After the international break, the Premier League resumes with a bang on Saturday at midday when Arsenal hosts Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates.
The men’s sides will be competing for the opportunity to sit atop the Premier League standings a week after the women’s teams created history in their North London derby.
Our Match Preview: Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
If Saturday’s match is anything like Arsenal Women’s 4-0 win over Tottenham during the men’s international break, Gooners are in for a treat.
Fabio Vieira scored Arsenal’s third goal in a 3-0 victory against Brentford on September 18. William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus scored in the first half. Arsenal avenged their 2-0 setback at Brentford last year, irking some with their ‘Nice kick about with the guys’ remarks.
They will enter the international break one point ahead of Spurs and Manchester City.
Ending a four-game clean sheet drought was also a sight for Mikel Arteta’s sore eyes as Arsenal continue to exhibit a ruthless streak conspicuously lacking in teams past, even though their sole Big Six battle so far this season resulted in a 3-1 loss to Manchester United.
The hosts have won each of their previous six Premier League meetings at Emirates, but they’ve lost at least one goal in all of them.
Tottenham has more than one reason to quiet the home fans. Son Heung-min snapped his goalless drought against Leicester City after Tottenham supporters urged Antonio Conte to dismiss him.
Son entered the game in the 59th minute and scored a hat-trick in 13 minutes, helping Spurs to a 6-2 victory. Harry Kane, Eric Dier, and Rodrigo Bentancur all scored.
Son should expect to be benched if he provides similar super-sub performances in the future since Tottenham are third in the Premier League behind Arsenal and Man City.
Only two of Tottenham’s previous seven competitive matches away from home have resulted in a win, and the Emirates is hardly their happiest hunting ground.
Spurs haven’t won any of their past 11 North London derbies away from home in the league, but they handed Arsenal a piece of humble pie with a 3-0 victory in May, and Conte’s crop isn’t the same as Nuno Espirito Santo’s.
Our Team News: Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
Mohamed Elneny (hamstring), Emile Smith Rowe (groin), and Cedric Soares (knock) will not play for Arsenal, but Kieran Tierney, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Thomas Partey are all hopeful of returning to action.
Martin Odegaard came recovered from an injury to play for Norway during the international break, potentially relegating Vieira to the bench, while Takehiro Tomiyasu is certain to play after being released from Japan due to ‘club circumstances.
Smith Rowe, who scored in this matchup last season, is out until December with a groin ailment, but Reiss Nelson, who has been out with a quadriceps injury, may be included in the squad.
It’s not only a game for Arsenal and Arteta, who is trying to become just the third manager in Arsenal history to win his first three league games against Spurs at home, after George Morrell and Terry Neill.
For Saturday’s derby, Tottenham will have to deal with their fitness issues as starting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris withdrew from France duties due to a thigh ailment.
Conte will also be hoping to have Ben Davies (knee) and Lucas Moura (tendon) available after they have been sidelined with injuries, although Lloris’s problem was classified as minor and Fraser Forster is on standby.
Dejan Kulusevski allegedly returned to England with a hamstring injury, but Ivan Perisic has been cleared to play after being substituted out for Croatia during the international break owing to a violent tackle from teammate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Therefore, the Sweden international is questionable for the game, which might mean Richarlison keeps his starting berth in the attack, but there have been demands for Conte to convert to a 3-5-2 and start Yves Bissouma.
- Arsenal possible starting lineup: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus.
- Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup: Lloris, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Perisic, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon, Richarlison, Kane, Son.
Our Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
A North London derby at the Emirates always seems to galvanize the home crowd, despite Arsenal’s habit of failing to maintain clean sheets at home and Tottenham’s streak of scoring against the Gunners.
On Saturday, Arteta’s team will face a Tottenham team that still has some concerns to answer in terms of creativity, but who might benefit from several health boosts, is exhibiting a considerably more effective capacity to press high, and can recover effectively from in-game losses.