It’s that time of the season again. North London Derby weekend. Saturday sees us take the early kick in the next and what people will probably call the biggest edition of the fixture.
As it seems to be the case every time we meet Spurs recently we aren’t quite being looked as favourites to win.
Our away form is against us with us having only won three league games away from The Emirates this season.
However, as we showed earlier in the season, North London Derbies ignore the form tables and pre-match predictions when we beat Tottenham 2-0 against the odds in November.
With that being said though, that could also be taken in a manner that suggests our Wembley form going into this game doesn’t matter.
Since Arsenal’s embarrassing Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham City in 2011, they haven’t lost at the home of English football since, picking up three F.A. Cups and Community Shields apiece on the way.
Going into this game with over 20 years of experience, Arsene Wenger is very aware of the fact that form can go out of the window in these games but also acknowledged the benefits of playing there:
“It (playing at Wembley) has little weight and it’ll be very much down to the performance on the day.
“We have to play our fluent football and Wembley gives you a good surface to play the game the way you want to play.”
With the season now gone past the halfway mark, results are beginning to matter even more, and that is something that is highlighted even more for tomorrow’s game.
Arsenal and Tottenham sit in 6th and 5th respectively and with four points between them, a win could see Arsenal climb to within a point of Spurs or see Mauricio Pochettino’s side stretch further in front of Arsenal.
For Arsenal, its obvious what everyone involved with the club wants, three points. Something that could help them achieve that are their January arrivals who were showcased at The Emirates for the first time last week.
The home debuts of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubayang against Everton were very encouraging with the Armenian bagging three assists, one of which for the striker’s well-taken goal.
Throughout the Everton game, Mkhitaryan posed a constant threat almost getting himself on the scoresheet too, as Aubameyang managed to stretch the defence well. With such a big space available to them tomorrow you can only think they will at least be able to put in a similar performance, especially have an extra few days rest than the Spurs defence.
Their arrivals have also seen an upturn in the mood around the club and fans which can also be a vital aspect of tomorrow’s game as we’ll look to impose ourselves at a stadium we have become very familiar with over the years.
Also, with Petr Cech being quite error prone lately and having to bow out after an hour or so against Everton, maybe David Ospina can bring some good luck to our goal like in last year’s F.A. Cup final victory.