Arsenal will have to spend a few extra hours in the ice baths this week as they have no time to rest ahead of facing Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday. Here is the match preview.
A performance of incredible grit and determination saw Arsenal leave Anfield with a goalless draw, a result that they arguably would have taken before a ball was kicked and with 11 men on the pitch.
It hands the advantage in the Gunners’ favour, who now know a one game shootout on home soil stands between them and another Wembley final. Chelsea will be their opponents should they overcome their severe squad issues.
Ahead of one of the biggest North London Derbies in recent memory, the latter point is the major concern.
Tottenham vs Arsenal Premier League preview: North London Derby with Arteta having just one central midfielder available for Sunday
Granit Xhaka’s third red card since Mikel Arteta took over, and the 13th in total during the Spaniard’s reign, has exacerbated an already worrying situation. With the Swiss now banned for anywhere between two and four matches, Albert Sambi Lokonga remains the only senior central midfielder available for selection.
As for the hosts, a dejected Antonio Conte, who already knew the task at hand, has looked crestfallen in recent weeks and cut a dejected figure on the touchline as they limped out of the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 second leg defeat.
Talk coming out of Spurs’ camp is that the players fear he could walk away from the job if he isn’t backed in the January transfer market. Like Arsenal, he’s not set to have any new recruits on board in time for Sunday’s clash.
Winning three of their previous six matches in all competitions, even those they’ve come out on top in they haven’t looked convincing. With the fight Arsenal showed against Manchester City and Liverpool, coupled with Spurs’ frailties without the ball, the Gunners should be confident.
They are down to the bare bones, though. Gabriel Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette were sharing one lung by the full-time whistle at Anfield, and the form book becomes irrelevant in this fixture where home advantage has proven a major decider in the outcome in recent years.
It can’t be understated how pivotal this match is. A mouth watering clash awaits.
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