One of the most intense rivalries in the English Premier League is set to kick off in London on Nov. 20 as Arsenal will host their arch enemy Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium. On paper, all of the advantages sit with Arsenal as they’re in second place in the league, just two points behind reigning champions Chelsea, another London squad. Spurs are sitting in seventh place, seven behind Arsenal and nine back of Chelsea.
If Spurs are going to have any chance of finishing in the top four and getting a shot at the European Champions League again next season they’re going to have to play with more consistency and beat the teams ahead of them in the standings. They’ve been hurt quite a bit with injuries so far, with striker Jermain Defoe being sorely missed, and he could be back in the squad for this game.
However, they have enough scoring power in Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane, Rafael Van der Vaart, Giovani Dos Santos, Roman Pavlychenko, and Aaron Lennon, to be doing better than they are. They also have Gareth Bale, who’s probably one of the best wing/backs in the world at the moment. Keane and Dos Santos may also miss this game though, and Niko Kranjcar could miss the game. Tom Huddlestone, Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Jamie O'Hara, and Jonathan Woodgate will definitely miss the game.
For Arsenal, Laurent Koscielny’s back after his two-game suspension and striker Nicklas Bendtner should be ready after sitting out last weekend’s win over Everton. It’s unclear how much action he’ll see though as he’s been crying to the press recently about not getting enough playing time. Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, defender Thomas Vermaelen, midfielder Abou Diaby, and forward Aaron Ramsey are still injured. The team won’t miss Almunia though, as he’s often a nightmare in goal.
Spurs’ William Gallas better get ready for some verbal abuse from Arsenal supporters due to the former Arsenal captain’s free transfer to Tottenham from Arsenal. Any player who leaves for Spurs is instantly considered a traitor and vice versa.
Arsenal’s won four and lost one of their last five league games while Spurs have won one, drew two and lost two.
Arsenal and their fans hate to lose this north London derby more than other game in the league, but let’s face it, Arsene Wenger’s squad are basically chokers when it comes to big games even though its loaded with talent and that’s why Arsenal hasn’t won anything for five years. But since Spurs have a few injuries and haven’t been playing consistent soccer, they’ll probably come out as the losing side in this match. Let’s just hope we see the players displaying as much passion and emotion as the teams’ fans.