Pre-Match Report

Tottenham v Arsenal: The Brief

In terms of timely results, winning 5-1 the week before you face your biggest rivals in a north London derby is right up there.

Both the victory, and the electric performances of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have helped transform the mood ahead of another pivotal clash against Mauricio Pochettino's side. For the stakes are always high against them, but even more so when the fight for a top-four place is as fierce as it is right now.

The fact that the game is at Wembley is another intriguing subplot, and while Tottenham have only lost once at the national stadium since August, we’ve not been beaten there since 2011. In that time, we have won three Emirates FA Cups and three Community Shields - and a derby win there on Saturday would be another priceless memory.

Read on for a comprehensive pre-match briefing. We’ve got classic derby goals, team news, an exclusive chat with the manager, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.


MICKI'S CASE FOR THE DEFENCE

Wenger on Mkhitaryan making four tackles and three interceptions against Everton...
"People don’t know it well but his defensive numbers are quite good. I think when you are a team player and you want to win games, you help your team when it needs you. Every time you lose the ball you want to win it back, because we love to have the ball but unfortunately to have the ball you have to win it back first. That’s why I deeply believe that if you love football, you love to defend because it gives you an opportunity to have the ball and express your talent."

Arsène Wenger on Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan

TEAM NEWS

ARSENAL: Cazorla (calf), Cech (calf - doubt)

TOTTENHAM: None 


THE OPPOSITION

Tactical expert Michael Cox:
“Spurs play their high defensive line excellently, closing down in midfield with the backline stepping up quickly to catch opponents offside, although against the speed of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, this could be a risky strategy. Davinson Sanchez has largely enjoyed a good first campaign since moving from Ajax, but has been guilty of some errors in recent weeks. Belgian centre-back Toby Alderweireld is back in the side after a long injury absence, but probably won't be up at full speed, so Aubameyang may want to make runs into that inside-left channel." 

THE LAST WORD

Wenger on harnessing the emotions of the derby…
“You want a good balance between being calm and cold-blooded and as well [to allow it to] boost your energy levels because your emotions can help you get to the level of motivation and energy that is vital. Once you're in the game, you want to use that energy in the most rational way, and be calm, intelligent, relaxed and analyse well - but determined. That’s why the top level is so difficult, if it is is only emotional, you go nowhere." 

Matchday Show: Tottenham (a)