Premier League leaders Arsenal prepare to face bitter rivals Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium, in a bid to extend their lead at the top. Arsenal are the only side with six wins after seven games as they stay above Spurs and Manchester City by a point. Heading into matchweek 9, here are some crucial pointers we keep in mind before the North London Derby kicks off.
A tale of two teams
It is common knowledge that Arsenal and Tottenham fans repulse each other. Things have been sour between the two North London sides since the early 1930s when Arsenal decided to relocate to what was predominantly, a Tottenham territory. Since then, Arsenal have gained more success in domestic football than their local rivals, causing a shift in the fanbase in the upcoming generations.
Now that Tottenham have risen from the ashes of failure, they have very recently established themselves as one of the top Premier League clubs as Arsenal continues to perish without Champions League football. Regardless, Arsenal remain the most successful North London club even after Tottenham’s better win record. Having not won a major trophy since 2008, Spurs still lag behind the Gunners in terms of title glory.
A must-win for Arsenal
Arsenal have surprised everyone with their incredible start to the season. The Gunners were the only team to start the campaign with a 100 percent record until their defeat at Old Trafford on match-day 7. Regardless, they returned to their top form against Brentford by beating them 3-0 to regain momentum.
Given their current form, Arsenal will treat this as a must-win game, where they host Tottenham. This match will be of grave importance, not just statistically, but mentally. The Gunners cannot forget that it was their North London rivals who kicked them out of the top four last season and deny them a Champions League spot. The fans are ecstatic about the current season and also revengeful for the upcoming derby.
A win against Tottenham will mean one less team to worry about for the time being, in the battle for the top spot. Arsenal currently stand first, a point above Manchester City and Spurs, who are second and third respectively. All three points will extend their tally to 21, a four-point advantage over the London Whites.
Spurs are unbeaten
Tottenham this season are one of the two teams that are unbeaten so far; the other being Man City. With 17 points, Tottenham are very much in the mood this season as Antonio Conte charges towards his second league title with yet another London club. With the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son back to scoring goals for fun, it is imperative they maintain their unbeaten record to leapfrog Arsenal in the table.
Tottenham were one of the busiest teams in the transfer window ahead of the season, signing players like Richarlison and Ivan Perišić to increase their squad depth. Arsenal, who are struggling with injuries, will have something to worry about heading into the Derby.
Tottenham’s poor record at the Emirates
Tottenham have not beaten the Gunners at the Emirates since 2010. They have only managed to beat Arsenal away from home only once since they moved from Highbury. As a matter of fact, Spurs have beaten Arsenal just twice away from home in the Premier League era. With the stats against them, Spurs will have everything to play for if they want to deprive their arch-rivals of the bragging rights.
Likewise, even Arsenal have fared poorly against Spurs away from home. The Gunners have not yet won a match at the new Tottenham Stadium. However, unlike Spurs, Arsenal have won five times in Spurs territory, including the Invincibles title in the 2003/04 season, in the Premier League era.
Arsenal vs Tottenham
The result of the North London Derby at the Emirates will dictate Arsenal’s strength against the ‘Big 6’ teams and Tottenham’s resilience given their squad depth. Experts have stated that Arsenal look a lot different this season and will surely be the frontrunners for the title. Tottenham, on the other hand, are also an equally dangerous side with a strong squad equipped with lethal forwards.
Undoubtedly, the two North London sides are charging for the title with the two derbies acting as probable deciders.
Also Read: Why Are Juventus Failing So Miserably?
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