The first north London derby of the season is at the Emirates and Tottenham will have revenge on their minds. New manager Andre Villas-Boas leads Spurs to face an Arsenal side in a touch of disarray, following two consecutive draws and a defeat. Arsene Wenger has not won a league game since the 1-0 home win over QPR on 27 October and has already lost league games to Chelsea and Manchester United this season, as he looks to deliver on the promise of a title challenge.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 12.45pm GMT and live coverage starts at 12noon GMT on Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 2 HD and Sky 3D. Live radio commentary is available on BBC Radio 5 live and registered Arsenal.com members can follow the match live via Arsenal Player.
Wenger has had a difficult few weeks, fraught particularly with defensive problems. The Gunners should have won their last two games - a Champions League fixture at Schalke 04 and a Premier League derby against Fulham. Unfortunately, each time the opposition was allowed to come back from losing positions - the Germans and the Cottagers fought back from 0-2 down. The result has been a loss of confidence for the squad's defenders, led by the normally reliable Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen.
The only bright point in recent games is the form of French striker Olivier Giroud. Signed from Ligue 1 champions Montpellier, the 25-year-old forward was meant to replace last season's 30-goal hero Robin van Persie. And now, following a tepid start to his Premier League career, Giroud seems to be finding his goal scoring boots; he scored twice against Fulham and has four strikes in his last four games for the club.
A win for the Gunners would go a long way towards restoring the squad's confidence levels and, importantly, serve as a platform to kick-start a season that is already threatening to end in disappointment. From a points perspective, three points against AVB and Spurs should propel Arsenal, if only temporarily, into sixth place and above West Ham United, West Brom, Everton and Spurs themselves.
Meanwhile, AVB will make the short trip to the Emirates with not very pleasant memories from his last match in the stadium - when he was in charge of Chelsea and saw the Blues stutter to a 5-3 defeat, courtesy of a brilliant hat-trick from van Persie. The good news for the Portuguese is, of course, the Dutch striker has since moved to Old Trafford.
The bad news for the White Hart Lane club is that they are in as poor a run of form as their hosts for this game; Spurs have not won a Premier League game since the 1-2 win at St Mary's in late October. They did win a Europa League group stage game, at home, in the middle of last week, beating Slovenian side NK Maribor 3-1. England international Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick in that game and he, along with ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor will need to be sharp if Tottenham are to take all three points.
Spurs come into this game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to the champions Manchester City, at the Etihad, in a match they will feel they should have at least drawn. Youngster Steven Caulker gave them the lead in the first half but goals from Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, in the last half hour, sealed a City win.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D L W W
- Last Match: Arsenal 3 - 3 Fulham
- Last Five Matches (all competitions, most recent first): L W L L W
- Last Match: Manchester City 2 - 1 Tottenham
The Gunners welcome England midfielder Jack Wilshere after his suspension for a red card. The 20-year-old is expected to go straight back into the starting line-up. Meanwhile, the Spanish duo of Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla will face a late fitness test for this game but should make be passed to play. If they do make it, Wenger will be a very relieved manager. The experience and technical ability the two Spaniards bring to Arsenal's game cannot be underestimated. Meanwhile, Giroud returned from France's midweek friendly against Italy with a hamstring pull but he too is expected to be cleared to play.
The best piece of news for Arsenal fans is that Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is finally set to start, after recovering from his injury. England winger Theo Walcott, who picked up a knock in the last game against Fulham, is also likely to start.
Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and France midfielder Abou Diaby are all definitely unavailable. However, England wing-back Kieran Gibbs may just be able to play this game, depending on what the club doctors say. In addition, England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky are also ready to play.
Expect Szczesny to have a shield of Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Vermaelen and maybe youngster Carl Jenkinson ahead of him; France's Laurent Koscielny is an option but the 20-year-old Jenkinson has shown good form this season.
Arteta and Cazorla, if fit, will man the midfield, with Jack Wilshere alongside. This is probably the best three-man midfield Wenger can deploy, so it should be interesting to see how the Englishman fits in with the two Spaniards.
Up front, Walcott, German international Lukas Podolski and Giroud will lead the attack. If Giroud is unable to play, or start this game, expect Podolski to move in to the centre (or maybe Walcott, both players have been asking for central roles) with Cazorla moving out wide and maybe Oxlade-Chamberlain making his comeback.
Probable Line-Up: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Jenkinson; Arteta, Wilshire, Cazorla; Walcott, Podolski, Giroud
Meanwhile, Spurs have quite a few injury concerns ahead of this game. The biggest blow, undoubtedly, is the knocks the English trio of Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker picked up. However, all three seem to be recovering well and may be passed fit to play. If that does happen, then AVB's headaches will be significantly reduced.
The former Chelsea boss still has to contend with the loss of summer signing Moussa Dembele. The Belgian midfielder has a hip injury and no return date has been set. In addition, long-term injuries mean England midfielder Scott Parker, Cameroon wing back Benoit Assou-Ekotto and France midfielder Younes Kaboul all remain sidelined.
The ongoing wrangle over summer signing Hugo Lloris' place and role in the first team shows no sign of abating, with the French international goalkeeper admitting he may force matters in the January transfer window to get playing time. Nevertheless, 41-year-old American Brad Friedel is likely to retain the No 1 spot for this match. Ex-Gunner William Gallas will marshal the back line, with Belgian Jan Vertonghen, youngster Caulker and, maybe, Walker for company.
AVB will probably deploy a strong midfield, to try and establish early control over the game and stop Arsenal from playing their passing game or getting into a rhythm. Tom Huddlestone was in good form in the game against City and will look to continue in a similar vein in this game. Brazilian Sandro will partner him in the centre of the park, with Lennon, Clint Dempsey and Bale providing pace, width and directness to Spurs' counter-attacking style. Togo international Emmanuel Adebayor could be an interesting option as the lone striker, even if Defoe is fit. The African forward, also a former Arsenal player, is an adept aerial target man and his physical strength may be enough to unsettle an already poor Arsenal defence.
Probable Line-Up: Friedel; Walker, Caulker, Gallas, Vertonghen; Lennon, Sandro, Huddleston, Bale; Dempsey; Adebayor
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