Arsenal vs. Tottenham Preview: North London is ______
A few years ago, the idea of Spurs beating Arsenal was preposterous. The idea of outspending Arsenal was preposterous. The idea of surpassing Arsenal, well, that was a dream too big even on High Road. But here we stand. – Cartilage Free Captain
After missing out on Champions League football by a lick of paint, AVB and the Tottenham hierarchy set out their primary target for the 2013/14 Premier League season – to break into the top four. To achieve this feat, the club went berserk this summer, signing Paulinho for £17m, Nacer Chadli for £7m, Roberto Soldado for £26m, Etienne Capoue for £9m, Vlad Chiriches for £8.5m, Erik Lamela for £30m and Christian Eriksen for £11.5m, making their transfer splurge a whooping £109m.
Arsenal on the other hand, were linked with the creme de la creme of European football all summer long, only to end up with two French freebies, Yaya Sanogo and the prodigal son, Mathieu Flamini. Instead of minding his business and doing some work in the transfer market, Arsene Wenger has been on the news, stating that Tottenham is unbalanced with no many new signings.
With one day left to go in the transfer market, Arsenal fans are biting their nails and refreshing the official site more times than the amount of goals Lionel Messi scores with the futile hope that there would be a deadline day announcement of a new player. The manager has hinted that there will be no “panic buy” so those hoping to see something new might be on a very long thing.
Tottenham arrive at the Emirates three points ahead of the fierce North London rivals following two victories on the trot against Crystal Palace and Swansea. The Gunners have responded very well to their opening day debacle against Aston Villa with their impressive wins with the likes of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey hitting top gear.
Ramsey and Jack Wilshere were on the end of some bashing in midweek but they have passed their fitness tests for this game. However, Lukas Podolski is set to join Abou Diaby (knee), Thomas Vermaelen (back), Ryo Miyaichi (rib), Mikel Arteta (thigh) and the Ox (knee) on the sidelines. Tottenham also have doubts over the fitness of Aaron Lennon, Emmanuel Adebayor and Benoit Assou-Etoko while Christian Eriksen or Vlad Chiriches might be unavailable for selection. They are also likely to be without their prized asset, Gareth Bale, as he’s set to complete his move to Real Madrid.
The previous six meetings have yielded a total of 31 goals – including 5-2 wins for Arsenal in the previous two matches at the Emirates. However, Tottenham have won four of their last eight games against The Gunners, with Arsenal winning three, with Spurs’ 3-2 win in 2010 being their first away win at Arsenal in the Premier League since 1993.
The Gunners would have to be weary of the threat Roberto Soldado would pose, as the Spaniard has scored 12 goals in his last 10 league appearances and if he scores on Sunday he will become only the second player to score in their first three Premier League appearances for Spurs, following in the footsteps of Jermain Defoe.
In Paulinho and Capoue, Spurs have a rock-solid base in midfield so the Gunners will have their work cut if they want to dominate the game from midfield. The Brazilian has been an instant hit since joining the club after a successful Confederations Cup campaign with Brazil.
According to EPL Index, Paulinho has made seven tackles in his first two games for Spurs at a rate of a tackle every 26 minutes, winning 57% of them. He has also entered into a ground 50-50 every 8.18 minutes winning 64% of those, showing just how hard he is working off the ball for his team. The Brazilian has also completed 90% of his 89 passes this season and won possession of the ball back every 14 minutes.
To team news, I would expect Wojciech Szczesny to continue his good form in goal, and the manager has stated that he’s back to his best. The Pole put up an outstanding display against Fenerbahce in the course of both legs, keeping two clean sheets in both ties. In defense, Laurent Koscielny will make a timely return following a suspension in the Premier League and a bruised head in Turkey. He’s odds on to play alongside Per Mertesacker in the heart of the defense while Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs will provide width through the flanks.
In midfield, the manager could be tempted to hand a start to newbie, Mathieu Flamini, to add steel to the midfield but he would opt for the Wilshere – Ramsey double pivot in midfield. With Podolski injured, Santi Cazorla will be drafted to the left thereby allowing Tomas Rosicky to play as the team’s creative hub.
In attack, the Gunners would hinge their hopes on Olivier Giroud and it’s also worth noting that all 13 of Olivier Giroud’s Premier League goals have been scored in London, with 11 netted at the Emirates. The Gunners would also hope that last season’s top scorer, Theo Walcott, would come into the party with a goal or two.
This is how both lineups would probably look like,
With the season still in its early stages, both sides will not want to drop points so I’m expecting a very close shave.
It took an 8-2 mauling for Arsene Wenger to delve into the transfer market, I really hope that he would be given another reason to go into the market after a drubbing at home by the hands of the enemy.
Here’s to another entertaining North London Derby.
To vote for Gooner Daily for the 2013 OYAA award of Best Online Media for Sport, please click here.
You can download the Gooner Daily BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.
You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page and click on the like button.
You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button