Tomorrow is the first proper North London Derby of the season and it’s building up to be quite a match.
Aside from the usual city bragging rights both teams have something to prove. If we win we go top of the Premier League for the first time this season and rubber stamp our title credentials. Meanwhile if Spurs win… well, it’s best not to think about that.
Our team news going into the game is excellent with Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Andrey Arshavin all passed fit despite injury worries. Robin van Persie came through 45 minutes with Holland while for the first time in as long as I can remember, we have lost nobody to injury during the recent international break.
Given that Johan Djourou has formed a decent partnership with Sebastien Squillaci and both played at White Hart Lane in the Carling Cup earlier in the season, I expect the pair to keep Laurent Koscielny out of the starting team. Bacary Sagna will no doubt start to combat Gareth Bale, while Gael Clichy should play on the left. I say ‘should’ because I have a sneaking suspicion after Sagna’s midweek hints that Kieran Gibbs will play some part. Watch this space.
Lukasz Fabianski will of course start in goals while it is hard to see a midfield trio consisting of anyone but Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere. Meanwhile up front Marouane Chamakh will keep his spot, although I expect a puffed-out Arshavin to be replaced by Samir Nasri on the left with Theo Walcott starting on the right. That combination would leave us with the likes of Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Tomas Rosicky, which gives us plenty of options to change the game in attack.
This Arsenal team has been fairly inconsistent over the past month and North London Derbies are always unpredictable affairs, yet I expect us to win tomorrow. Our squad is as close to full-strength as I can ever remember it and with a back four that have been communicating well, a goalkeeper that is making saves, a midfield packed with quality and attacking threat and a front three consisting of our two most consistent players this season — Chamakh and Nasri — we have a brilliant starting team.
For all that Spurs throw at us I feel our defence is slightly stronger and that could make all the difference.
Get excited: it’s going to be huuuuuge. Just ask Cesc Fabregas…
Have your say on Arsenal v Spurs by leaving a comment.