Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, which will be Mikel Arteta’s first North London Derby with fans at the Emirates Stadium since he was appointed manager.
The Gunners have not lost in their last ten meetings with Spurs at home in the Premier League, winning six and drawing four.
football.london’s Tottenham Hotspur correspondent, Alasdair Gold (AG), spoke to The Arenal Way presenter and writer, Tom Canton (TC) to preview the game.
Here’s a brief look at their conversation on Tottenham’s attack…
AG: “Yeah, I think the biggest thing for Tottenham is that they remember how to attack. Which is always useful in football matches. They always seem to struggle in the early Nuno Espirito Santo matches.
“They’ve been quite defensive. Not being able to create too many chances. A little bit Mourinho-esque. Then they had those two disaster games against Palace and Chelsea where they just shipped goals. Three in each match.
“So, there were murmurs of fans getting frustrated and worried that is there another Mourinho here. But in the League Cup game against Wolves, we saw a lot of positive signs going forward.
“Even Dele Alli and Kane linking up again. Bryan Gil, even a young Spaniard who played very well. You wonder if he’s put himself in the line-up.”
On Emerson Royal…
AG: “Yeah it’s weird because Spurs were hot on Tomiyasyu for a long time and they both start swapping at the last minute. Emerson – everything I’ve been told about him before he came has been born out so far.
“He’s raw, he’s young, he’s very much still learning the game. The season at Betis, his last one was still his best. Funnily he came with this kind of, most people have been saying and even Nuno said, he’s an attacking right-back.
“But, all of his stats and everyone that watched him in Spain said actually he’s probably better defensive-wise. Technique wise when he gets over the halfway line he’s actually not as good as people think he’s going to be.
“Purely because he’s a Brazil international. So, yeah I haven’t made my mind up on him yet. He’s only had two appearances, there have been moments when he’s done really well. In both first halves against Palace and Chelsea, he was really good, but in both second halves, he wasn’t very good. There are some moments where he looked very exposed.”
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On predictions for the game…
AG: ” The Emirates for Spurs is always a defeat or a draw. Other than the Kaboul winner, I remember that one. Was that Redknapp, it was that long ago?”
TC: “You won a league cup game a couple of years ago right?”
AG: “Oh yeah there was that league cup game. But in the Premier League, it’s normally an Arsenal win or a draw. So, I think a positive Spurs would probably mean a 1-1 draw.”
TC: “Fair enough. I’m going to remain optimistic and say sneak a 2-1 win and hopefully, the defence stays strong. I was tempted to go for a clean sheet but then I remembered Harry Kane exists.”
AG: “There’s always a penalty involving Harry Kane isn’t there?”
TC: “I can’t remember the last derby there wasn’t a penalty, to be honest, and the thing with Arsenal is with Granit Xhaka coming back from a three-match suspension, Spurs fans must be celebrating with the idea that he’s back.
“Because a lot of Arsenal fans have been hoping to see the partnership between Lokonga and Partey. But, with Xhaka back Arteta loves it. So, with his return, I have a few concerns about not only the turnover in play but the discipline side of his game in a highly intensified derby.
“With Craig Pawson in charge, out of all people who sent of David Luiz in that ridiculous touch of a knee against Willian Jose’s at the time.”
What’s your prediction for the North London derby on Sunday? Follow our The Arsenal Way team members Tom , Alasdair and Renuka on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.