|It's the first North London Derby of the season with Arsenal hosting Tottenham, will the home team tradition continue at the Emirates? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Arsenal vs TottenhamEmirates Stadium12:30 pm
The first North London Derby of the season is upon us and what better way is there to resume proper league football after the not-so-interesting international break?
Arsenal continues to lead the log and must beat Tottenham at home to retain the spot with rival teams hoping to usurp the Gunners. Arsenal beat Brentford 3-0 before the international break with goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus, and Fabio Vieira.
Tottenham is also in a good place; Antonio Conte’s side is yet to lose a game this season and their last game was an impressive win over Leicester City, a game where Heung Min Son regained scoring touch with a thirteen-minute hattrick.
Arsenal’s only loss this season came in their game against Manchester United but the Gunners have impressed overall. The presence of Saliba has added grit and confidence to the Arsenal defense and he ranks high among ball carriers in the league.
Tottenham is known for strong defensive displays and rich counterattacks and can hurt Arsenal if they follow the Manchester United template. Arsenal’s high line can be exploited with fast full-backs running the flanks and linking up with the wingers.
Harry Kane remains the highest-scoring player in the derby and enjoys the fixture in particular; Kane will have to hustle hard against an Arsenal defense that has kept three clean sheets in seven games this season and with Alex Zinchenko set to feature, the dynamics might change.
Spurs will be wary of Arsenal’s fast transition; the midfield battle will depend on the available men for Arsenal; word on the street is that the trio of Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Zinchenko will be available with the latter playing his first ever NLD.
Arsenal hasn’t lost to Spurs at the Emirates since 2010 and will be clear favorites on Saturday but Tottenham will be a worthy test for the title credentials and mentality. A win will change the narratives and position Arsenal as a serious contender.