Arsenal host Tottenham this afternoon as the two in-form sides meet in the first north London derby of the season. The rivals both sit in the top four going into the match at the Emirates Stadium, with neither tasting defeat yet in the Premier League.
The Gunners will be desperate to extend their long unbeaten run in this fixture on home soil, with Spurs last winning at the Emirates in the League back in 2010. Mikel Arteta’s side got their Champions League campaign up and running in midweek in emphatic fashion, and will be hoping Tottenham go toe-to-toe with them in the same way PSV did. David Raya keeps his place but Arsenal are without both Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard.
Spurs are full of confidence themselves after a flying start to life under Ange Postecoglou, who has lifted the mood at the club and brought a thrilling brand of football with him. Brennan Johnson is handed a full Tottenham debut, as Richarlison has to settle for a place on the bench again. Follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below, featuring expert analysis from Simon Collings and Dan Kilpatrick at the ground!
Spurs need new derby hero
One of the most encouraging aspects of Tottenham‘s fast start under Ange Postecoglou has been the absence of longing for Harry Kane, writes Dan Kilpatrick.
That might just change today when Spurs compete in a first north London derby without the England captain in nearly a decade.
Since his first-team breakthrough, Kane did not miss a single League meeting with Arsenal and came to dominate the fixture, tormenting the Gunners on the way to becoming the top scorer in derby history.
His absence this weekend further changes the dynamic in a contest that already promises to be dramatically different to last season’s one-sided affairs.
Dan Kilpatrick at the Emirates Stadium
Ange Postecoglou has prioritised speed by handing a first start to Brennan Johnson this afternoon.
The Australian told broadcasters that Dejan Kulusevski will start on the right as usual, which makes sense given Spurs lack a target man up top, but the Swede and Johnson could swap sides at some point.
The absence of Leandro Trossard is a plus for Spurs, easing the pressure on right-back Pedro Porro.
Postecologu’s pre-match thoughts
“A good performance is the key. You want to know how you are going to go against one of the best teams in the league. It is about our performance.
“I am looking forward to it. I have had a lot of firsts this season and this is another one. It’s why we do what we do.”
Simon Collings at the Emirates Stadium
It’s a huge blow for Arsenal having no Leandro Trossard, who has been excellent in the last two games.
But with plenty of games to come, you can see why Arteta isn’t taking any risks. Big chance for Nketiah to take his chance, although I suspect Nelson or Smith Rowe will get minutes late on too.
Crucial battle out wide?
If there is one weakness in Arsenal’s defence, it can be argued that it is Oleksandr Zinchenko. The Ukrainian is excellent on the ball, however at times he can be vulnerable defensively.
Tottenham will look to exploit that, with Dejan Kulusevski very good at working space. The Swede is able to move his opposite number inside or out, and Zinchenko will need to be wary about tucking into midfield.
Simon Collings at the Emirates Stadium
Postecoglou wants to see positive display
Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has insisted his side’s performance is more important than the result this afternoon, as he vowed not to abandon his ultra-attacking approach against Arsenal.
“We’re five games in, I understand that for many people, they will see this as our first real test and I get that,” Postecoglou said. “It is pretty easy, you could almost write two stories now: if we are successful, great we’re on the right track. If we’re not, we’ve still got a long way to go.
“For me what is going to be more important is how much of our football I see in a big game like this. How much of us can I see against a top opponent?
“That will give me the biggest indicator of where we’re at but ultimately we’ll still be six games into a new cycle, a new group of players, a very young group of players.”
Arteta discusses team selection
“Gabby [Jesus] has played in all positions up front. He feels comfortably, he’s very adaptable, he gives us different things. Let’s see how it goes today.
“A lot of headaches to make the lineup, that’s a good thing. That means there is quality in the squad. Always difficult decisions to make.”
Trossard absence explained…
Big calls from both managers!
Arsenal are indeed without Martinelli and Trossard this afternoon, real blow for them on that left wing. Jesus more than capable of filling in out wide though, with Nketiah coming in through the middle.
It’s otherwise pretty much as expected from the Gunners, though Arteta did have a big decision to make in midfield. He’s gone for Vieira over Havertz.
For Spurs, a first start for Johnson as he comes into the front-line. Will be interesting to see how that trio of Son, Johnson and Kulusevski line up.
Porro and Udogie the two full-backs once more – Postecoglou not backing down, as he promised!