Tottenham vs Arsenal: Considerations 1

What an opportunity for Arsenal. With local derbies usually come a set of cliches: they’re ‘levelers’, ‘form goes out the window’ and ‘they’re anyone’s games’.

Not on Sunday it won’t be, this is Arsenal’s game to lose.

Tottenham are a non-side at the moment, destabilised to the point of parody by their manager’s naivety, the questionable commitment of certain members of the first-team, and the growing animosity within a fan-base who grow increasingly hostile towards their club with each passing week.

Not only could Arsene Wenger’s side stick the knife into their local rival this weekend, but they could generate some much needed momentum for their run-in. The visit to Bayern Munich mid-week was ultimately unsuccessful, but it did provide a platform upon which the rest of Arsenal’s season can be built - they were compact and disciplined, and earned an admirable draw with the best side in Europe.

Probable Arsenal side.

Thomas Vermaelen, Mesut Ozil, and Aaron Ramsey are all unavailable, whilst Kieran Gibbs remains doubtful - expect a similar formation to the one which started in the Allianz Arena, although perhaps with a Mathieu Flamini partnering Mikel Arteta in a more conservative midfield and with Lukas Podolski sacrificed to accommodate Santi Cazorla’s move to the left-hand side and Tomas Rosicky’s selection on the right.

For Tottenham, Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches, Michael Dawson, and Etienne Capoue are all definitely out, whilst Mousa Dembele, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Kyle Walker are all doubtful - Tim Sherwood’s selection criteria is less about ‘options’, and more about fielding eleven players who are fully-fit and who can be trusted to apply themselves to a standard worthy of the occasion. Given what we’ve seen recently from this side, there are very few who tick both of those boxes.

Probable Tottenham side.

Aaron Lennon has been so irrelevant lately, that he might as well have spent the season in the witness protection program - Andros Townsend is owed a chance to start and establish his credentials ahead of the World Cup. Gylfi Sigurdsson would provide the side with some blue-collared wing-play against an opponent who are likely to exert a lot of pressure on that side of the pitch, and he’s preferred to Nacer Chadli.

Yes, strange things can happen in derby games, but there is nothing about the way Tottenham have played recently - or against any ‘good’ side under Tim Sherwood’s management - that suggests that they have either the belief or the cohesion to cause Wenger’s team any problems. They were handled comfortably at The Emirates in the league, comprehensively out-played at the same stadium in The FA Cup, and beyond maybe twenty or thirty minutes of adrenaline-fueled enthusiasm, you would expect something very similar at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

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