Here we are ladies and gentlemen, yet another North London Derby. For most supporters, that means it’s going to be a long sleepless night, myself included. The thought of taking on your fiercest rival is always exciting, and this season, it promises to be highly entertaining.
Mesut Ozil is in fine form, pulling rabbits out of his hat, while Alexis Sanchez looks like the energizer bunny. Together, they’ve been an absolute nightmare for opposing defenders. Did I mention Olivier The Bearded Beauty Giroud is back, and has three goals in his last two appearances? How about Shkodran Mustafi, who has yet to taste defeat since his move to Arsenal in the Summer?
Yea, I think it’s safe to say that Arsenal is very ready to take on those always hopeful Spu*s.
Imagine being able to hand them their first defeat in the Premier League, and make it seven straight matches without a victory? The only thing better than that would be to win the Premier League at Sh*t Hart Lane. Wait, we’ve already done that!
To think that they have yet to lose in the current campaign, they’ve only conceded five goals and they are still behind in the standings. Does it get anymore obvious folks? They will forever be in our shadow, whether they like it or not, and Sunday is another opportunity to prove that. Would it be possible for Jack Wilshere to take control of the microphone in the stadium for this match? What Do We Think Of SH*T?!
We are in a strong position in the league and we want to strengthen this position. It’s a derby and before a derby you need to prepare mentally as well to be at your best, to fight no matter what happens and as well to be effective. That means mastering every situation we face on the day. You prepare mentally for that. – Arsene Wenger
Who Will We See
There are a few more injuries than earlier in the season, yet the beauty of it all is having quality and depth. Lucas Perez, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all certain to miss out, but then there are a handful of others who are facing a late fitness test.
At left-back, we could be in for a bit of a nightmare.
Kieran Gibbs looked fantastic against Sunderland (they make everyone look good), then he looked very suspect in Bulgaria midweek. Having picked up a shoulder injury, he’s a doubt. Making matters worst, Nacho Monreal is still struggling with a muscle injury, which may keep him out for a third successive match. Who the hell do you put on the left if neither can pass the almighty fitness test? According to the latest rumors, both are expected to be available, so fingers crossed this doesn’t become an issue.
Theo Walcott was also kept out of the Champions League match midweek due to a hamstring injury. His absence looked to be more of a precaution, along with Hector Bellerin. Both speedsters should be ready to make things real difficult for Sp*ds’ left side. Good luck keeping up with both of them.
Granit Xhaka will be back from suspension, and fresh off a goal against Ludogorets, the Swiss international will be looking forward to his first North London Derby. His not so soft approach in the tackle will be good to get the likes of Dele Alli all fired up.
The young Englishman has shown a knack for losing his temper at times, so who better to really piss him off than Xhaka and Coquelin?
Further up the pitch, there could be some uncertainties.
I would be very surprised if Alexis didn’t start down the middle, relegating Olivier Giroud to the bench once again. It sucks because you’d like to see them both feature, but I think to start, Arsenal could potentially put them to the sword early. Look what happened to Chelsea just a month or so ago, and even Man United last season at the Emirates.
Without Alderweireld, who I think is their best defender, the pace of Alexis will be an absolute nightmare. If they for whatever reason struggle to break them down, then I think Giroud comes on to push their defenders around.
Even with Alexis leading the line, Aaron Ramsey is likely going to get a start, the question is where?
I’d imagine Walcott will start, so maybe he goes to the left and Ramsey features on the right? Or how about Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left?
Regardless of who takes part in the match, all we care about is that the Gunners take all three points.
Keep The Streak(s) Alive
Going all the way back to 1998, Arsenal have hosted their rivals 18 teams in the Premier League. From those 18, they’ve won 12, drawn five and lost just once. Their last two meetings at the Emirates have ended in a one goal draw, but prior to that, Arsenal had won three straight. I’m sure you all remember the memorable 5-2 victories. Yes, it happened two years in a row.
When I talk about streak(s), I’m not referring to a streak against the Spu*s. I mean really, their streak of continuously finishing behind us is a long enough nightmare for them.
What I’m referring to is Arsenal’s 15 match unbeaten run across all competitions. From those 15, they’ve put together 12 victories, three draws, scored 38, conceded nine and managed eight cleansheets. Even for a neutral, those are some impressive numbers.
Being able to make it 16 while steamrolling our lowly neighbors would be fantastic.
Another streak we can talk about is one associated with the numbers six.
Spu*s are winless in six competitive matches, having scored a mind-blowing three goals. If those numbers don’t make you smirk, this will.
From their last 19 away fixtures dating back to January 30, 2016, they’ve won just eight. Along with those defeats, they managed seven draws and four defeats. So as you can see, they aren’t necessarily the best travelers.
Predicting The North London Derby
Let’s not lie to ourselves here. We all know who the clear favorite to win this match is, yet I’m very surprised that the odds makers have the Gunners as slight favorites. Am I missing something here?
Spu*s are without a suspended Sissoko, which is probably better for them seeing as he’s an Arsenal supporter. They are also missing Harry Overrated Kane, Alderweireld, Lamela, and I believe Davies. The best part about this injury list for the visitors is that on Arsenal’s site, they listed Lamela as Pamela. Maybe it was on purpose?!
At the moment, Arsenal are in fantastic form not just individually, but collectively. Their team spirit is at a level that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
Proof of that was their come from behind victory in Bulgaria midweek. Or their 1-4 smash and grab over Sunderland.
Both of those fixtures would have ended very differently in years past. Having conceded an equalizing goal away to Sunderland, the Arsenal of old would have crumbled under the pressure. Instead, they turned up the heat and shipped three past the Black Cats in less than 10 minutes.
How about in Bulgaria. Down 2-0 within the first 20 minutes in a Champions League match. Talk about a terrible start.
Being down by two goals that early is bad enough, but against a club they just beat 6-0 certainly made it worst. Instead of packing it in and feeling bad for themselves, they reacted as we could only have hoped they would.
This is something we haven’t seen in Arsenal for quite sometime, and it just shows that they are all in it together.
While anything is possible in football, given how they both enter this match, it’s difficult to see Arsenal dropping points here.
Sure, you can call me biased, but honestly, who on their team worries you? Maybe Erikson, but other than that?
Arsenal have far too many weapons I think for an average Spu*s team to cope with. Some will mention how they dismantled Manchester City earlier in the season, yet, it looks like they aren’t the only ones who have figured out Pep Guardiola’s side.
I envision Arsenal to come out flying from the get go, playing at a quick pace, which should cause all sorts of problems for the visitors. On the defensive end, unless it’s from a set piece, I don’t see Spu*s scoring either. Don’t agree with me? That’s fine, but please do share your thoughts below.
Arsenal 3-0 Spu*s