Preview: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Blog by: GB Vish
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League

Kick-off: 1600 GMT, 2030 IST, Sunday, 01 September 2013

Location: Emirates Stadium, Ashburton Grove, London, England, United Kingdom

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistants: S Long, J Collin

Fourth Official: J Moss

The second blockbuster game on Grand Slam Sunday, football fans are set to be enthralled when Arsenal take on Tottenham in a white-hot North London Derby in the red half of the capital.

Both teams go into this game with much to prove and it promises to be a prelude to a very nervy second of September, the last day of the transfer market.

Form

Arsenal:

Last four competitive fixtures: LWWW

17 August 2013: 1-3 vs. Aston Villa (H), Barclays Premier League

21 August 2013: 3-0 vs. Fenerbahce SK (A), UEFA Champions League

24 August 2013: 3-1 vs. Fulham (A), Barclays Premier League

27 August 2013: 2-0 vs. Fenerbahce SK (H), UEFA Champions League

The Gunners have hit a decent vein of form since losing on opening day to Aston Villa but the form book goes out the window when the rivals come to town. The last two meetings between the two North London outfits at the Emirates Stadium have both ended in 5-2 wins.

Two seasons ago, Emmanuel Adebayor and Louis Saha scored before Robin van Persie and Bacary Sagna fired home first-half goals to equalise at the Emirates. In the second half, a Theo Walcott brace and Tomas Rosicky’s goal gave the Gunners a very memorable win.

They would repeat the feat last season. Emmanuel Adebayor scored again before Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it five, with Gareth Bale scoring Spurs’ second.

Manager Arsene Wenger will be hoping for a hat trick of such performances on Sunday.

Tottenham Hotspur:

Last four competitive fixtures: WWWW

17 August 2013: 1-0 vs. Crystal Palace (A), Barclays Premier League

22 August 2013: 5-0 vs. Dinamo Tbilisi (A), UEFA Europa League

25 August 2013: 1-0 vs. Swansea City (H), Barclays Premier League

29 August 2013: 3-0 vs. Dinamo Tbilisi (H), UEFA Europa League

Tottenham have had a perfect record in all competitions this season and will be hoping to bring the talents their new signings have to the Emirates pitch.

Constantly mocked by Arsenal fans  for failing to finish above them, this season could actually see them finish above the Gunners given the current state of their squad.

Gareth Bale has refused to train for the last four days following his imminent move to Real Madrid and Spurs have already invested the funds they will receive when he leaves by singing a host of new players including Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Eric Lamela, Etienne Capoue and Christian Eriksen.

The last time Arsenal went to White Hart Lane, they were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham with goals from Bale and Aaron Lennon, while Per Mertesacker pulled one back for the Gunners. Boss Andre Villas-Boas will be hoping for a similar performance this time.

In 2010, Tottenham came away with three points at the Emirates. Marouane Chamakh and Samir Nasri scored in the first half for Arsenal but second half strikes from Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Younes Kaboul stunned the Emirates faithful.

Team News:

Arsenal:

The hosts are struggling with a host of injuries and manager Arsene Wenger’s squad is already stretched thin.

Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Thomas Vermaelen (back), Mikel Arteta (thigh) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) are all out with both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are cleared to play. Mathieu Flamini, who has returned to the Emirates, is also available.

Abou Diaby is still recovering from his ACL injury.

Squad (from): Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Bacary Sagna, Mathieu Flamini, Santiago Cazorla, Emmanuel Frimpong, Serge Gnabry, Ryo Miyaichi, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Nicklas Bendtner, Olivier Giroud, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott

Probable Starting XI: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky; Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud

Tottenham Hotspur

The visitors are definitely without Gareth Bale, who has not played for Tottenham and Aaron Lennon (ankle) and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) will not play in this game.

Spurs (from): Heurelho Gomes, Brad Friedel, Hugo Lloris, Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul, Kyle Naughton, Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker, Etienne Capoue, Tom Carroll, Nacer Chadli, Moussa Dembele, Lewis Holtby, Paulinho, Sandro, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend, Eric Lamela, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermaine Defoe, Roberto Soldado.

Probable Starting XI: Lloris; Walker, Kaboul, Dawson, Vertonghen, Capoue, Sandro, Paulinho, Chadli, Sigurdsson, Soldado

Prediction

Sunday should be exciting. Expect Arsenal to win, but this will be a very hard game.

Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham

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