Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Match Preview

Arguably the biggest game of the weekend will see Arsenal make the short trip to take on rivals Tottenham to contest the 167th North London derby at White Hart Lane.

If last seasons results are anything to go by the Spurs should be supremely confident of emerging victorious on Sunday after winning both games in 2010/11. Harry Redknapp’s side have shaken off a bad couple of performances at the start of the campaign and are now firing on all cylinders with ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor heading the charge. The Togolese hit man had been in inspired form for his new club since signing from Manchester City on loan and will be eager to get one over on his former club. Despite stating this week he regrets his ‘over the top celebration in front of the Arsenal fans so soon after his move to Etihad Stadium it’s highly unlikely the away end will be tranquil when he enters the field. Redknapp is getting the best out of Adebayor however and he has slotted right in alongside Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart in the Spurs side. The home side should be the more confident of the two having remained unbeaten in their last six league and cup games. They haven’t tasted defeat in 15 derbies either and will be confident of extending that when Arsenal come to town. William Gallas, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone are out with injury although Steven Pienaar could return for his first appearance of the campaign.

Arsenal will go into the game with three consecutive in league and cup under their belt and a sense that confidence is finally starting to grow after a potentially harmful start to the season. Just as the wheels seemed like they were about to come off the Gunners stormed back and last week’s win over Bolton certainly gave the club and supporters a massive lift. Mikel Arteta has proved to be an inspired signing by Arsene Wenger who may finally see light at the end of a long dark tunnel after his job came under scrutiny a few weeks ago. There is still a lot of work to do and Robin Van Persies contract predicament could prove to be another undermining factor in their campaign. He’s been a shining light through all the darkness as he continues to find the net on a regular basis finding the net 21 times in 23 games during 2011. Interestingly Arsenal score five times against Spurs last season but never managed to end up winners and will be keen to avoid defeat this time around with local pride on the line. Theo Walcott will have his knee assessed before kick off but Gervinho, Laurent Koscielny and Yossi Benayoun all miss out.

Key Players

Gareth Bale – The Welsh wing wizard has been terrific so far this season carrying on exactly where he left off in the last campaign. He tore Liverpool apart a few weeks ago and was equally as good against Wigan with his speed and direct running always a problem for full backs.

Robin Van Persie – Who else for Arsenal at the moment? Reached a century of goals with a double last week against Bolton and will be desperate to add to that impressive tally. Has stayed relatively injury free so far and his link up with Arteta has been a delight to watch at times.

Verdict: 3-2

  • Gareth Bale is the Spurs player to have had the most shots on goal (19) this season, making the goalkeeper work with 52.63% of these being on target
  • In fact, Bale has a higher tackles won percentage (77.78%) than his shots on target percentage!
  • Robin Van Persie’s three Barclays Premier League goals this season have now come on average every 182minutes 40seconds of action
  • The Dutchman has had 29 total shots in the Barclays Premier League this season, more than any other player. Van Persie has hit the target with 65.52% of these shots

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