The two form teams of the league come head to head in a North London derby guaranteed to be an exciting match up. However outside the league these two are faring rather differently—heavy midweek defeat to Bayern Munich isn’t the way Wenger would like to prepare for such an important game, and he won’t be happy with the number of players on the injury table at the moment (Arsenal have the most of any team in the league). Tottenham won their European fixture, beating Anderlecht 2-1 and showing grit to get the win as the final whistle approached. They say in a derby form means nothing so expect a fierce clash.
The German veteran looked badly out of his depth against Munich, but with doubts over Koscielny’s fitness, Mertesacker will have to take command when facing up against their North London rivals. There is little question that Mertesacker is great in the air but Spurs have players in the likes of Eriksen, Mason and Lamela who can create chances on the ground. I suspect that Arsenal will concede at least once and it will be down to the forwards rather than the defence to win this game. Wenger cannot rely on a sturdy defence to see this one out if it is tight.
The Belgian midfielder has scored three times in three games, matching his tally from the previous ninety games and hinting that perhaps he’s finally improved his end product. So many times in the past Spurs fans have cheered as he glides past opponents only to pass sideways or lose the ball. This goal was impressive not only because it won the match, but also because it was taken with his right foot. He began on the bench against Anderlecht, meaning he’s probably slated to start at the Emirates and in this kind of form he has a good chance of scoring—especially against a backline that may be missing both Bellerín and Koscielny.
With Theo Walcott injured, Giroud is taking his chance to impress, and scored a fearsome goal against one of the best goalkeepers in the world midweek. The Frenchman has six goals in the league so far and will be looking to add to that tally while he is trusted up front for the Gunners. Will he be able to get much change out of one of the meanest defences in the country though? He will be relying on the creativity of Alexis Sanchez and Cazorla, but if he is clinical with his chances he should inflict damage.
The Korean forward made his much anticipated return in the second half of the game against Anderlecht, but looked rusty and off the pace for much of his appearance. It didn’t stop him grabbing the assist for Dembele’s goal though. I wouldn’t expect him to start here, but he may come on as an impact substitute later in the game.