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Match Preview: Arsenal vs Tottenham

It is that time of the season: the eagerly awaited North London Derby. Tottenham will be looking to avenge last season’s 5-2 defeat at the Emirates and Arsenal will be in the hunt of a much needed three points to move into the Top four of the table after a disappointing performance against Fulham at the Emirates last week .

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Arsenal’s Last 5 Matches – D D L W W

Tottenham Hotspur‘s Last 5 Matches : L L W L W

Team News: Arsenal

The last time Arsenal met Tottenham at the Emirates, Arsenal staged a memorable comeback performance. Trailing 0-2, the home side bounced back, winning the match 5-2, Theo Walcott scoring a brace, with Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna and former Dutch captain Robin van Persie on the scoresheet. It was goals galore, with seven goals score in the same game.

Arsenal will be looking to grab the much-needed three points in this derby.  It is a must-win game for all Arsenal fans, and it is, after all, a derby. After a frustrating 3-3 draw at home to Fulham, Arsene Wenger’s side will go all out anything to grab these three points. In the current Barclays Premier League Table, there are three clubs above Arsenal and Spurs in the race for the Top Four: West Ham, West Brom and Everton.

Arsenal have a triple recovery boost, with Wojciech Sczcesny, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fit to play. Polish goalkeeper Sczcesny believes that despite being out for so many days, his form hasn’t been affected. With Kieran Gibbs unavailable for the match, Arsenal’s defense will see Sagna and Vermaelen as right back and left back respectively with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny deployed at centre backs. Szczesny, Sagna, Santiago Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, Chamberlain and Walcott have all passed their fitness tests ahead of today’s North London Derby.

The Polish goalkeeper has played 90 minutes for the Arsenal Under-21 team, and Carl Jenkinson has so provided an impressive performance for the Gunners. But since the return of Bacary Sagna he has been benched. The midfield will probably see Spaniards Arteta and Cazorla alongside Jack Wilshere, who has returned to first team action after a long term injury.

Up front, Arsenal will probably field Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott as wingers, and Giroud up front. Arsenal will use their traditional 4-3-3 formation.

Team News: Tottenham

Tottenham will be looking to avenge the last year scalp at the Emirates. Throwing away a 2-0 lead, they went on to lose 5-2. Currently, Tottenham are a point ahead of the Gunners and for Tottenham’s new manager Andre Villas-Boas to finish above Arsenal is a must if they want to play in the UEFA Champions League. From 1996 onwards, Tottenham have always failed to finish above Arsenal.

The Spurs manager believes that the title race is between the Manchester clubs and Chelsea. He believes his side needs to come near to the Top four spots in the table in order to capture a Top four spot at the end of the league.

Andre Villas-Boas said:

“To play for that fourth spot, Champions League qualifications, I think it’s difficult bearing in mind the amount of competition that you have to beat. Daniel Levy keeps on mentioning it, but it’s normal, they really have to embrace it because it’s part of the great English culture of the game.”

Tottenham have concerns over Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe  and Kyle Walker, who missed the England-Sweden Friendly with a hamstring problem .

Last 5 north London derbies

Date                           Venue                                  Score

26/02/2012           Emirates Stadium          Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur

04/10/2011            White Hart Lane            Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal

20/04/2011            White Hart Lane            Tottenham Hotspur 3-3  Arsenal

20/11/2011             Emirates Stadium        Arsenal 3-2 T0ttenham

21/09/2011             White Hart Lane           Tottenham 3-2 Arsenal

For me, this is an open match, both the clubs have equal chance to win this. Arsenal look to be the favourites with the likes of Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott fit to play. Tottenham would be relying on Gareth Bale and Adebayor in attack. If you look at both the teams, Arsenal have a good midfield but are known for sloppy defending.

Tottenham on the other side, after facing a 1-2 loss against City last week are looking to grab the 3 points. But there will be goals galore.

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