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North London Derby : Match Preview

North London Derby : Match Preview

With bragging rights in North London, pride, honor and most importantly a Champions League berth on the line, this weekend’s North London derby, voted the second most fiercest rivalry in English Football, has all the ingredients for being a mouth watering clash.

In this emotionally charged fixture, these clubs have met each other on 179 occasions before ( in the English League) where Arsenal holds the upper hand with 77 wins compared to Tottenham’s 54. Though historically, Arsenal have had the bragging rights in North London, painting it red, this weekend’s fixture is anything but an easy match for either teams given their terrific form and the high stakes involved.

Arsenal enter this match at 5th position, tied with Southampton and a point adrift from Manchester United. They now have an impressive goal difference owing to the 5 – 0 drubbing of Aston Villa. In view of the key players recovering from injuries and new signings Krystian Bielik and Gabriel, Arsenal are finally looking like a team who can take the trophy home yet again this year.

Tottenham come into this match with an impressive run of form and also making to the League Cup finals. Spurs sit 6th on the table with 40 pts, just 2 points short of Arsenal and definitely up for contention for a Champions League berth next year.

Players to look out for :

Santi Cazorla

The little Spaniard has been voted the player of the month for January. His stunning form was evident in the match against title holders Manchester City where Arsenal won 2 – 0. Santi played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s recent success and has been consistently scoring goals in the last few matches.

Mesut Ozil

The German has received a lot of flak from the Arsenal supporters and football pundits for not performing to his best abilities in every game in addition to staying out for many months due to injury. Nevertheless, the World Cup champion German has refuted every critic by nailing 2 goals in 2 matches as well as providing assists since his return to the Arsenal side. Arsenal would look to capitalise on the German’s form in this week’s derby.

Harry Kane

One of the biggest revelation of this season has been Tottenham’s English striker, Harry Kane. Kane has scored 13 goals for Spurs in the Premier League with a total of 20 goals this season- quite a remarkable achievement for a 21 year old striker. Kane played a critical role in the 5 – 3 demolishing of Chelsea at White Hart Lane and has been playing left right and center for the North Londoners this season.

Christian Eriksen

The Dane is considered to be one of the best young talents in World Football and has certainly lived up to this tag, playing possibly the best football of his career and being, hands down, the best Spurs player this season. Eriksen netted 11 goals for Spurs in all competitions, a few of those being brilliantly executed free kicks. If Spurs are to perform well against their arch – rivals this matchday, Eriksen needs to be at his very best.

Though Arsenal have been the ones, historically, to win this fixture with much ease, this weekend’s match has all the elements in it for a Spurs win with a fair amount of uncertainity.

My Prediction:

Arsenal win 3 – 2.

edited by Bhavna Rachuri

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