North London Derby: Spurs Stake Unbeaten Run at Emirate


Arsenal will host Tottenham on Sunday for the first north London derby of the season as Mauricio Pochettino’s side are yet to lose a Premier League game but still sit three points and as many places behind their rivals on the table.

Both sides have been hard to beat in the Premier League and it should be a cracking contest between two good footballing sides. Arsenal are in supreme form right now and have been unstoppable since their opening day defeat against Liverpool. They have been unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games and have won seven of those.

Arsene Wenger’s men demolished Chelsea at home earlier this season and will be looking to do the same to Spurs. Furthermore, they have an impressive home record against Spurs and will be heading into this game with a lot of confidence.

However, Spurs are going through a rough patch right now. Although they are just three points behind bitter rivals, they have failed to win any of their last six matches in all competitions, which will put a lot of pressure on Pochettino who knows that his side cannot afford a defeat from Arsenal.

The away side have not won any of their last six visits to Emirates and on current form, that run is likely to continue.

Meanwhile, Spurs are hoping talisman Harry Kane – out since the win against Sunderland in September will return to action while Toby Alderweireld may also step back into the fray following his time on the sidelines.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are unbeaten in all competitions since the first day of the season and have only failed to win one of their last 10 games.

Although Spurs have been pretty tight at the back this season, conceding few goals, that impressive defensive record will be subjected to its toughest test at the weekend against north London rivals Arsenal. Wenger’s side are scoring freely and will present a formidable attacking threat, led by Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

Interestingly, Aaron Ramsey, who completed his return from injury as Arsenal beat Ludogorets to advance into the last 16 of the Champions League has Tottenham in his sights.

 “Of course I’m ready,” Ramsey said when asked if he was targeting a start against Spurs.“I wouldn’t be out there starting last night if I wasn’t ready. It was great for me. Obviously I have been out for a couple of months now and it was nice to be out there starting again and to get in 70-odd minutes, that has put me in good shape going into the weekend and hopefully I can stay fit.”

 “They have been a tough challenge in the past couple of seasons. It is a derby game so we know what we are up against and what to expect. They are unbeaten in the league so far this season and it is going to be up to us to try and break them down. We are at home and I’m sure going into that game we will be full of confidence, we can get a win,” Ramsey said.

Today, Chelsea host Everton and the Blues will be looking to extend their fine run of form with another win here. The home side have won their last four league games in a row and have kept a clean sheet in all of them. Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 has worked very well so far and the Stamford Bridge outfit have managed to make themselves very hard to beat.

An added boost for the home side is that Conte will have a fully fit squad to choose from. Even the likes of Marco van Ginkel and Kurt Zouma have stepped up their return to first team action after featuring for the U23s.

Everton will have a considerable challenge ahead of them. The Toffees have struggled a bit lately and Ronald Koeman’s men secured their first win in four league games during their last outing. Considering Chelsea’s impressive home form against them, Everton will be in for a tough time.

Furthermore, the away side will be without two of their key players in Idrissa Gueye and James McCarthy. Both players are integral to Koeman’s defensive setup and their absence will expose the Everton defenders here.

After beating the ‘best team in the world’, playing lowly Middlesbrough on a November afternoon in the north of England should bring Premier League leaders Manchester City nicely back to earth.

Today’s home game may look like three easy, if unglamorous, points after City’s 3-1 Champions League heroics against Barcelona but midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is warning against complacency.

Tuesday’s stunning victory followed a 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion in the league last weekend, a result that ended a sequence of six matches without a win and Pep Guardiola’s worst run as a manager.

“Obviously everyone will talk about it because it was Barcelona, but if you lose at the weekend it doesn’t matter (what happened in the Champions League),” De Bruyne told reporters. “We have to do the same as we did in these two games and try to win against Middlesbrough to go into the international break with a good series and try to maintain top spot in the league,” added the inspirational Belgian midfielder.

“It is very difficult. Everybody will give everything they have got against us. We have to do what we know how to do. The game against Middlesbrough is going to be another tough test.” While City are top of the table from Arsenal and Liverpool on goal difference, Aitor Karanka’s promoted side are 15th and would be happy to beat the odds and take a point.

Middlesbrough held Arsenal to a goalless draw at the Emirates in October, with former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes in fine form to keep the clean sheet, and their defence is the seventh tightest in the top flight.

If it is eight years since Sven Goran Eriksson’s City lost 8-1 at the Riverside, home fans will have fresher memories of ‘Boro’s January 2015 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win at the Etihad while the visitors were still in the second tier.

The game will mark a return to old haunts for former City forward Alvaro Negredo, who joined Middlesbrough from Valencia on loan in July, but the visitors are without suspended Uruguayan playmaker Gaston Ramirez.