Derby days are special occasions for fans. These are the fixtures that draw the most attention when the schedule is released. Fans are full of excitement and anticipation, the players are pumped up, the media glare is intense and bragging right are up for grabs. To add to that when derbies happen in a multicultural city like London the pressure is much more. This week sees Arsenal welcome Tottenham Hotspur to The Emirates in the first north London derby this season. The teams are separated by 6 km in distance and 3 points in the table would be eager to pull one over their bitter rivals.
Tottenham began their season slowly struggling with the form and fitness of their star players but have picked themselves up sitting 3rd in the table after 13 matches. They have momentum on their side too after beating another of their London rivals in Chelsea last week and winning against Inter Milan in the Champions League in mid-week, but a 3rd game in the week would test their player’s fitness immensely given the intensity of these games.
Arsenal started out with 2 consecutive losses against Manchester City and Chelsea but has been unbeaten since then in a run extending to 18 games after beating Ukranian side Vorlska on Thursday in the Europa League. Arsenal had rested many first teamers for the long trip to Ukraine. Arsenal seem to be confident that Alexandre Lacazette would be available after missing out on last week’s win against Bournemouth.
With just 3 points separating the team, Arsenal would leap-frog Tottenham with a win based on their superior goal difference at this stage but spurs could be 6 points clear if they manage to win. Both these teams are aiming to finish in the top-4 at the end of the season and if they manage to beat their nearest rivals then it would be better.
The key Match-ups that could decide the result of the fixture:
1. Spurs front four vs Arsenal back four: Arsenal’s achilles heel over the past few seasons have been their defence and these problems still exist with Arsenal conceding 16 goals from 13 games and with Spurs unleashing their potent attack force of Kane, Alli, Son and Eriksen to a devastating effect against Chelsea this would be a decisive battle.
2. Alderweireld and Vertonghen vs Lacazette and Aubameyang: When you have a strike force of 2 of the most potent attackers going up against 2 of the most settled and experienced centre-back pairing the competition will be riveting.
The expected line-ups of both the teams will be:
Arsenal (4231): Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Torreira; Iwobi, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Tottenham (4231): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Sissoko; Alli, Eriksen, Son; Kane
When and where is the match?
The match will take place at The Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday, December 2, 2018.
Where to watch the match?
The live coverage of the match will begin at 7:35 PM IST on Star Sports Select and Select HD as well as Hotstar app.