NORTH LONDON DERBY PREVIEW: ARSENAL READY TO UNDERLINE TITLE CREDENTIALS

While I expect Arsenal to win the derby on Sunday, I’ve been very impressed with what Mauricio Pochettino has done at White Hart Lane.

After years of Tottenham not being able to compete with Arsenal in terms of Champions League qualification, the Argentine has taken them back into the top four. And made them formidable rivals to us

Pochettino has got the club striving for the very best. Their training facilities are excellent and when you have the best of everything around you, it creates a crispness in what you do on the pitch.

Arsenal remain the bigger club globally and although Tottenham have some way to go, they are doing better at catching up under pochettino than any other manager i can recall. You could say they are 10 years behind in terms of the development of their stadium but on the pitch there has been a meteoric rise under the likeable Argentine.

There will have been a nervousness among Arsenal fans about what he was achieving last season and it wouldn’t have gone down well at all if Tottenham had won the league.

The rivalry depends to some extent on where the teams are in the table but with both in the top four it is getting even bigge

back in the day, the derby seemed to go to another level as Sol Campbell arrived at Arsenal. Tottenham’s captain had joined their arch rivals. You looked into the crowd and you saw anger. As a player or fan for that matter it felt like you were going to war. You relish that atmosphere — you don’t take a backwards step.

Tottenham go into this game having scored just twice in their last five games and without a win in six in all competitions but it would be wrong of Arsenal to underestimate them — especially with the extra effort a derby brings out.

Dele Alli is an outstanding footballer with a great career ahead of him. He is probably Tottenham’s most dangerous player. Arsenal must also be wary of the threat Kyle Walker possesses down the right. Mousa Dembele going off injured against Bayer Leverkusen was a huge blow given his importance to the team. It looked like Victor Wanyama missed having the Belgian alongside him.

Arsenal are in such a strong position — they have won 12 of their last 15 games — and I’m backing them to win 2-0 on Sunday, with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal have made mockery of predictions past of mine…but i just cant see anything other than 3 stonking points for the Arsenal.

Team news

Arsenal

Five Arsenal players face fitness tests ahead of Sunday’s Premier League north London derby at home to rivals Tottenham.

Theo Walcott (hamstring) is likely to be in contention but doubts remain over Santi Cazorla (achilles), Nacho Monreal (muscular), Hector Bellerin (unspecified) and Kieran Gibbs, who suffered a shoulder injury in the Champions League win over Ludogorets on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Granit Xhaka is available having served a three-game domestic ban after being sent off against Swansea, while Lucas Perez (ankle), Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are definite absentees.

Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Debuchy, Jenkinson, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs, Monreal, Elneny, Coquelin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Akpom, Giroud.

Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino must decide whether to start Tottenham striker Harry Kane in the north London derby against Arsenal on Sunday.

Kane has been out for almost seven weeks with an ankle ligament injury, but he has recovered and will be named in the squad.

A late decision will be made on Mousa Dembele, who is struggling with a foot problem, but Erik Lamela (hip) and Toby Alderweireld (leg) are out. Moussa Sissoko remains suspended.

Provisional squad: Lloris, Vorm, Lopez, Rose, Vertonghen, Dier, Wimmer, Walker, Trippier, Wanyama, Winks, Eriksen, Alli, Dembele, Onomah, Nkoudou, Son, Janssen, Kane.

Kick-off: Sunday, Midday – BT Sport 1

Referee:

Mark Clattenburg

Managers:

Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)

Head-to-head league record:

Arsenal wins: 64

Draws 44:

Tottenham wins 50

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