Arsenal v Tottenham: Preview, Kick-off, TV, Team News


Tottenham travel to the Emirates this evening for the north London derby against Arsenal. With their past record and current form Spurs will not be confident of making an impression in this match.

Saturday, 27th September, 2014
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
Kick-off: 5.30pm (UK time)
Television: Sky Sports 1 HD

Last Season

Just over a year ago Spurs, with their new summer signings, arrived at the Emirates confident of a positive result, having won their opening 4 games. On the day, however, the team failed to respond and Arsenal had a comfortable single goal victory.

Having talked of playing in other important derby matches, Spurs new players failed to respond to the intensity of the north London derby. The first signs of concerns that were to be evident throughout 2013-14 surfaced that day and even with two changes of manager, they don’t yet appear to have been resolved.


Arsenal are in 4th place with 9 points from the opening 5 matches. They opened the season with a last minute home win over managerless Crystal Palace, coming back from a goal down. They also came from behind in a  2 – 2 draw with Manchester City. They scored 2 goals in 11 minutes in the second half to go ahead but were pulled back with a City equaliser 7 minutes from time.

Also at the Emirates they won 1 – 0 in the Champions League against Tottenham’s next opponents – Besiktas, having drawn 0 – 0 in Turkey in the first leg. Last Tuesday they lost 1 – 2 to Southampton to go out of the Capital One Cup.

Away from home Arsenal drew their first two Premier League matches, 2 – 2 at Evertonl and 1 – 1 at Leicester City. Last weekend they won 3 – 0 at Aston Villa, scoring 3 goals in 4 minutes late in the first half. In their first group stage match in the Champions League Arsenal lost 0 – 2 against Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Alexis Sanchez, signed from Barcelona in the summer for £35m, is their leading scorer with 4 goals. Aaron Ramsey has 3 goals while Olivier Giroud who scored the winning goal last season is on 2. Danny Welbeck who signed at the end of the transfer window scored his first goal for Arsenal at Villa Park last week and with Mesut Ozil returning to form, Arsenal are formidable opponents.

Tottenham Hotspur

Last weekend’s defeat by West Brom was a blow to Tottenham’s ambitions. A win would have taken Spurs to 3rd and given Mauricio Pochettino a boost ahead of this game. The performance, however, was extremely disappointing and despite the midweek Cup win over Nottingham Forest, Spurs play for over an hour at White Hart Lane was equally disappointing.

Pochettino has a number of big decisions to make as Spurs look to improve on their recent record at the Emirates. Since their second half comeback win in November 2010, Spurs have lost all three league games plus last season’s FA Cup defeat. Of priority for Pochettino will be to see a positive response from his players following last week’s result. In recent games the players have failed to produce the style of play that the manager spoke of in the build up to the season.

Team News

Mauricio Pochettino made 11 changes to the team for the match against Forest so he has no injury problems apart from the long-term absence of Kyle Walker. Most of the players who sat out the midweek game will return with the possibility of a minor changes in personnel.

  • Of interest will be to see if Jan Vertonghen returns in central defence in place of Vlad Chiriches.
  • Who will play at right-back? Eric Dier who is not totally comfortable playing out of position or the more experienced Kyle Naughton who understands the role.
  • In midfield who will partner Etienne Capoue? Will Mousa Dembele who disappointed last week having played well at Sunderland be in the team or could Ryan Mason be given his chance after an impressive late display in midweek?

More from Tottenham News

Arsenal have a number of players returning after injury – Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Flamini. They will be without Giroud, Theo Walcott and Mathieu Debuchy.

From a Tottenham perspective, this is another opportunity to right the wrongs of last season against the top-4 teams. They failed in their first attempt against Liverpool being very tentative and uncertain in their approach. Pochettino spoke of playing and managing in big derby matches as the players did last season. His comments on the importance of the match were reported in the The Telegraph,

"It’s impossible that it’s just another game. In this kind of game, you need to be brave to get the victory. I know the feeling of our supporters and we need to relay this feeling on the pitch. Not only outside but inside the pitch and to play with aggression. It’s our responsibility to fight in every ball. Our supporters expect that of us."

Nothing, however, seems to prepare new players for this game. Have the Spurs players the desire, drive and motivation that their manager has spoken of so that they can make it a contest and avoid the embarrassing results which have occurred too frequently in the past year.

Tottenham fans will not be looking forward to this game with confidence. The best that many supporters will be hoping for will be to avoid embarrassment. Anything more than that will be a bonus in the current climate at White Hart Lane.