It’s finally here, the game the needs no introduction. The North London Derby.
Possibly the most important North London Derby in recent years with the rise of Tottenham Hotspur of late, tomorrow’s game is as big of a must win as they come.
Coming into the game Spurs have been rumoured to have a few key players injured, such as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and more but whether that’s true or they were just being rested over the break, we’ll find out at kick off.
For our players though, they’ve seemed to find some form over the international break with Alexandre Lacazette netting twice for France, as did Alex Iwobi for Nigeria, along with Mesut Ozil putting in an assured display topped with an assist against France.
Arsenal fans everywhere will be hoping this is the form they bring into the game, rather than that of a couple of weeks ago against Manchester City but the big difference is that we’re back at home this week.
For us, The Emirates has yet to see us lose this season (our last home loss came to Watford in January) and the last time our home crowd saw us lose a North London Derby was seven years ago so returning home does bring some sort of insurance for us.
However, despite the derby always being a very highly anticipated affair, of the last five encounters three ended level. But if it wasn’t for one man, a few of those draws could have turned into Arsenal wins.
Kane has bagged four goals against us in those last five NLD’s and having found his form this season, I wouldn’t bet against him scoring tomorrow lunchtime if he plays.
But Arsenal might just have our equaliser to Kane now. Alexandre Lacazette is currently two goals behind Kane in the Premier League and having scored in recent games against Germany and Manchester City his confidence should be sky high.
Saturday’s game could well be won by either one of these two, however, it all depends on whether they’re on the pitch or not.
Where Kane’s doubt creeps in with recent injury murmurs, the doubt around Lacazette is simply down to a selection choice.
So far this season we’ve seen him dropped in our biggest games against Liverpool and City, but having scored of the bench to the latter that might persuade Arsene Wenger to throw him in from the start tomorrow.
Another player who fans have been calling to start this game for weeks is Jack Wilshere. The Arsenal boy has been impressive in the games he’s played so far this season and when asked about how close he is to his first Premier League start of the season, Wenger said:
“He’s very close, it’s just a question for me whether to start him or not but he’s ready to go.”
With that said, this could be a very encouraging line up if Wilshere does start which will be sure to give fans at The Emirates, as well as around the world a massive boost before kick-off, not just because he knows what the derby’s about but because of his unquestionable ability.
So, it all comes down to tomorrow. Either bragging rights or ridicule for the next few months. A win could bring us to a behind Spurs and put us in a great position to leapfrog them in the coming weeks. But its one thing saying it, it’s another doing it on the pitch come match day.