After two contrasting starts to their Premier League campaigns, Tottenham host Arsenal on Sunday for the first North London Derby of the season. Jose Mourinho's side will look to take advantage of their rival's faltering form and move to the top of the table. While Mikel Arteta needs to stop the rot, as Arsenal haven't won any of their last 3 Premier League outings.
Tottenham have been in fine form, having not lost in the league since the opening day of the season, as Jose Mourinho's side boasts the league's best defense. Arsenal however have been out of sorts, currently languishing in 14th place on the table. Mikel Arteta has a huge task ahead of him if he is going to take anything away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Recently, Arsenal haven't had much joy in the North London Derby, having won only one of the clubs' last five meetings. But Mikel Arteta will be looking to get one over Mourinho, who has never lost to an Arsenal side at home in their previous ten meetings, winning six and drawing four.
Both teams will have injury concerns, as Tottenham and Arsenal face off on Sunday. Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a big doubt for the game, but Mourinho's biggest worry will be the fitness of star striker Harry Kane. The Portuguese manager expects the Englishman to be fit after Kane missed training on Wednesday and did not travel with the squad to Austria, as Spurs drew 3-3 with LASK in the Europa League.
Mikel Arteta will be sweating over the fitness of Ghanaian international Thomas Partey. The deadline day arrival picked up a thigh injury in the first half of Arsenal's game against Aston Villa. Partey hasn't featured in Arsenal's last four games, but Mikel Arteta remains quietly confident that the midfielder could well make an appearance on Sunday. Another notable absentee for Arsenal will be record signing Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian picked up a red card against Leeds and will be serving the second game of his 3 match ban.
Form goes out the window in derbies like these and both managers will want to win the game, albeit for completely different reasons.
On that note, here are 5 players to watch out for in the North London Derby:
#5 Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
After starting the season on fire, scoring 3 goals in the opening 3 games, Alexandre Lacazette went on a goal drought of 67 days, before ending it spectacularly against Rapid Wien in the Europa League. The French striker played as a No. 10 against the Austrian side, as Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners.
Lacazette put in a stellar performance in this new role and it wouldn't be a surprise if Arteta decides to deploy in a similar role against Tottenham on Sunday. Arsenal have been missing a creative spark from midfield all season, and if his Europa League performance is anything to go by, Lacazette could provide them with what they require.
#4 Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
Securing a loan move back to Tottenham from Real Madrid would have been a dream scenario for Gareth Bale. The Welsh forward was frozen out of the team by Zinedine Zidane, and this move was best for all the parties involved. Bale will look to make the difference against Arsenal on Sunday.
Since coming back to Tottenham, the 31 year old has had a shaky start to say the least, but the Welsh winger always seems to show up against the Gunners. The Welshman scored 5 goals and assisted one in 10 games against his North London rivals and will be looking to add to that tally on Sunday.
Bale can use his pace and power to cause problems to the Arsenal defense, and he's also a set piece specialist with an eye for goal. The former Real Madrid man will be part of a menacing Tottenham frontline that could dismantle Arsenal in the derby.