A mouth-watering North London derby kicks off this weekend’s Premier League action. Unrest is simmering at Arsenal, after a slow start to the season and a schooling by Manchester City two weeks ago. If they lose at home to their fiercest rivals, and fall seven points behind them, there could be a full-scale mutiny at the Emirates.
Spurs are currently well-placed in third, but have been slightly hindered by their slow start at Wembley, losing one and drawing two of their opening three home games. Their away form had been impeccable, but they lost to Manchester United at Old Trafford recently and will be looking to avoid another costly defeat against a big rival.
Saed Kolasinac could be vital to Arsenal’s hopes of inflicting that defeat on Spurs. He has been one of the few bright spots for the Gunners this season. A solid defender who helped his team to attain four Premier League clean sheets in a row in September and October, but also a real attacking threat. In Arsenal’s last home game against Swansea, he was outstanding, scoring and assisting in a 2-1 victory.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli probably receive more plaudits, but Christian Eriksen’s importance to Tottenham’s attacking play cannot be underestimated. He has already bagged three goals and three assists for Spurs this season, and he will be feeling untouchable after his performance for Denmark on Tuesday. His magnificent hat-trick secured his country’s place at next year’s World Cup, at the expense of Ireland.
Thankfully, Eriksen will be fit for Saturday lunchtime’s clash at the Emirates, but many of his teammates won’t be so fortunate. Toby Alderweireld is still suffering from the hamstring injury that he picked up against Real Madrid, whilst Victor Wanyama is a long-term absentee.
Spurs also have a long list of players who are sweating on their fitness for the game. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks have all been regulars in the first team this season, but how many of them will have recovered from their respective injuries by Saturday?
Arsenal have less concerns over their squad. Shkodran Mustafi looks likely to make his return to the team after several weeks out with a hamstring problem, and many players who have been suffering with niggles, such as Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey, should be fit for the Emirates clash.
Arsenal will be disappointed not to have Olivier Giroud available though. The forward has scored twice previously against Spurs, but he will be absent with a thigh injury.
Spurs have had a better start to the season, but they don’t have a great record at the Emirates, with only a solitary league win to their name there. Arsenal’s last three home games against Tottenham have all finished in 1-1 draws, and the same result could well be on the cards on Saturday.