MX23RW : Tuesday, October 22 22:25:06| >> :600:28046134:28046134:
Dec 2, 2018 at 2.05pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
Attendance: 59,973
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Aubameyang (10' pen., 56'), Lacazette (74'), Torreira (77')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Dier (30'), Kane (34' pen.)
Vertonghen (85')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, including predicted XIs, team news and head-to-head record.

On a day in which Premier League derbies take centre stage with West London and Merseyside also battling it out, the 196th contest between North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is still the standout fixture.

Just three points separate the two sides in the table, and both will be hoping that the adage of 'form going out of the window' proves false at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday with Arsenal unbeaten in 18 and Spurs having won each of their last six.


Arsenal manager Unai Emery has a point to make on August 25, 2018© Reuters

The last North London derby without Arsene Wenger in the Arsenal dugout ended goalless in April 1996, but a similar scoreline looks unlikely this weekend.

It is 20 years since Arsenal last failed to score against Tottenham Hotspur in a home game, and only leaders Manchester City have scored more than the Gunners in the Premier League so far this season, with manager Unai Emery quickly stamping his mark on the team.

The Spaniard will be the first to tell people that there is still work to be done, but fears that it could take years to adapt of life after Wenger appear to have been wide of the mark.

Indeed, Arsenal sit just a point outside the top four with more than a third of the season gone and would climb into the Champions League places with a victory on Sunday - perhaps even as high as third depending on Chelsea's result against Fulham.

Eleven of Arsenal's ongoing 18-match unbeaten run across all competitions have come in the Premier League, where they have bounced back from their successive defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea at the start of the campaign to establish themselves as very real contenders for the top four.

There are still lingering questions over how Arsenal will fare against their direct rivals, having lost 15 and won just three of their last 28 league games against other teams in the established top six, but the 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool at the start of November certainly showed signs of progress from those opening two defeats.

It may be that the next week tells us more about the level of that progress than the previous three months have considering Arsenal also face a trip to Old Trafford three days after this derby, but Emery must be quietly content with how this season is going so far.

One of the curiosities of Arsenal's recent form is the difference between their performances levels within games; the Gunners are one of only two teams yet to be leading a Premier League game at half time this season and would be 18th in the table if matches ended after 45 minutes.

However, Emery's side have gone on to win eight of those 13 outings, scoring a league-high 21 second-half goals in the process, and if only the second 45 minutes counted then they would be second in the table behind only Manchester City.

It is a statistic which bodes particularly well for this fixture given that Arsenal have won 37 points from losing positions against Tottenham in the Premier League era - the most any side have managed against a single opponent in the competition's history.

The challenge for Emery is putting together a full 90 minutes of quality, and there would be no better time for his side to do that than this weekend.

Recent Premier League form: WWDDDW
Recent form (all competitions): WDDDWW


Mauricio Pochettino in charge of Tottenham Hotspur on August 11, 2018© Reuters

Tottenham's current six-match winning streak already includes three London derby victories and two crucial Champions League triumphs, but claiming the scalp of their fiercest rivals on Sunday would surely top them all.

It has been a memorable week for Mauricio Pochettino's side so far, beginning last Saturday when they inflicted a first defeat of the season on top-four rivals Chelsea with a 3-1 victory at Wembley.

The final scoreline could have been much more emphatic in that match too, but Spurs were forced to grind out a different kind of victory in the Champions League on Wednesday as they kept their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive courtesy of a late triumph over Inter Milan.

Three more points on Sunday would complete a special kind of treble, then, and it would also be the perfect way for Spurs to create a few small slices of history.

Victory would give Pochettino's side their highest-ever points total after 14 games of a Premier League season and would also see them equal their club record of winning six successive Premier League away matches, with their last defeat on the road coming at the hands of Watford in September.

Rarely has the title of the best club in London been so fiercely contested either, and Spurs could equal another club record by winning their eighth straight capital derby in the top flight on the Sunday - something they have only previously achieved from October 1950 to August 1951.

