A Huge North London Derby For Both Sides

Preview of this afternoon’s Premier League match against Spurs

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Torreira - Time for a first start this season?

The usual five talking points ahead of today’s game at home to Tottenham

A Three Pronged Attack?
Unai Emery has yet to start Aubameyang, Lacazette and Nicholas Pepe in the same team. Last weekend, apparently because Lacazette was still suffering from an ankle knock, the Arsenal head coach left him on the bench at Liverpool. There was predictable outcry about the selection after the Gunners were defeated, and there was certainly an argument that the starting eleven did allow the opposition full backs a little too much liberty. However, it should be remembered that before Liverpool scored, Arsenal had two excellent chances where they really should have scored. Anyhow, if Laca does start the derby, as seems likely, someone in midfield will have to give way.

So Who’s in the Middle?
Emery fielded Xhaka, Guendouzi, Joe Willock plus in front of them Dani Ceballos at Anfield. If the formation changes to accommodate three attacking players, someone will have to make way. That’s unlikely to be Xhaka, and Ceballos is needed to knit the team together, especially given they are at home and unlikely to sit back. So Willock or Guendouzi on the bench. My money’s on Willock to miss out. And this of course, assumes a certain Uruguayan won’t be selected, which could mean both youngsters are on the sidelines.

Time for Torreira to start?
He’s been held back for reasons of match fitness until now, but coming on against Liverpool, he weighed in with a goal. You don’t need too much of a memory to recall his impact in the two North London derbies last season, scoring in the 4-2 win at home and getting sent off in the return fixture at Wembley. He gets what derby passion is about, and that’s why I would put him in front of both Guendouzi and Joe Willock for this game. Here’s hoping…

The return of ‘The Tank’
I was reminded in the build-up to this game that effectively, Arsenal have a complete back four unavailable due to injury – Bellerin, Holding, Mavrapanos and Tierney. Granted, the young Greek probably won’t be seeing too much action outside of domestic cup games, but the other three are all likely first team starters. With Tierney still weeks away from his Gunners debut, and after the transfer of Nacho Monreal to Real Sociedad, Arsenal are going to have to muddle through with Sead Kolasinac at left back. Now ‘the tank’ may be good at fending off knife wielding moped attackers, but he’s not so great when it comes to opposition wide men. You want more? Inside of him is David Luiz. Bloody hell…

History is one our side…
In the previous 26 home Premier League games v Tottenham, Arsenal have enjoyed 15 wins, 10 draws and been defeated just the once. Sounds good eh? However, in the last 10 Premier League North London derbies (both home and away), Arsenal have won just twice (five draws and three Spurs wins). One thing that generally goes out of the window is recent form. These games have no logic and are difficult to call, even if Arsenal are firm favourites with the bookies to win today.

For different reasons, both sides will be desperate for a win. A draw will not be a disgrace, but points-wise, not too much use as Liverpool and Manchester City are already looking ominous, whilst the opportunity to put distance between themselves and Chelsea and Man United is a real carrot for both North London clubs. There are some other factors going on for Spurs. If there is any chance of Christian Erikssen being sold in the 24 hours after the game, will Pochettino risk him? Let’s hope not, as Spurs are a lesser team without him. Sadly Harry Kane has a great scoring record in these games, and the defending against Liverpool offers little encouragement that he will draw a blank in this game. So we’ll see goals, and quite probably four or five. I’ll take a 3-2 home win now, although depending on how that might pan out, I’m not convinced my heart will. Enjoy the game… if that is at all possible.


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  1. itsRonagain2

    Sep 1, 2019, 22:33 #114739

    Never saw the match but bloody hell, 2 down and got a draw from it? From what I gather it was gung ho that dragged it back? Well, that’s Arsenal and has been for 15 years. No point dissecting the game and players individual performances really. Arsenal are at best a top 6 team. That was a point won for such a team, not 2 points lost. That, I’m afraid lads is where the club is at. They need to find the same spirit away from home.

  2. Pauljames

    Sep 1, 2019, 21:36 #114738

    Pleased with the point from 2 down but you have to say that Dick is struggling to fix our defensive issues. We are too open in midfield and will continue to ship loads of goals. On the positive side we may have a player on our hands in Guendouzi, very good today

  3. mbg

    Sep 1, 2019, 20:47 #114737

    Same old story, two mistakes, more like school boy errors have cost us the three points, unacceptable will they ever learn ? Just when we thought we were on the up we revert to type for a very winable NLD big improvent needed the spuds will certainly be the happiest tonight.

  4. markymark

    Sep 1, 2019, 18:19 #114736

    Yep, Bard I’d say Unai points his pistol at the protagonists then promptly blows his own toes off! Usually Granit has something to do with it.

  5. Bard

    Sep 1, 2019, 17:57 #114735

    Surprise surprise another defensive shocker. And lo and behold Xhaka makes another reckless tackle. Who would have seen that coming ? All credit for not letting the heads drop but talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Exiled I agree mate why not play Willcock. You cant get anywhere gifting 2 goals a match. Over to you Dick, if you cant sort it soon you will be collecting your P60. Gendo was fantastic. The kid has improved, the pass to Auba was world class.

  6. hibeegunner

    Sep 1, 2019, 17:53 #114734

    Dick The reason we have signed K T is that he was head and shoulders above anything else in the SPL also him and Robertson from Looserpool are equal in ability hence the reason we have signed him. I also watched the Glasgow derby and yes I agree it was pretty poor.

  7. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 1, 2019, 17:30 #114733

    Would love anyone to explain to me what Granit Xhaka, gives to this team that warrants him being the love child of Wenger and Dick... Willock probably the most consistent player in the first 3 games gets dropped for 3 so called defensive midfield players!! Would of been better with the só called captain being dropped. Still at least they rescued a point..

  8. Dick Dastardly

    Sep 1, 2019, 13:16 #114732

    Having just watched Rangers v Celtic, a game that wouldn't have looked out of place in the We-Fix-Ur-Leaking-Toilet.com 3rd Division (North), I wonder what was so good about their full back that we had to have him. Strange days indeed, as John Lennon did once sing.

  9. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 1, 2019, 09:50 #114729

    Much depends on selection/tactics, but I have a horrible feeling that 2-1 to Spurs, or maybe 1-1, will be the result of this one. I really hope I'm wrong as 'I'd love it if we beat them!' Have to say I'm sad to see Monreal go - I'd honestly have kept him and sold Kolasinac. Monreal looked as sharp as ever in his last few games for us and Kolasinac hasn't been great in a back four and has only looked great going forward (though maybe our being more defensively-minded this season will improve that side of his game). Not surprised the club are looking for players sales wherever they can though given we're self-funded. Anyway, COYG!!