Big Match Focus: Tottenham v Arsenal

Local bragging rights and designs on a top-four place will both be at stake when Arsenal head to Wembley to take on rival Tottenham.

Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino

Arsene Wenger's men ran out 2-0 winners against Mauricio Pochettino managed Tottenham Hotspur in the reverse fixture.   -  Getty Images

Tottenham and Arsenal head into Saturday's north London derby at Wembley with a spring in their step.

Arsene Wenger unleashed new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to devastating effect as Aaron Ramsey's hat-trick helped to put Everton to the sword in a 5-1 victory last weekend.

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Spurs found themselves gripped in an Anfield thriller against Liverpool, with Harry Kane netting his 100th Premier League goal at the second time of asking from the penalty spot to secure a 2-2 draw.

The bigger picture means there is little room for error on the part of either club, with Tottenham fifth and Arsenal sixth. Defeat for Wenger's men would certainly make the route back to the Champions League via a top-four finish appear a particularly tall order.

GUNNING GOING FOR A DOUBLE

The Gunners finished below their neighbours for the first time in the Premier League era last season, meaning there was a considerable restorative element attached to November's 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium, where first-half goals from Shkodran Mustafi and the now-departed Alexis Sanchez proved too much for Tottenham to overturn.

As such, Arsenal is seeking its fourth Premier League double over Spurs and its first since 2013-14. Defeat last time out was Tottenham's first in the past seven top-flight north London showdowns.

Harry Kane Tottenham vs Liverpool

Harry Kane is the current Premier League top scorer in the 2017-18 season with 22 goals.   -  Getty Images

 

Much has been made of Arsenal's fine record at the new Wembley since Tottenham took up temporary residence there.

Since losing the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City at the national stadium, Wenger's men are on a nine-match winning streak – even if penalties were required to see off Wigan Athletic in the 2014 FA Cup semifinal and Chelsea in this season's Community shield.

FORM GUIDE

Selling their most feared attacker has resulted in Arsenal chalking up emphatic home wins over Crystal Palace and Everton, while they also came from behind to defeat Chelsea and claim a place in the EFL Cup final.

 

Away from home there is a different picture painted. They are winless in five games across all competitions outside the confines of Emirates Stadium, with their past two Premier League assignments on the road ending in defeats to Bournemouth and Swansea City.

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Last week's 2-0 win against Manchester United began a mouth-watering run of games in fine fashion for Tottenham, while their previous home game saw them thrash Everton 4-0.

PLAYER HEAD-TO-HEAD (Kane vs Aubameyang)

Kane's status as the leading striker in north London has been more-or-less undisputed for some time now, but Arsenal's record signing Aubameyang has arrived with a phenomenal goalscoring record.

The former Borussia Dortmund favourite boasts 140 goals across Europe's five big leagues and 38 assists over the course of 265 games means he averages a goal involvement every 115.2 minutes.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window.   -  AFP

 

Kane ducks under this, with his Premier League century and 13 assists meaning a goal involvement every 99.6 minutes, although he has played 124 fewer top-flight games.

Despite the flux surrounding his future this season, Aubameyang's 14 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances this season meant one every 107.6 minutes. Throw in his three assists and the 28-year-old's 88.6 minutes per goal involvement actually betters Kane's 93 minutes (22 goals and one assist in 25 appearances).

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HISTORY SAYS…

Arsenal won its previous Wembley meeting against Spurs back in 1993, when Tony Adams scored the only goal in an FA Cup semifinal.

The sides' Charity Shield meeting in August 1991 ended goalless, while Tottenham was semifinal winner earlier that year when a spectacular Paul Gascoigne free-kick and a Gary Lineker brace saw off Arsenal 3-1.

Tottenham has dropped 37 points from leading positions in Premier League games versus Arsenal – more than any team has against another in the competition's history.

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