Here we go again: time to put it all on the line in another north London derby. Wenger v Pochettino, Lacazette v Kane, Ozil v Alli - the subplots are various, but the reality is that it’s all about the main event and whether we can pick up our first win against Tottenham in seven attempts.
The wider football world may have made the visitors narrow favourites, yet the counter-point is that they have only won twice in their last 32 trips down the Seven Sisters Road. Consider too that we have won 10 in a row in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium and there are reasons for quiet optimism.
The threat posed by Kane, Alli et al is obvious, but we have our own matchwinners - and they’re in form too. Alex Iwobi and Alex Lacazette both scored twice for their respective nations in midweek, Ozil claimed an assist for Germany while Granit Xhaka will be on a high after Switzerland reached the World Cup.
Now they must be ready to go to another level and turn north London red once more. Read on for a comprehensive pre-match briefing: we’ve got classic north London derby goals, team news, an exclusive chat with Arsene Wenger, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.
A WORD FROM THE BOSS
THE MOOD IN THE CAMP
Arsène Wenger on Alexandre Lacazette: "What is natural is to see what you have to do, but the other side of it is to keep calm, and the composure comes with experience. Some guys have an instinctive way to find a solution to score, but when they are young in their careers sometimes they are not lucid or calm enough to exploit that quality. Lacazette gets to a stage now where he has a good mixture.”
WHO WOULD YOU START UP FRONT?
THE BOSS ON IWOBI
ARSENAL: Cazorla (ankle), Giroud (leg)
TOTTENHAM: Alderweireld (hamstring), Lloris (hip - doubt), Wanyama (knee), Lamela (hip)
“Even when not pressing intensely, Spurs still hold a high defensive line. Recent concessions to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Manchester United’s Anthony Martial have seen quick players sprinting into the space in behind, and Arsenal might be able to get some joy in a similar respect here.”
THE LAST WORD
Wenger on heading into an important period…
“Just before the break we had a disappointing result but quite a positive performance [at Man City] and it’s important for us, going into such a big game on Saturday, to take the positives out of that game and transfer that enthusiasm and resilience into the derby. It is vital for us to start well again, there is no international break now - we play every three days and we know from now until Christmas is a very important period for us.”
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