Tottenham and Arsenal are set for a crucial north London derby in the pursuit of both clubs’ aspirations of finishing in the European places.
This weekend’s North London derby may not possess the pizazz of previous encounters but offers all the thrills and spills of a heavyweight clash between cross-town rivals.
It’s been a mixed start for Tottenham since the Premier League‘s restart, winning just two of their five fixtures to leave their hopes of a top-four finish all but mathematically over.
The club’s mid-week goalless draw against a struggling Bournemouth was another lacklustre performance from a Spurs side who have looked devoid of creativity or attacking threat in recent weeks as Jose Mourinho side are seemingly yet to discover their best form.
The man who deemed Arsene Wenger a ‘specialist in failure’ is apparently doing his best impression of the Frenchman.
Arsenal have turned around their fortunes since back-to-back losses to Manchester City and Brighton. Mikel Arteta has led his side to four wins and a draw in the Premier League ever since.
Their upturn in form has seen them climb above Tottenham into eighth, which will be enough for a European spot assuming Manchester City's continental ban is upheld by CAS.
Not since October 2018 have Arsenal won three away league games in a row, however, while Tottenham are seeking three successive home league wins for the first time in 15 months.
The Gunners drew 1-1 with Leicester City in their last league game. Arsenal took the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Jamie Vardy equalized for the Foxes late in the game as the hosts were reduced to 10 men after Eddie Nketiah was harshly dismissed.
Arsenal might hold the overall bragging rights in the North London derby, but the previous six meetings have been split evenly among the sides.
Both sides have won two and drawn two in the last six meetings. Interestingly, none of them have been able to win at the other’s home.
In the previous meeting between the two sides this season, Unai Emery led Arsenal played out a 2-2 draw with Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Winks, Lo Celso; Lucas, Kane, Son
Spurs will still be missing Dele Alli against Arsenal in the first north London derby at their new stadium. The England midfielder is suffering from a hamstring injury and will miss out. Defenders Japhet Tanganga (back) and Juan Foyth (knee) are also injured.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Arsenal will be without striker Eddie Nketiah. The England Under-21 international was sent off in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester and will miss the next three games after an appeal against the decision was unsuccessful.
Mesut Ozil (back) is likely to miss out again, while Pablo Mari (ankle), Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers (all knee) are definite absentees.
There's one clear winner for me here and I've got to go with The Gunners. They have looked good against decent opposition in a tough schedule and I'm expecting Tottenham to have their backs up against the wall if they play anything like how they played against Bournemouth.
Match Preview written by Jordan Hall.