Arsenal v Tottenham
English Premier League
Sunday, 1st September 2013
The Emirates Stadium, London
Kickoff: 16:00 BST
The context of the North London Derby has several plots and sub plots to it. Last season, Spurs narrowly missed out on the Champions League spot, as Arsenal clinched it on the final day, despite falling behind of their rivals for major part of the season.
This summer the landscape is quite different though. Arsenal, fueled by cash generated from new sponsorship deals looked to splash big in the transfer market, but the grim reality is they have failed to lure any big names to the Emirates so far,and so far have only signed two players on free transfers.
The story is quite different on the other side across the town, where the future of talisman winger Gareth Bale was speculated throughout the summer and eventually the Welshman bid good-bye (not yet officially) to White Hart Lane. But, Spurs have replenished his void so well that their squad is now envy for even the top sides of Europe.
They have landed stars like Erik Lamela, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado et al and if all of these players gel properly this season, not only top four is easy achievable but an outside shot on the title race can’t be ruled out either. So far the signs are promising, as Spurs have won both their games in the league.
Arsenal will miss the services of Lukas Podolski, as the German has been ruled out for a lengthy period of time due to hamstring problems, while Mikel Arteta (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Thomas Vermaelen (back) and Abou Diaby (throughout the body) will be missing for this tie too.
There are even concerns that Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey may miss out, but Wenger expects both of them to take part. Spurs have a clean bill of health with only Lennon doubtful with a foot injury.
Olivier Giroud has been in good form so far, scoring in both the matches against Aston Villa and Fulham respectively in the league, and the Frenchman will be expected to fire all cylinders again against their bitter rivals. Giroud has a good goal scoring record at home as 11 of his 13 league goals have come at the Emirates.
Spurs have managed two narrow victories in both of their league games, winning by the 1-0 margin. Roberto Soldado, the new signing from Valencia has scored both the goals and both of them have come through penalties. Can he turn his excellent start to a dream start by scoring three in three games?
Spurs have a dangerous record against Arsenal at the Emirates in recent years. In their last two Premier League visits, there has been a Spurs player sent off, while they have failed to hold on to their lead, losing 5-2 on both occassions.
In fact, this fixture has produced more goals (124) than any other fixtures in the league. Arsenal have failed to score only once in their last 29 meetings with Spurs.
Prediction for Sunday
Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham
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