Sunday, 8 November 2015

Arsenal v Spurs Preview

Arsenal have won their last five Premier Lesgue games and are only behind the leaders on goal difference. They're very much the form team in the league with 16 goals and three clean sheets in those five games too. Everything points to what could be a really good season for them and they look capable of putting in a genuine challenge for the title.

It all sounds so good until you remember what happened on Wednesday night and what this team are capable of at times. The 5-1 defeat against Bayern was most certainly a low point and it makes Arsenal's chances of qualifying from their Champions League group slim at the very best. The players have a chance to redeem themselves today though and they have the ideal opponents to do so.

No matter how badly things might be going it always feels great to get one over on Spurs. That's not to say things are going badly though with the team doing so well in the league despite the current injury crisis. A win today will leave Arsenal second behind City on goal difference only at the very worst.

There isn't too much to report in terms of team news with Laurent Koscielny possibly being the only one of the injured players set to return. If he's fit enough to play he will come straight back into the team for either Per Mertesacker or Gabriel Paulista. It also means Mathieu Debuchey will continue at right back with Hector Bellerin still out and hopefully he can improve on his recent performances.

There's also a possibility of Mikel Arteta returning to the squad, but he will only be on the bench even if he does return. With another international break after this game we could actually see things improve on the injury front for Arsenal by the time they get to play again in two weeks time. Hopefully we will see the returns of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in time for what promises to be a very busy end to the calendar year.

As for today the boss has very few options open to him and the team will be almost identical to the one which fared so badly on Wednesday night. If Koscielny is fit he will be the only change I would imagine and hopefully the ineptness of that game will mean the players have plenty left to give today. I don't think that defeat on Wednesday will affect their confidence too much as the team seem more capable of bouncing back from setbacks than they have done in past seasons.

Arsenal have of course already beaten Spurs this season when a second string side put them out of the Capital One Cup thanks to two goals from Mathieu Flamini. They didn't manage to beat Spurs in the league last season though with a defeat away to them and a 1-1 draw at home. That home game was one Arsenal should have won comfortably, but they didn't take their chances and paid the price.

As Arsenal's league form has improved this season they have become a lot better at taking their chances in games. They have a knack of scoring at crucial times and very quickly scoring a second goal after the first one. If they can be ruthless with their chances today they should be too good for a Spurs team who are in good form too.

They have only lost one league game so far and that was on the opening day. Since then they have five wins and five draws to their name and have won five of their last seven in the league. It's about time they were put in their place and there's no better team to do that than Arsenal.

We all know their place is in our shadow and they cannot find their way out of it no matter how hard they try. Since the boss took the reins in 1996 Arsenal have finished above Spurs every single season and I expect this season to be no different. A win today would be the perfect way to remind them of their place and I feel pretty confident they will get that win.

Olivier Giroud is in a fine run of goal scoring form at the moment and he could be just the man to make the difference. Mesut Ozil is the man most likely to supply him with the chances as he continues to impress while Alexis Sanchez can win any game all on his own. I'm a little concerned about his form for the last few games, but there would be no better game for him to show his class than in this game.

The team will most certainly have to defend an awful lot better than they did on Wednesday. Even with the huge injury list at the moment they still have the top class players to keep Spurs at bay and hurt them when the chances arrive. I don't think there will be too much in it, but I think Arsenal will get the win by the odd goal.

When Arsene Wenger

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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