The stage is set and the eyes of the world shall be bestowed at White Hart Lane this Sunday. No other fixture in the English Premier League exerts a rivalry in the same breath as a North London Derby. When Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal collide on Match Week 28, form guide, league position, and all statistics are thrown out the window, as it's all about Bragging Rights. As always, this promises to be a mouth-watering clash, with both teams knowing the implications of a loss, and the prospect of a draw would not satisfy either of the managers.
Tottenham News: What a revelation Gareth Bale has been for Tottenham this season. After losing Jermain Defoe's (injury) and Emmanuel Adebayor (AFCON) last month, there was a cause of concern at the cub with no dedicated striker. However, Bale's recent outstanding run has seen him score 8 goals in 6 appearances and his dedication on the pitch has driven the team forward. Tottenham's sensational run has seen them, being only the second side (besides Manchester United) to remain unbeaten in the Premier League in 2013. Unlike last season where Spurs fell just short, this year Tottenham appear to be a different team altogether with grit and have the determination to finally end the 16 year wait to finish above their North London Rivals, Arsenal. Spurs might be boosted with the timely return of Defoe, who can provide the necessary fire power for the remainder of the season, starting with Arsenal
Possible starting XI:
Lloris, Vertonghen, Dawson, Caulker, Walker, Lennon, Parker, Holtby, Bale, Dembele, Defoe.
Arsenal News: After one year how much has changed for Arsenal. Before these two clubs met last year (Match week 26) Arsenal had just commenced a good (EPL) run with 2 wins and a draw but were knocked out of the FA cup and were humbled by AC Milan. Sounds familiar, as Arsenal have the exact same statistics this season, with the only difference of winning against Aston Villa before facing their North London neighbours. With Arsenal's league form being good (4wins & a draw) Manager, Arsene Wenger, knows all too well the importance of this encounter and how a victory can inspire Arsenal's aspirations for a top four finish. While Arsenal have Gibbs unavailable for the clash their major concern will be if they can get Bacary Sagna back in time considering Gareth Bale's playing position on the same wing.
Possible starting XI:
Szczesny, Sagna/Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud.
1. The North London Derby has taken place 173 times with Arsenal winning on 73 occasions to Tottenham's 53 and have shared the spoils 47 times.
2. Both clubs have not lost a single game in their last 5 fixtures. Arsenal have won 4 and drawn 1, while Tottenham have won 3 and drawn 2.
3. The last 10 EPL fixtures between the two clubs have been quite evenly matched: Arsenal 4, Tottenham 3, Draws 3.
4. Spurs v Arsenal is the highest scoring fixture in Premier League history
5. The Last 5 fixtures at White Heart Lane: Tottenham 2, Arsenal 1, Draws 2.
6. In the last 3 fixtures between the two sides, the teams which scored first lost the match.
7. Cards have been shown in abundance in these encounters. The last 3 fixtures have seen over 75 fouls with 13 yellow and 2 red cards (Both to Tottenham players, Parker and Adebayor).
8.The last two meeting between the North London Rivals have resulted in the same score line 5-2 (Arsenal victorious on both occasions).
9. Top scorers in the last 4 games between the two clubs: Theo Walcott 4 (Arsenal), Van Der Vaart 3 (Tottenham)
10. Spurs have yet to register a loss in 2013, a record only matched by Manchester United