Derby weekend is here as Arsenal cross north London to face a high-flying Tottenham.
For the first time since September 2019, fans will be present to witness a North London Derby. As their stadium is situated in a tier two area, 2,000 fans will be able to attend Arsenal vs Tottenham on Sunday.
Unfortunately, each and every one of those fans will be supporting Spurs on Sunday. No away fans will be present which means Tottenham’s home advantage will be felt particularly strongly.
On the surface, this seems a recipe for disaster for Arsenal. Spurs, top of the league, are enjoying a strong run of form under José Mourinho. In contrast, Mikel Arteta is dealing with the rockiest patch of his Arsenal tenure thus far.
A passive approach to the game is to be expected for Arsenal fans. A reversion to the three at the back system which served Arsenal well defensively at the back of last season is likely.
In terms of absentees, Nicoles Pépé will serve the second game of three-match ban on Sunday while David Luiz is out after sustaining a gruesome head cut against Wolves last week.
Here is my predicted lineup.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Bernd Leno (GK) – Bernd Leno will doubtlessly regain his starting goalkeeping spot for the weekend’s game after being rested for our 4-1 win over Rapid Vienna.
Rob Holding (CB) – After a few shaky performances, Rob Holding will be look to restore his promising start-of-the-season form. Gets the nod over other options for his tendency to perform well in big games.
Gabriel Magalhaes (CB) – The imperious Brazilian will get his first taste of north London derby tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to see how he approaches an in-form Harry Kane.
Kieran Tierney (CB) – Scottish full-back Kieran Tierney hasn’t quite looked himself in recent weeks but will undoubtedly give it his all in tomorrow’s game. The man is made for local derbies.