Arteta wouldn’t mind clutching another narrow victory, especially considering his indifferent managerial record in this fixture (W4, L3).
That said, his men have gained a clear upper hand over Tottenham when the north London finest lock horns at the Emirates, going unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League duels on home soil (W8, D4).
After taking charge of 11 Old Firm derbies during his prolific managerial tenure at Celtic, Postecoglou will know better than to take anything for granted in his maiden North London derby.
His predecessor, Antonio Conte, failed miserably against Arsenal last season, losing both league encounters against them by two-goal margins, making it hard for the Australian manager to do worse.
Kane’s departure is barely a game-changer, given the game structure and attacking mentality instilled by Postecoglou have seen Tottenham find the net inside the opening 20 minutes on all three league travels this season.
But they’ll need more than just a formidable frontline to win a Premier League contest at the Emirates for the first time since 2010 after conceding on all 25 top-flight visits to Arsenal in the 21st century.
Gabriel Martinelli picked up a nasty muscle injury against Everton, joining Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey on the sidelines. But the rest of the Arsenal squad is fit and ready for this blockbuster.
Tottenham’s ever-growing contingent of injured players features Bryal Gil, Ryan Sessegnon, Rodrigo Bentancur and Ivan Perisic, while Giovani Lo Celso remains a minor doubt.
Arsenal potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Aaron Ramsdale; Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Magalhaes, Wililam Saliba, Ben White; Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Fabio Vieira; Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus.
Tottenham Hotspur potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Guglielmo Vicario; Destiny Udogie, Micky van de Ven, Cristian Romero, Pedro Porro; Yves Bissouma, Pape Matar Sarr; Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison, Son Heung-min; Richarlison.
We Say: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Since guiding Arsenal to a 2-1 win on his home premiere in the North London derby in March 2021, Arteta has overseen back-to-back victories over Tottenham at the Emirates.
Postecoglou has proved more than capable of flipping that script, but we’re more inclined to believe this could be the first draw between the sides at this venue since September 2019.
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