The Premier League returns following the international break with a blockbuster North London derby on Saturday lunchtime, as Arsenal play host to Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates.
One week after the women’s teams made history in their North London derby, the men’s crops will battle for supremacy and the chance to sit pretty at the top of the Premier League table.
A total of 47,367 supporters made the journey to the Emirates to watch Arsenal Women thump Tottenham 4-0 during the men’s international break, and if Saturday’s contest is anything as one-sided as the Women’s Super League version, Gooners are in for a treat.
Taking after his namesake Patrick, Arsenal new boy Fabio Vieira scored the pick of the bunch as Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners over Brentford on September 18, during which William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus headed home for the dominant Gunners in the first half.
Having successfully avenged their 2-0 loss at the Brentford Community Stadium last year – irking some with their ‘Nice kick about with the boys’ comments – Arsenal ensured that they would head into the international break one point clear of Spurs and Manchester City in first place.
Ending a four-game run without a clean sheet was also a sight for Mikel Arteta’s sore eyes, as his Arsenal side continue to demonstrate a ruthless streak notably absent in teams gone by, even if their only Big Six clash so far this season ended in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
The hosts have also prevailed in each of their last six Premier League matches at their Emirates headquarters, although they have conceded at least one goal in all of them, and Tottenham’s famed attacking line have more than one incentive to silence the home crowd.
After facing countless calls from Tottenham fans to drop the goalless Son Heung-min to the bench due, Antonio Conte’s bold move paid dividends against Leicester City, as the South Korea international ended his profligate streak in some style.
Son was introduced into the match in the 59th minute, and by the 86th minute he was confirmed to be walking home with the match ball, as his 13-minute hat-trick complemented strikes from Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Rodrigo Bentancur in a 6-2 romping.
Conte joked that Son can expect to be benched week in week out if he delivers similar super-sub performances in the future, as Tottenham remain on the coat-tails of Arsenal and reigning champions Man City in third spot prior to the trip across the capital.
The Lilywhites bounced back from their Champions League disappointment at Sporting Lisbon in perfect fashion versus Leicester, but only two of their last seven competitive matches away from home have ended in victory, and the Emirates is not their happiest hunting ground.
A 3-1 Arsenal triumph in this fixture last season means that Spurs have failed to win any of their last 11 North London derbies away from home in the league, but they served their capital counterparts a slice of humble pie with a 3-0 win in May, and Conte’s crop are not the same side that Nuno Espirito Santo led to their demise at the Emirates last term.
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
We say: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal’s streak of failing to keep clean sheets at home and Tottenham’s consistent run of scoring against the Gunners bodes well for those in white, but a North London derby at the Emirates always seems to galvanise the home support.
Arteta’s side could receive numerous fitness boosts, are demonstrating a far more effective ability to press high, and can recover well from in-game setbacks, which should help them to a narrow victory on Saturday against a Tottenham side who still have some questions to answer on the creative front.