The prospect of being England's best club looks a little further away, but Spurs still find themselves only five points adrift of leaders Manchester City and a victory on Sunday would be another clear statement of their title credentials.

Not since April 2017 have Spurs won seven matches in a row across all competitions, and they go into this one with seven wins from their last eight Premier League outings too - Man City being the only team to avoid defeat in that run.

Unlike Arsenal, Tottenham did not have the privilege of resting their star players in Europe during the week, but they were at home and have had an extra day to prepare for this match.

It is shaping up to be one of the most even and intriguing North London derbies of recent years, and it could tell us plenty about the ambitions of both of these teams for the rest of the season.

Recent Premier League form: WWLWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Team News

Alexandre Lacazette in action for Arsenal on August 25, 2018© Reuters

Arsenal are hopeful of having Alexandre Lacazette back available after he missed the win over Bournemouth with a groin injury.

Mesut Ozil could also return to the starting XI having been notably left out against the Cherries, although Emery's assertion that Bournemouth were 'too demanding' for the playmaker is not exactly a ringing endorsement ahead of this blood-and-thunder derby.

Laurent Koscielny could be named in the squad as he edges towards his first appearance of the season following an Achilles injury, although it would be a surprise if he was thrown straight back into the starting lineup for this match.

Konstantinos Mavropanos and Nacho Monreal should return in December but are not ready for this match, while Danny Welbeck is unlikely to feature again this season.

Emery could make a full 11 changes from the team which cruised to victory in the Europa League in midweek, with Rob Holding the most likely of that side to retain his place.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been the Gunners' main dangerman this season, scoring with each of his last eight shots on target in the Premier League - a run which stretches back to August.

As for Tottenham, they were able to welcome Jan Vertonghen back into their starting lineup against Inter Milan and, while Juan Foyth is eligible again this weekend, the Belgian is expected to keep his spot.

The game comes too soon for Kieran Trippier to make his comeback, but Danny Rose is pushing for a recall and at the other end Son Heung-min will be hoping to return to the starting XI following his impressive showing against Chelsea last weekend.

Christian Eriksen has been managed carefully amid concerns over a stomach problem and came off the bench to score the winner against Inter, but the Dane will come back into the team from the start for this one.

Harry Kane will lead the line as ever, having scored seven goals in as many Premier League games against Arsenal. The England captain needs just one goal to draw level with Emmanuel Adebayor as the leading goalscorer in Premier League North London derbies.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Torreira, Xhaka; Iwobi, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Dier; Son, Alli, Eriksen; Kane

Head To Head

Arsenal won last season's corresponding fixture 2-0, but that is their only victory in their last eight Premier League meetings with Spurs.

However, the Gunners have a formidable record at home to their neighbours, losing just once in 25 top-flight meetings on their own patch stretching back to 1993, with Tottenham's solitary success coming in 2010.

One thing this fixture does almost guarantee is goals; Premier League matches between the pair have seen both sides score on 34 occasions - more than any other fixture in the division's history.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham

This is a fascinating contest between two teams in fine form and looking good to challenge for the top four this season. Arsenal appear to have addressed many of the problems which cost them in these fixtures over the final years of Wenger's reign, while Spurs have picked up a couple of hugely impressive wins in succession. We cannot separate the two.

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Who will win Sunday's North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham?

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Harry Kane celebrates after scoring Tottenham Hotspur's second goal against Chelsea on November 24, 2018
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Combined XI: Arsenal vs. Tottenham

2Manchester CityMan City96122992019
3Leicester CityLeicester9522168817
6Crystal Palace9423810-214
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs93331513212
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd933387112
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham93331113-212
12Aston Villa93241513211
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves92521212011
14Manchester UnitedMan Utd9243109110
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9234912-39
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9225514-98
19Norwich CityNorwich92161021-117

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