Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. Tottenham Hotspur

Emirates Stadium, London
Sunday, November 8
11:00 a.m. EST, 16:00 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Martin Atkinson
    • Assistants: Mike Mullarkey and Steve Child
    • 4th Official: Andre Marriner
  • This Match, Last Year: Arsenal 1 - 1 Tottenham
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 75 Arsenal wins, 55 Tottenham wins, 46 draws
  • Arsenal's League Form: L-W-W-W-W-W
  • Tottenham's League Form: W-W-D-D-W-W
Ah, the old "Arsenal players look wistfully into the distance
after conceding" stock photos.
Well, we have it all to do in Europe now, but you know that already. The math isn't too difficult: Arsenal needs to beat Zagreb and Bayern needs to be Olympiacos on matchday five. Then, on matchday six, Arsenal needs to beat Olympiacos better than they themselves were beaten by the Greeks back in London (so, by two clear goals, or by scoring four or more.) The good news is that doesn't sound impossible. Of course, if Bayern and Olympiacos draw, they both go through, but I personally feel like Bayern isn't the kind of team that will turn that switch off. When you play for a draw, you tend to lose.

Anyway, that's not of much concern right now; what's done in Europe is already done and should not be harped on, especially because we've got the North London derby on Sunday. For all their midweek troubles, Arsenal have still won five straight in the league to move into a first-place tie with Manchester City. Meanwhile, Tottenham have climbed to fifth and are unbeaten since opening day, though they have drawn as many as they have won (five.)

There are a million cliches I could type right here to talk about the derby ("Form goes out the window!" is one of my favorites,) but I don't have much more to say. Arsenal need to dig deep and get a win and then they need to get healthy again. At least we'll have an international break to help catch our collective breath.

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Bellerin (groin,) Walcott (calf,) Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring,) Ramsey (hamstring,) Ospina (shoulder,) Welbeck (knee,) Wilshere (ankle,) Rosicky (knee)

Laurent Koscielny appears to have borrowed Wenger's coat.
Now, I've been writing for the Modern Gooner for almost five years now. I'll be 29 at the end of this month, meaning that I've been writing for the blog for almost one-sixth of my life. Oh my God, is that right? **double checks math** **has third-life(?) crisis**

Okay, where was I? Ah, yes, I've been writing for this blog for a long time and, despite all of Arsenal's comical injury history, I can't remember it ever being this bad at so many different positions. Usually, it's just all of the fullbacks, or something.

I feel the need to tell Arsenal that I've got some experience playing both right wing and right back in high school. Do you need me? It seems like you might need me. No, I never said I was talented at those positions...

There's some good news, though: Laurent Koscielny is expected to be fit to play. The same goes for Mikel Arteta. David Ospina is back in full training, though that hopefully won't matter here, and he's probably still short of full fitness. Tomas Rosicky (!) has been given the green light to return to training as well, after undergoing knee surgery in August.

Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be back on the other side of the international break. Unfortunately, it'll be December for Theo Walcott's return (damn it, Theo!) Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck should be back in the spring of 2637.

Predicted XI: Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Campbell, Alexis, Ozil, Giroud.

Tottenham Squad News

Out: Townsend (disciplinary,) Pritchard (ankle,) Chadli (ankle)
Doubts: Bentaleb (ankle,) Rose (knock,) N'Jie (hamstring)

19-year-old Dele Alli has already made 14 appearances for
Spurs this year, plus two caps for England.
Mauricio Pochettino named a strong side against Anderlecht in the Europa League last night, making only three changes from the side that beat Aston Villa on Monday night. Of course, Arsenal have not been able to rotate themselves due to their injuries, so both sides might be dealing with some weary legs on Sunday.

Danny Rose left Monday night's match on 82 minutes with a knock and was not risked on Thursday; he remains questionable. Nabil Bentaleb is a doubt with an ankle injury, while Clinton N'Jie is a doubt with a hamstring problem. Nacer Chadli, who scored in this fixture last year, is out until December with an ankle injury, while ankle surgery will keep Alex Pritchard out until February.

Andros Townsend was not in the squad last night for disciplinary reasons, after he was seen pushing and arguing with a fitness coach on Monday.

Ryan Mason started on Thursday, making his second appearance since suffering an injury while scoring the winner against Sunderland back in September. Heung-min Son returned from a foot injury as well, though from the bench.

Predicted XI: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Mason, Lamela, Alli, Eriksen, Kane.

Current Form

Mousa Dembele's late winner edged Spurs past Anderlecht
last night, after they lost in Belgium on matchday three.
Midweek form aside (and Arsenal have now, in fact, been outscored 8-1 in that atrocious black cup kit over the last two weeks,) the Gunners' league form remains tops in the division. Five wins from five means that Arsenal have picked up more points (15) over their last six matches (which is the generally agreed term for the form guide for reasons I've never understood) than any other club. A win would extend their winning streak to six, still their longest since an eight match run last spring.

However, Tottenham Hotspur are second in the league's form table, with 14 points over their last six matches. Spurs have not lost in the league since opening day at Old Trafford, winning five and drawing five. Over the past month or so, their results have been impressive: they eviscerated Manchester City 4-1 while they've also comfortably beaten the teams they are supposed to beat, like Bournemouth and Aston Villa.

Match Facts

Arsenal have already beaten Tottenham once this season, in the third round of the League Cup at White Hart Lane in September. The Flammening was upon us that night, as Mathieu Flamini scored twice to see the Gunners through (only for them to get bludgeoned by Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round.) A Calum Chambers own goal had Spurs level for about 22 minutes in the second half.

This match last season ended drawn, 1-1, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain canceled out Nacer Chadli's opener. That snapped Arsenal's three-match league winning streak against Spurs at the Emirates. Spurs' last win at the Emirates came in November of 2010, when Arsenal blew a 2-0 halftime lead to lose 3-2. At Highbury/the Emirates in the Premier League era, Arsenal have a record of 13 wins, two losses, and eight draws against Tottenham.

The Referee

Martin Atkinson is incensed as he books himself.
The referee is West Yorkshire-based Martin Atkinson, so you might as well mark this down as a loss right now. Arsenal's recent record with Atkinson is worse than their record with any other referee in the Select Group, including Mike Dean.

As of the end of last season, Arsenal had lost four of their last six with Atkinson in the middle, winning only against QPR (in which Olivier Giroud was, correctly, sent off) and Reading in the FA Cup Semi-Final (which required extra time, so over 90 minutes, it was a draw.) Last season, Atkinson took charge of Arsenal's losses at Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane.

Arsenal have already seen Atkinson once this season and that was a loss too, on opening day against West Ham. Tottenham have only seen Atkinson once as well, for their come-from-ahead 1-1 draw at Leicester City in August.

Atkinson has shown more yellow cards (70) than any other Select Group referee this season, but he's the only one who has yet to send anyone off.

Around the League
  • Saturday (early): Bournemouth v. Newcastle United; Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
  • Saturday: Leicester City v. Watford; King Power Stadium, Leicester
  • Saturday: Manchester United v. West Bromwich Albion; Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Saturday: Norwich City v. Swansea City; Carrow Road, Norwich
  • Saturday: Sunderland v. Southampton; Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Saturday: West Ham United v. Everton; Boleyn Ground, London
  • Saturday (late): Stoke City v. Chelsea; Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunday (early): Aston Villa v. Manchester City; Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Sunday (late): Liverpool v. Crystal Palace; Anfield, Liverpool
John Painting is a contributing writer to the Modern Gooner and a rechargeable battery. You can follow him on Twitter @zorrocat, but he must be plugged in again soon.