Both teams find themselves at the top of the Premier League standings with the Gunners holding a one-point advantage in first place, so we’re surely in for an exciting encounter indeed.
Antonio Conte has plenty of decisions to make in terms of team selection, particularly as the bulk of his squad have just returned from international duty.
Unlike more recent campaigns, Arsenal pose a far greater threat this term and the Italian must be wary of the firepower available at Mikel Arteta’s disposal.
The likes of Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli could have a field day if Spurs’ backline aren’t on their ‘A game’ this afternoon.
A whopping 77% of Tottenham’s play comes from their own third or the heart of the pitch, which is a worry as Arsenal are the opposite, playing 77% of their game in the middle and in the opposition’s third, this means that Conte is likely to set-up in a counter-attack manner.
This could leave Emerson Royal exposed at right wing-back as his display against a much weaker outfit in Sporting CP a few weeks ago was pretty shocking.
‘ Same old story with his attacking bluntness and at the back he was beaten in the air with Kane for Paulinho’s header and then Gomes skipped past with a nutmeg far too easily,’ wrote football.london reporter Alasdair Gold in his post-match column.
The Brazilian has been something of a liability for Spurs at times this season, particularly in defence, where he gives up one foul per game, which is tied for the second-most within the squad. He also makes the seventh fewest interceptions, via WhoScored.
Signed in a £26m deal from FC Barcelona last summer, the 23-year-old’s time in north London has certainly divided opinion.
“He’s obviously not loved by a lot of Spurs fans,” recently claimed The Sun journalist Tom Barclay to GIVEMESPORT, whilst The Times revealed in January that Conte wasn’t convinced by his options in the role and wanted an upgrade – they went onto sign Djed Spence in the summer.
BBC Match of the Day presenter Craig Mitch also stated that Emerson “will cost this team massively this season” earlier in the month, with BT Sport pundit Peter Crouch lambasting his defending in that aforementioned Champions League defeat as “very poor” (via the Express).
As such, Conte must make the brutal decision to axe the Brazil international from his starting XI for the north London derby today. The liability’s presence on the pitch could well cost them against the Gunners in what is arguably their biggest games of the season so far.
AND in other news, Spurs dealt injury worry ahead of Arsenal…