North London Derby Dissected – Arsenal Spurs

Mason and Wilshire

Spurs travel to the Emirates this Sunday for their biggest game of the season so far.

Both teams come into the match on a strong run of form in the league, sitting first and second in the form table. However, their mid-week experiences could not have been more different. A fantastic last minute winner for Spurs to lift their spirits. A dispiriting drubbing for Arsenal.

Is it a good time to play the gunners? Will the 5-1 capitulation in midweek lower the home side’s spirits? Or perhaps make them hungry for some form of redemption?

Certainly, from an injury point of view it isn’t a bad time to be heading to the Emirates. Arsenal’s injury list is long. In fact long enough to suggest something more than just bad luck. Walcott, Bellerin and Ramsey will be particularly missed. Whether Koscielny makes it back form a hip injury could be key – the defence looks very shaky without him.

How can Spurs win this match?

Bayern’s high pressing game had Arsenal in all sorts of trouble at the back in midweek, and that’s how Spurs won the match last year at White Hart Lane.

The big question is will Spurs’ players have the energy to carry this out, after playing twice already this week? Eight of the first team started both games, but against Villa and Anderlecht it looked like we took our foot off the gas in the second half, maybe with one eye on the derby.

With the likes of Ramsey missing, Tottenham can hope to dominate midfield. Dembele, Alli and Dier should have the strength and energy to overrun the opposition in this key battleground.

The full back areas could be another weak area, especially with Bellerin likely to be out.

Injury News

N’Jie could be back on the bench after a hamstring problem. Son made his first appearance after injury as a substitute in midweek. Rose was rested after a knock but should be fit. Bentaleb is probably still out, while Chadli and Pritchard face an extended spell on the sidelines.

Arsenal hope to have Koscielny back. Bellerin, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky and Welbeck will all miss the game. Arteta faces a late fitness test.

Spurs team

I would play the same team that started against Villa. Rose and Walker have established themselves as our first choice fullbacks and had a rest on Thursday, so should have the energy to get at Arsenal’s vulnerable flanks.

In midfield Alli and Dier should dominate the centre.

Despite not being his biggest fan, I think this is definitely a game to play Dembele at number 10. His addition will create a formidable central three, while his recent discovery of the opposition goal – with three goals in three games – is very welcome.

Lamela, Kane and Eriksen wil give Arsenal plenty of problems. Kane has rediscovered his scoring touch, while Lamela has been a revelation in recent games. The option of Son’s pace from the bench as Arsenal tire gives the attack an extra dimension.

Prediction: Arsenal 1 Spurs 3

Are Arsenal’s injuries key? Are Spurs favourites? Should Son start? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discuss it with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs

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