It’s an encounter that has rival fans ravenous as they take on “them lot down the road”, but this year the North London derby won’t be such a narrow-margined affair as some are hoping.
With Tottenham Hotspur making the short trip down Seven Sisters road to the Emirates Stadium, it is indeed Arsenal that hold the upper hand.
Naturally, the team playing at home is regularly the favourite for the victory, with the chasm between the two teams closing in recent years. However, following the 5-2 win for the Gunners last season, having been 2-0 down, it’s fair to say it’s the red half of North London that are likely to be celebrating upon the full-time whistle on Saturday.
Spurs are a team going through a minor injury crisis, with Younes Kaboul, Scott Parker and, perhaps most importantly, Mousa Dembele all going to sit out the encounter. Without the Belgian, who has missed the last four Premiership encounters for Andre Villas-Boas’ side, the club have won just one of four games.
Without Dembele, Spurs are clearly lacking the cohesion and creative influence he provides from deep, with his ability to carry the ball forward often leaving the opposition on the back foot. Without him, the team have looked lost when pushing forward, with both Sandro and Tom Huddlestone unable to really provide a similar threat that the Belgian offers.
It is his loss that will be the hardest felt by Spurs and without him available, one fully expects Arsenal to capitalise and bag all three points, especially if Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are at their creative best on the day.