Your North London Derby Preview

Tottenham defeat Villa

It’s that time of year again. It’s time for the season’s first North London Derby in league competition. Fans have already been given a taste of this historic fixture when Arsenal and Tottenham squared off in September during the League Cup. The Gunners walked away with a 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane that day, but can they secure a similar result at the Emirates this weekend?

You have to go all the way back to the opening day of the season to see the last time Spurs lost a match in the league. After their disappointing 1-0 loss at Old Trafford 10 matches ago, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have won five and drawn the rest. This knack for not getting beat has pushed Spurs to fifth in the table and just one point out of the Champions League places. Going into this matchup with Arsenal, Tottenham are coming off arguably two of their best results of the seasons (5-1 against Bournemouth, 3-1 against Aston Villa), and this great form should give them a lot of confidence travelling to the Emirates.

After going through the first six games of the season without a goal, some started to think that Harry Kane’s groundbreaking season last year may have been a fluke. Now, the 22-year-old striker currently leads his club in goals after scoring five in his last five matches. Kane’s best game of the year came two weeks ago against Bournemouth. The young English striker scored his first hat-trick since March, and only his third ever as a professional. The last time Kane played against Arsenal in the league, he managed to score a brace in a dramatic 2-1 victory over their bitter rival. Can he replicate that magical performance one more time?

Things are looking good for Arsenal domestically, but the Gunners are now coming off of their biggest defeat of the season against Bayern Munich. Arsene Wenger’s men traveled to Germany and were promptly ripped apart by Bayern Munich, 5-1. This result put Arsenal at the bottom of their group behind the likes of Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos. With a disappointing early exit looming in Europe, the Gunners must now focus on doing well domestically. Right now, Arsenal are level with Manchester City on points for the top spot in the league, but trail on goal differential. A strong performance on Sunday could see the Gunners jump ahead of City for the league lead, while also making fans forget about their midweek thrashing in Germany.

For me, the man to watch on Arsenal is French forward Olivier Giroud. The 29-year-old forward, who was second on the team in goals last season with 14, has already scored six this year. In Giroud’s last five league matches, he has found the back of the net four times, and his moment of magic against Bayern Wednesday night provided Arsenal fans with some optimism for the matches to come. Despite his recent goal-scoring form, it’s worth noting that Giroud hasn’t scored against Tottenham since September 1st, 2013. Has the time finally come for the Frenchman to score again in the derby?

I think this match will see Tottenham’s unbeaten record extended, but I don’t think they’ll be able to steal all three points against the Gunners. Both teams are coming off of short rests between their European fixtures midweek, and this could see them come out a little more conservatively on Sunday. Final score: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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