Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Sunday September 1 2013
1st September, 2013
You feel that, until 6pm at least, mercifully, the transfer window won't be at the forefront of Arsenal minds. North London derbies are always fraught, special affairs. In recent years, the closeness of the teams in quality and the attacking style preferred by both has made them entertaining affairs too.
This one feels seminal on both sides of the divide. Spurs may have lost Gareth Bale, but they've reinvested the money in 5 or 6 quality players. They don't have a player as good as Bale anymore, but they probably have a deeper squad.
Arsenal are still scrabbling to strengthen. The first XI that has won the last three games is strong, capable and willing. If Arsenal have to reach to their bench, they might be in trouble.
However, Spurs will experience much the same as Arsenal did this time last year in their attack. The focal point of their attack has gone, new players have come in and it may take a while for chemistry to foment.
Put simply, Spurs want to show they've truly arrived. Arsenal want to show they're still top dogs in North London. Both teams are looking to make a jump to a new level.
Arsene Wenger wonders whether Spurs have made a technical risk by bringing in so many new players, 'They try very hard of course. That's normal. In our job, there is a technical risk when you buy more than three players always because you unbalance a little bit the stability of your squad. I know that in England it's very well seen but it's always difficult when you bring so many players in, how everybody will do to predict that.'
Meanwhile, Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas says he will set his team up to win at the Emirates, 'We have the quality to go there and win,' the Tottenham manager said.
'I think we will set up to try to win the game and hopefully achieve the result we want.'
'Hopefully, if we set up properly, the match for sure will be a great game, because both teams want to play, want to win, want to attack, and hopefully it can be a present for the fans.'
Arsenal have lost Lukas Podolski for around 10 weeks with a hamstring tear, but Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have passed fitness tests. New signing Mathieu Flamini goes straight into the squad.
Mikel Arteta (thigh), Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (knee), Thomas Vermaelen (ankle) and Abou Diaby (knee) are out.
Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Rosicky, Wilshere, Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, Monreal, S.Cazorla, Flamini, Fabianski, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Ryo, Gnabry, Zelalem.
Spurs have several players that like to let fly from range, in the shape of Sigurdsson, Dembele, Paulinho and Townsend. Since Arteta's injury, one of Arsenal's great weaknesses has been preventing shots from range.
Presuming Flamini doesn't start, Jack and Aaron will need to show the defensive side of their game in what will be their stiffest test of the season so far.
Aaron Lennon is doubtful as he is struggling with a foot injury, Benoit Assou Ekotto and Emmanuel Adebayor will not feature due to a lack of match fitness.
Gareth Bale is unavailable as he seeks to seal his move to Real Madrid, new signing from Ajax Christian Eriksen is likely to go straight into the squad with fellow new boy Erik Lamela.
Tottenham Hotspur (from): Walker, Rose, Kaboul, Verthongen, Paulinho, Soldado, Holtby, Capoue, Townsend, Defoe, Dembele, Dawson, Chadli, Sigurdsson, Friedel, Lloris, Sandro, Chiriches, Lamela, Eriksen.
Townsend's performances on loan at QPR and at the beginning of this season have earned him a full England call up. He'll be looking to build on that form. Not least because Spurs have just signed two players for his position, he's fighting for his shirt.
Arsenal have failed to score in just one of their last 29 Barclays Premier League meetings with Tottenham.
Spurs have not kept four clean sheets in a row in the Barclays Premier League since January 2010.
There has been a Tottenham player sent off on each of their last two Premier League visits to The Emirates.
Tottenham have failed to hold on to a lead on each of their last two trips across North London, losing 5-2 on both occasions.
13 of the last 14 league matches between Tottenham and Arsenal have gone over 2.5 goals.
There have been 124 goals scored in Premier League meetings between Tottenham and Arsenal; more than any other fixture.
The referee will be Michael Oliver.
Can't say I'm resoundingly confident, but I will go for a 2-2 draw. Walcott and Giroud for Arsenal, Soldado and Defoe for Spurs.
Arsenal are away at Sunderland in 13 days time, Tottenham will play Norwich City at home.
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Date:Sunday September 1 2013
5 Things We Learned This Weekend (Monday December 9 2013)
Wenger Wants TV Ethics Committee (Sunday December 8 2013)
Barry: I Nearly Joined Arsenal (Sunday December 8 2013)
Arsenal v Everton Match Preview (Saturday December 7 2013)
Scout Report: Everton (Friday December 6 2013)
Stats: Arsenal v Hull City (Wednesday December 4 2013)
VIDEO: Arsenal Linked With Real Madrid Striker (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Arsenal v Hull City Match Preview (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Scout Report: Hull City (Tuesday December 3 2013)
What We Learned in the Premier League This Weekend (Monday December 2 2013)
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