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No derby delight for Arsenal as Spurs will ‘steal’ at least a point at the Emirates

No derby delight for Arsenal as Spurs will ‘steal’ at least a point at the Emirates
November 07
11:06 2015
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Arsenal will host rivals Tottenham at the Emirates in the star match of this weekend’s Barclays Premier League fixtures on Sunday.

The Gunners are currently in second place while Spurs are placed fifth. The difference between the two sides, at the moment is five points, which could change at the weekend.

Our soccer analyst is not a politician that talked (but no longer talks) about change. He’s also not a fan of the two north London clubs. He’s, though, a fan of the beautiful game.

Let’s welcome Bobby Macaulay.

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CURRENT FORM

Tottenham are enjoying a 10-game unbeaten run in the league and they would have been higher than their current fifth position if not for too many drawn games.

With Chelsea struggling, Liverpool settling in under a new manager and Manchester United starting to flounder, third and fourth place could be up for grabs. And Spurs are in for a shout.

In the league, Arsene Wenger’s side have been quite impressive in recent times, though they will go into this game at the back of a 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in mid-week Champions League match.

The Gunners have lost two out of their last five games in all competitions, with three wins. Spurs, on the other hand, have won two, lost one and drawn two.

Unlike Arsenal, Spurs won their mid-week European game, albeit against a lesser known opposition in the Europa League.

When both sides met earlier in the season in the Capital One Cup, Arsenal got the better of their rivals after a double from Mathieu Flamini.

They could have centre-back Laurent Koscielny available but full-back Hector Bellerin (groin) remains unavailable.

Captain Mikel Arteta (ankle) faces a fitness test, while goalkeeper David Ospina could return from a shoulder problem.

Forward Theo Walcott (calf), midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey (both hamstring), Jack Wilshere (fibula), forward Danny Welbeck and Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky (both knee) all continue their rehabilitation.

Tottenham defender Danny Rose is hoping to recover from a knock in time for this game while Clinton Njie is close to recovering from a hamstring injury and could also feature at the Emirates.

Summer signing Son Heung-min is available again following six weeks out with a foot problem, but Nabil Bentaleb and Nacer Chadli are both out with ankle injuries.

Andros Townsend is also likely to be absent as the winger serves punishment for his altercation with a club fitness coach on Monday.

KEY BATTLES

Harry Kane v Laurent Koscielny

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I’m a bit worried that Spurs are putting too much burden on the young shoulders of Harry Kane. Since last season when he burst into limelight, Spurs have been relying a lot on the England international to win them games. And this game is no exception. Based on his recent form, he surely can make an impact.

Centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who will be making his return to the first team, will be saddled with the responsibility to keep him quiet. It could happen, if and only if, the Frenchman and Per Mertesacker can co-ordinate well to do a good defensive job in front of Petr Cech.

Alexis Sanchez v Kyle Walker

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Alexis Sanchez has been playing a lot of games this season. The winger had not been rested after the Copa America he won at home with Chile and despite that his best form has not departed him.

No doubt he failed to impress against Swansea last weekend and Bayern in mid-week but Sanchez is not known to give up and will once again be expected to run his heart out at the opposition defence on the left-wing and Kyle Walker will be the man expected to keep him quiet. He will have to be wary against the pace and trickery of the Chilean.

I’m looking forward to this duel. This would surely be an interesting battle to watch. If Sanchez plays at his most devastating best, he could possibly decide the outcome of the match.

Christian Eriksen v Francis Coquelin

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Who wins the midfield battle of supremacy?

The Danish attacking midfielder has been the creator of a lot of goals for Spurs and I expect manager Mauricio Pochettino to build the attacking play around his game. His quality is a threat to any opposition, as he has shown since his arrival at White Hart Lane.

Coquelin, also, has made a huge impact for Arsenal but his skill and technique will be tested against Eriksen. How Coquelin fare in this duel could play a major role in the outcome of the match.

HEAD 2 HEAD

Wed      23/09/15              LEC         Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Arsenal

Sat          07/02/15             BPL         Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal

Sat          27/09/14             BPL         Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Sun        16/03/14              BPL         Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Arsenal

Sat          04/01/14             FAC        Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

PREDICTION

With the last three derbies in November producing 21 goals, I expect more goals this weekend. It won’t be a cricket scoreline, though. But there will be goals. 2-2

KEY MATCH STATS (SUPPLIED BY OPTA)

Arsenal have won 13 and lost just two of their last 18 Barclays Premier League games at the Emirates, conceding just nine goals in that run.

Spurs have won just one of their last 22 Premier League trips to their north London rivals (W1 D8 L13).

Tottenham have lost just two of their last 10 Premier League away games (W4 D4 L2).

Mesut Ozil has the most goal assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season (9).

Olivier Giroud has scored in five of his last seven Premier League appearances.

Four of Giroud’s six Premier League goals have been assisted by Özil, including the last three in a row.

Since debuting in August 2012, Olivier Giroud has scored the most headed goals in the Premier League (15).

The Gunners have scored 199 and conceded 97 goals in Premier League London derbies on home soil. They also have earned 399 points from all London derbies.

Petr Cech has the best saves to shots ratio of any goalkeeper in the top flight this season (83%) and needs just one clean sheet to equal David James’ record of 169 in the Premier League.

Spurs are on the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League, having not lost a game in the competition since the opening day (10 games – W5 D5 L0).

PREDICTIONS OF THE REMAINING FIXTURES

Saturday             

AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Newcastle United

West Ham 1-0 Everton

Sunderland 1-3 Southampton

Norwich 0-0 Swansea

Leicester 2-2 Watford

Manchester United 2-1 West Brom

Stoke City 1-2 Chelsea

Sunday

Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City

Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace

 

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