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Nov 18, 2017 at 12.30pm UK at Emirates Stadium
Attendance: 59,530
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Mustafi (36'), Sanchez (41')
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Preview: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole previews the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Arsenal play host to Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby on Saturday looking to avoid their fifth defeat of the top-flight campaign after losing 3-1 at Manchester City before the international break.

Spurs make the short trip to the Emirates Stadium sitting in third place in the standings, while Mauricio Pochettino's side have not lost in their last six league meetings against the Gunners.


Arsene Wenger watches on during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on October 22, 2017© SilverHub

Arsene Wenger would have hoped that the club's lack of involvement in this season's Champions league would have improved their chances in the Premier League but already, the Gunners are effectively competing for a place in the top four.

The same scenario applies to many of their rivals with Manchester City a class above everyone else, but Arsenal have not helped themselves by suffering four defeats in 11 top-flight games.

Each setback has come away from home - including to City and Liverpool - but losing at Stoke City and Watford has left Arsenal in a position where they are in real need to restore some pride against Spurs this weekend.

Wenger has insisted that his main ambition is to finish as high up in the standings as possible, but the Frenchman requires a result to get the club's supporters back on side and a showdown with their fierce rivals is arguably the perfect game at this stage of the campaign.

Question marks remain over Wenger's trust in striker Alexandre Lacazette given that the summer signing has started a number of high-profile games on the bench, but the French international still has six goals from 11 league appearances to his name.

Wenger will also be demanding a performance from each of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who barely made an impact against City two weeks ago, while Jack Wilshere will hope that Saturday is the day where he is finally given the chance to start a Premier League match for the first time this season.

Recent form: WWLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDL

Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino keeps it casual during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth on October 14, 2017© SilverHub

Spurs showed in their most recent fixture against Crystal Palace that they are still struggling to put in clinical performances against some of the lower clubs in the standings, but there have been few problems in rising to the occasion when a big club stands in their way.

Convincing wins over Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, as well as four points from two fixtures with Real Madrid, have proven that Spurs are ready to make the next step up in their pursuit of a first Premier League crown, but Pochettino will not lose sight of the importance of maintaining the edge in the club's rivalry with Arsenal.

Spurs have not necessarily had it all their own way but it is difficult to argue against the belief that the Whites are now the top team in North London, even if Arsenal only sit four points adrift of their rivals ahead of the showdown at the Emirates.

The return of Harry Kane is vital given the 24-year-old's record against Arsenal, but Dele Alli and Harry Winks are equally important to Spurs' chances of earning more points in N7.

The trio were either off-form or injured for the scrappy win over Palace, and the win was only recorded due to the impressive debut of goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, who is likely to find himself back on the bench given the likely return of Hugo Lloris.

Losing to Manchester United remains the only blot on their away-day copybook in the league this season, but Spurs will be motivated to end Arsenal's run of 10 successive wins at home in the Premier League.

Recent form: WWWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): DWLLWW

Team News

Harry Kane in Tottenham Hotspur training on October 31, 2017© Offside

Pochettino has confirmed that the quartet of Lloris, Winks, Alli and Kane should all be available after sustaining minor injuries two weeks ago.

However, Toby Alderweireld will miss out with a hamstring injury, while Victor Wanyama remains a long-term absentee due to a knee problem.

Eric Dier is likely to start at the centre of defence, with Mousa Dembele coming in to partner Winks in midfield.

Wenger has revealed that both Shkodran Mustafi and Danny Welbeck are in contention to return from thigh and hamstring issues in time for the weekend.

Lacazette could be recalled after his goal at the Etihad Stadium, although Wenger must decide how to use the Frenchman, with compatriot Olivier Giroud being forced to sit out the match after sustaining a minor knock while on international duty.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen; Tripper, Dembele, Winks, Davies; Eriksen, Alli, Kane

Head To Head

Saturday's match will represent the 194th meeting between the clubs in a competitive match, with Arsenal claiming 80 wins in comparison to 62 victories for Spurs.

However, you have to go back to March 2014 for the last time that Arsenal prevailed in the league, with Spurs registering two wins and four draws during that period.

That said, Spurs have not won at the Emirates since 2010, when Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Younes Kaboul all netted as Harry Redknapp's side overturned a two-goal deficit to run out 3-2 victors.

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We say: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs will welcome back a number of players for Saturday's showdown, but Arsenal remain a tough nut to crack in front of their own supporters. We fancy the visitors to score at the Emirates but Arsenal always seem to find a way to gain at least a point on home territory.

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Mauricio Pochettino gives instructions during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur on October 28, 2017
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