Match Preview – Arsenal (A) Derby Special

Tottenham travel to the Emirates this weekend in the first North London Derby of the season. Although fans will be hoping for the win over our rivals, many suspect that this weekend could be a rather unhappy one for Mauricio Pochettino.

The Derby

For me, the North London Derby carries a sense of sheer panic, worry, excitement and suspense. It’s the one game I look for when the fixtures are released and it’s the one game I dread all season long. It’s the fear knowing that however prepared Spurs are, however strong or powerful they may appear; this fixture wipes the slate clean and can emerge some true surprises.

Former games

The North London Derby really spiced up around 2010, the year Spurs performed and achieved a place in the UEFA Champions League. On the 14th of April (with a difficult run in) Spurs faced Arsenal at White Hart Lane. I remember this fixture as being a real shift in the usual Arsenal dominance (despite the 4-4 result in 2008 and 5-1 cup win). Spurs began the game so very strongly and youngster Danny Rose provided Spurs fans with one of the true classic Derby moments when he volleyed home a stunning effort to give us the lead. This was only bettered by Gareth Bale hitting home in the second half to give Tottenham a deserved home result over their rivals. The joy and screaming involved in such a game capitalises the power of the fixture and how passionately we fans follow it.

What it means

To me this game is more than a Premier League fixture, its more than another game ticked off the list. It’s a Cup Final, it’s the bragging rights at work the next day and it symbolises the true spirit in which we all follow Football.

To me, the Derby is David Bentley hitting home from 40 yards, to me its Rafael Van der Vaart shooshing the Gooners, to me its Kyle Walker leaping with joy as he scored his low driven effort and to me its Aaron Lennon slipping round the keeper to gift us our latest victory of the noisy neighbours. The Derby provides the memories we shall forever cherish as fans, it’s the results everyone knows and no-one forgets.

Stats (via BBC Sport)

Spurs have only won once at Arsenal in 25 matches in all competitions since May 1993, a 3-2 comeback win in November 2010 (D8, L16). This is the 174th north London derby. Arsenal have won 74 times, Tottenham 54 and there have been 45 draws. Arsenal last failed to score at home to Spurs in the Premier League in November 1998. Since then the Gunners have scored 38 times in 15 games.
If there are four goals in this game then it will become the outright highest scoring fixture in Premier League history (currently 126 goals).

Spurs have their worst points total (seven) after five league matches since 2008-09 (two), when they were managed by Juande Ramos. Six of Tottenham’s seven league points this season have come in London derbies. Tottenham had one shot on target against West Brom last Sunday and have now lost every one of their last 10 league matches in which they failed to score. They have conceded six penalties in the league in 2014; only Manchester United have conceded as many. Etienne Capoue has attempted (440) and completed (392) more passes than any other top-flight player this season. Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals than any other player in north London derby history (eight for Arsenal and two for Spurs).

Opposition focus

Arsenal have won four of their 10 matches in all competitions so far this season. They have kept just one clean sheet in their five league games so far. They took 25 points from their 10 London derbies in the Premier League last season (W8, D1, L1) and defeated Crystal Palace on the opening weekend this season. The Gunners made more passes against Aston Villa last Saturday (814) than in any Premier League game since April 2012 (828 v Wolves). This is Arsene Wenger’s 44th match in charge of Arsenal against Spurs. His record stands at 21 wins, 16 draws and six losses.

Team news

Roberto Soldado, Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend are in contention to feature after their contributions in midweek. Kyle Walker remains sidelined.

Predictions

Starting XI: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose, Stambouli, Capoue, Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli, Adebayor

Score: Arsenal 4-0 Tottenham (sadly)

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