Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
English Premier League
Emirates Stadium, North London
Saturday 17 November 2012
Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur for the first North London derby of the season. The teams are separated on the Premier League table by a single place and a single point as Spurs look to maintain their advantage over the Gunners.
Arsenal go into this game after a disappointing 3-3 draw at home against Fulham in their last match. They will be determined to improve on a very inconsistent record at home this season which has produced two wins, two draws and a defeat. Arsenal have been in decent form defensively with only six goals conceded with three of those goals coming in their last home match against Fulham.
Injuries and Suspensions
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny remains out of action with an ankle problem but is closing in on a return to the side and could be in the squad for the match after this weekend. Full back Kieran Gibbs is rated as a serious doubt for the match as he has been out with a thigh problem since the match against West Ham at the start of October. Midfielders Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky and Gervinho will all miss out.
All three players are carrying leg problems with Rosicky the closest to a return. Theo Walcott may miss the match with a glute problem and is 50/50 to make the bench while Jack Wilshere returns after a suspension.
Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Spurs have slid off the pace in the Premier League thanks largely to their inconsistent away form. They have managed three wins and two defeats away from home with ten goals scored and eight conceded. Only Manchester United, Everton and Fulham have scored more goals when playing away from home. Tottenham go into the match following a 2-1 away defeat at Manchester City in a game that they will feel they should have won.
Injuries and Suspensions
Spurs have a massive list of injury problems ahead of the match. Key defenders Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker could all miss the match. Walker is the most likely to play and could face a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.
Midfielders Moussa Dembele, Scott Parker and Aaron Lennon are all unlikely to play. Dembele and Parker have more long term problems while Lennon has a small chance of making the subs bench following a hamstring injury. Key striker Jermain Defoe could miss the match and will be given a fitness test ahead of the match. Spurs have no suspensions to worry about for this match.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Statistics
Arsenal are yet to win in the league this month following a defeat away at Manchester United and the draw against Fulham. They drew away at Schalke in the Champions League between the two matches. They lost back-to-back matches in the middle of October against Norwich City and Schalke, winning all of their other games.
Tottenham are yet to take any points from a Premier League match in November following defeats to Wigan and Manchester City. They also lost against Norwich city and Chelsea last month while securing wins against Aston Villa and Southampton leaving them with a win rate of 33% for all of October and November so far.
Head 2 Head: Arsenal have the edge when the teams have met at Arsenal’s home ground. They have played 80 matches at Arsenal with the home side winning 41 games, Spurs winning 19 games and 20 games ending in draws. Arsenal won this fixture last season emphatically with a 5-2 victory while Tottenham’s last win at Arsenal was a 3-2 score in November of the 2010/2011 season.
Recent Form: Arsenal have been far too inconsistent for their liking with four wins, three defeats and two draws from their last nine matches in all competitions. Scoring goals has not been a problem in this time with 20 scored but they have conceded 16.
Spurs have been on a very bad run of results which they will be looking to put right. In their last nine matches they have won only three games, losing four and drawing two. This includes defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea who they will consider top four rivals.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Prediction
You can’t ignore Tottenham’s poor run of results and injuries but they will lift themselves for this match. Expect a close game but Arsenal to just shade it.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham.