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Tottenham v Arsenal - 2 For 2 in the North London Derby?

This Saturday's North London derby could go a long way to predicting what the atmosphere will be like for the remainder of the season at Emirates. Last weekend's convincing victory over Everton has somewhat revitalized the optimism around the club. The new signings were the stand-out players, and pretty much everything that could have went well, went well on-the-day.But this is Arsenal, and everything isn't always that simple. There have been "new dawns" before, and they have been proved to be false-starts. The demoralizing losses against Swansea and Bournemouth at the end of January showcased everything that was wrong with the current crop of Arsenal players - defensive frailties, lack of clinicality and unnecessary mistakes. Just one week later, the mood had changed completely with one result - and while the result at Everton showed fantastic promise, it would be naive to believe that all of Arsenal's problems have been solved; game's like this one against Tottenham will give a far better indication of Arsenal's current standings.This is a Champions League 6-pointer for Arsenal. Reckless losses have ensured that every point of the following 12 matches is essential, meaning this trip to Wembley could prove pivotal to next seasons inclusion in the Premier European competition, which obviously brings with it further repercussions in terms of finances and personnel that can be attracted to the club. It's a huge match.Tottenham currently sit in 5th position in the league on 49 points after 26 matches. Arsenal is 4 points behind them on 45 points, with out-of-form Chelsea in the Champions League positions on 50 points.Writing in the Guardian this week, journalist Jonathan Wilson compared Spurs of today to Arsenal of a decade ago. Excited about an impending move to a new stadium with a manager who’s not against upsetting the norms and playing with his own unique style, and with a crop of talented players in all positions across the field, it's perhaps the best Tottenham team of the Premier League era.Mauricio Pochettino will be under no illusions as to the significant importance of this game, a combination of making a statement to his side, earning valuable points and for the pride of North London. Murmurs have begun emerging about how important silverware - something Spurs have had very little luck with in recent times in any competition - will be in holding on to players such as harry Kane and Dele Alli, while also attracting new talent.There are two contrasting statistics that add to the intrigue surrounding this match - for one thing, Arsenal have garnered a reputation in recent years of being the kings of Wembley, having impressively won all 9 of the games they have played there since losing to Birmingham City in the League Cup final in 2011.The other stat, and the one that is perhaps more relevant, is that the Gunners have a very poor away record this season, sitting ninth in the league table based solely on away performances. Whether it is the big stage conquerors or the inept away performers that turn up, one of these stats will look a great deal better (and one a lot worse) come Saturday afternoon.At home, things have thankfully been different, and especially so against Tottenham - where Wenger's men produced perhaps there best performance against the season against Spurs, with a convincing 2-0 win.On that occasion, Wenger tactically outclassed Pochettino, but his side looks a lot different this time around - it was a trio of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette that ably decimated the Spurs 3-man defense, but with the Chilean at Manchester United now, and Lacazette out of favour, an altered approach will be required.This isn't to say the weapons aren't there - incidentally, new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a terrific record of scoring against Spurs (four in four), and his exquisite pace could cause problems. He'll no doubt be flanked by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose performance against Everton was perhaps worthy of earning him the man-of-the-match award - astounding concerning his teammate Aaron Ramsey registered a hat-trick against the Toffees.Here's an amazing statistic from Mkhitaryan's beginning to his career in North London. The Armenian has assisted three goals in 120 minutes of Premier League action for Arsenal so far; the same tally that Alexis Sanchez managed in 1507 minutes of action for the Gunners in 2017-18. Supporters will be hoping he can continue adding to this tally for a long time to come.In terms of injuries, Arsenal looks like they will be without Petr Cech. The experienced goalkeeper was forced off in the win over Everton with a calf problem and has not trained since as David Ospina prepares to deputise.Back in contention is Danny Welbeck, as is nacho Monreal, who left the field with illness during the Everton game, but he is believed to be fit to start. Santi Cazorla remains a long term absentee.Tottenham have a clean slate and are injury-free, with the potential of a first appearance for new signing Lucas Moura against Arsenal. The winger arrived from PSG at the end of the January window, and the pacy Brazilian has been working on his fitness since touching down, and is in-line to be part of a trial by fire for his side against their North London neighbours.The obvious biggest threat Spurs is Kane - the Englishman has scored six goals in six Premier League games against Arsenal, only failing to score in one those games - the reverse fixture this season. The Gunner's defenders will certainly have their work cut out for them keeping the in-form striker at bay.The pride of North London is on the line - and so much more, so Wenger and his side will be looking for 3 points to put them back in contention for attaining an automatic path to the Champions League against their old rivals.Arsenal make the trip across London to Wembley stadium to play Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday the 10th of January, with kick-off scheduled for 12.30pm.