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Tottenham v Arsenal - The North London Derby is here!

It’s here, the North London Derby is upon us, and there is more than bragging rights at stake.Of course, we all want to be able to saunter into work with a smug smile directed at our spurs supporting colleagues, but the repercussions of a loss could be hugely damaging for both sides.Of the two sides, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are in a healthier position than us. They currently sit in fifth spot, a mere point from the coveted Champions League places. a win could see them not only encroach on the top4, but also stretch the gap between them and us to a large seven points.Then, we have our situation. Thanks to intermittent, and sometimes woeful, form on our part, we are looking at the Champions League spots from afar. We know that we can barely afford to drop any points, so a win at Wembley is dearly needed, and could push us right back into contention, a solitary point behind our hated rivals.It was a pleasant surprise when we defeated them at The Emirates earlier in the season. It was one of the few matches this season when we have clicked, and our 2-0 win was entirely deserved. Another positive to look upon is that our squad is buoyed by the departure of a negative influence and the arrival of genuine quality.There have been many rumours about the atmosphere in the dressing room when the Chilean was at Arsenal, and more have surfaced about his constant demands for possession. Our play will surely benefit from the inhibitions placed on tactics, and new arrivals Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan seem to have taken to it.Our display in our last game saw both star in the 5-1 win, and Aaron Ramsey bagged a hat-trick. The Welshman’s performance gives Arsene Wenger a real selection headache too. Does the Welshman start alongside Jack Wilshere, who missed out in our last game? If so, does Granit Xhaka play in the DM role and possibly open an aperture for spurs to exploit?Mohamed Elneny has also been used recently as the defensive shield, and another layer of cover may well be needed, with the runs of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen worthy of monitoring.Also, does Lacazette regain a place in the side? The Frenchman certainly makes our side stronger, but we would need a tactic change for this to happen, and Wenger is famously loath to change after a win, so Lacazette could be starting from the bench. We have an added advantage that we’ll be a little more rested than spurs. Their Wednesday night exploits in their FA Cup replay win over Newport County featured a fairly strong side, Victor Wanyama, Danny Rose, Serge Aurier, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Winks, Erik Lamela, Son Heung-Min and Fernando Llorente were all starters, and this may come into play in the later minutes of the game.Petr Cech was thought to be doubtful for this fixture but the latest news suggests that he will have recovered in time to take the gloves instead of David Ospina. Nacho Monreal also succumbed to injury in our last game, but the integral Spaniard will also make the side, as well as Danny Welbeck, who could be a useful addition from the bench.This match is a big one, and has the ability to buoy a side for their upcoming games, or sap any confidence that may have been cultivated prior. This is the last game we have in the Premier League until the 1st March, so we can afford to go all out. Our win earlier in the season showed that we need our press to be tight and our attack needs to be rapid. If we can check those boxes for the majority of this game, then we have a great chance to win the NLD.Predicted lineup - Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang.Predicted scoreline - 2-1 to The Arsenal. #UTA