Arsenal are set to tackle cross-town rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this weekend. The north London derby has been a fairly even contest over the past five years and both clubs will surely strive to secure three points on Sunday on the back of losing their respective matches in Gameweek 3.
Two key battles to watch out for in the derby
Nicolas Pepe vs Danny Rose
Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe was handed with his maiden league start against Liverpool last weekend and he produced an impressive showing where he managed seven take-ons
– the most by any player in the game.
Still, the 24-year-old was disappointing with the end product and he could not find the net despite being handed with multiple attempts to shoot on goal including a one-on-one situation with Reds goalkeeper Adrian.
As such, he should go into the derby with the urge to prove himself and Danny Rose in the Spurs ranks will need to keep a close guard on the Ivorian to limit any potential threat from the left side of the defence.
Rose was criticised during the shock 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United where he did not provide sufficient cover to centre-back Davidson Sanchez in the lead-up to Joelinton’s winner for the Magpies.
The experienced left-back surely needs to buckle up and provide a much-improved performance against a Gunners team, who are generally at their best in front of their home supporters.
Arsenal’s central defence vs Harry Kane
In the last north London derby, Shkodran Mustafi was adjudged to have fouled Harry Kane in the box and that permitted the England international to score from the spot in a 1-1
draw at the Wembley Stadium.
The striker now has nine goals from nine league appearances
against the Gunners and he will undoubtedly be the main man for Spurs, if they are to get something from the weekend encounter.
After a brace in the opening gameweek, Kane has had two quiet games against Manchester City and Newcastle United respectively, but he should fancy the chances against a Gunners backline, which crumbled under the pressure from Liverpool last weekend.
Summer signing David Luiz was culpable for a couple of errors during the 3-1 loss to the Reds and the Brazilian surely needs to step up with Kane likely to take advantage of any space between the central defence pairing of him and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Practically, Sokratis should be tasked with the job of handling the physical battle with Kane but Luiz will need to complement with better composure than the previous weekend where he conceded a needless penalty while being finding himself out of position in key situations.