The pair both advanced to the last eight of the Carling Cup in midweek, the Arsenal youngsters getting the better of Liverpool while Spurs were beating Everton, but three points are at stake this weekend and a win would consolidate either in third place.
The rivals both sit on 19 points ahead of the lunchtime fixture but it is Arsenal that have impressed most recently, the Gunners also have a game in hand over the majority of the top six, and Arsene Wenger will be looking to celebrate his 60th birthday with a victory.
Wenger saw his latest talented crop impress yet again on Wednesday night, Aaron Ramsey, in particular, caught the eye, but there is no doubt the likes of William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie will return for top flight duty and the home side are taken to have far too much for the visitors. >
Tottenham arrive at The Emirates looking to prevent the hosts making it five wins out of five in the league on their own turf and while captain Robbie Keane has been talking up his side’s chances ahead of the fixture, I am not so sure. Spurs’ frailties were exposed all to easily by Stoke City in their latest Premier League fixture and I find it difficult to see anything other than a comprehensive home win. >
Arsenal have scored 17 goals in just four matches in front of their own fans this season and I’m confident Wenger will insist a repeat of their late lapses against AZ Alkmaar in the Champions League and at Upton Park last Saturday, when drawing 2-2 with West Ham, are not repeated. Given the way they play, Arsenal are due to give somebody a good thrashing sooner rather than later and it could well come in the biggest game of all.
While Harry Redknapp must cope without striker Jermain Defoe once again this weekend, the England star serves the final game of a three match suspension, his French counterpart has virtually a fully fit squad to choose from and Wenger has an embarrassment of riches in attack.
Redknapp may also be unable to call upon the services of Peter Crouch and Aaron Lennon on Saturday, the pair both missed the midweek win over the Toffees, while playmaker Luka Modric is a long term absentee. That leaves him short going forward, in contrast Wenger is only certainly without Theo Walcott, and Arsenal’s first XI should be too strong.
The Gunners have been really well supported this week and it will be a major surprise if Tottenham register their first Premier League win against their great rivals in what is now approaching a decade. Tim Sherwood got the winner that day, back in 1999, but how times have changed and Arsenal can maintain their title challenge by triumphing with something to spare.
3pts Back Arsenal (vs. Tottenham) @ 1.63 (various)