Big Match Focus: Arsenal takes on Tottenham in north London derby

The typically fierce north London derby could provide a springboard for Arsenal's season, or leave fan anger worse than ever.

Harry Kane and Alexandre Lacazette will be the key players to watch out for when Tottenham and Arsenal clash on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Premier League football returns with a bang following the international break on Saturday, as Arsenal hosts Tottenham in the first north London derby of the season.

Arsene Wenger will be hoping that time away from club matters will have done his team some good, as it went into the internationals on the back of two disappointing results.

Red Star Belgrade left the Emirates Stadium with a 0-0 draw in the Europa League, before a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City left it trailing the Manchester City by 12 points.

Contrast that to Spurs, which swept aside the mighty Real Madrid in a 3-1 win and then beat Crystal Palace 1-0, keeping itself tied on 23 points with Manchester United.

Mauricio Pochettino's side has looked considerably more likely to offer a threat at home and abroad than the Gunners, though it will not be lost on Wenger that a victory will move Arsenal within a point of Spurs, potentially kick-starting its season domestically.

FORM GUIDE

There will be no excusing dropped points from the perspective of Arsenal fans, who will be fully expecting a win regardless of the two sides' respective form.

Nevertheless, Arsenal has not looked particularly convincing in recent weeks, having emerged victorious at the end of 90 minutes in just three of its last seven matches across all competitions.

It has, however, won each of its last 10 home matches in the league, its longest run since November 2005 when it got to 13.

READ: Kane will be fit to face Arsenal, reveals Pochettino

But, Arsenal be warned; Spurs does travel well and have been triumphant in six of its last seven on the road in the top flight, scoring 25 goals in that period.

In fact, no team has won away more times than Pochettino's men in 2017. Spur, Manchester United and Chelsea all have 10 victories.

PLAYER HEAD-TO-HEAD (Harry Kane v Alexandre Lacazette)

Whichever way the match goes, Harry Kane and Alexandre Lacazette are the most likely players on either side to land the decisive blow.

Lacazette heads into the game having impressed on international duty, scoring two goals in France's 2-2 draw with Germany, while Kane sat out England's friendlies due to a knock.

Domestically Kane is the one standing out at the moment, scoring eight to Lacazette's six and netting every 109 minutes, compared to the Frenchman's 125 minutes.

Tottenham star Harry Kane   -  Getty Images

 

It is also worth pointing out that Kane is a man for the big games; he has six goals in five matches against Arsenal, averaging one every 72 minutes.

But the Arsenal man is not to be underestimated. His conversion rate of 27.3 per cent is more than twice as good as Kane's (13.6%), suggesting that the Gunners could do with crafting more opportunities for him.

MANAGER HEAD-TO-HEAD (Arsene Wenger v Mauricio Pochettino)

Having lasted for so long as Arsenal manager, there will not be many coaches who come out on top in a head-to-head comparison with the Frenchman. But Pochettino is one of those few.

The pair have gone head-to-head eight times in the Premier League since Pochettino took over at Southampton in January 2013 and the Argentinian edges things slightly, winning two games as opposed to Wenger's one.

ALSO READ: Wenger hints at early Arsenal exit

Pochettino also averages 1.38 points per game against Wenger, who has accumulated a total of eight points from eight matches.

Having won just once against Pochettino, Wenger's win percentage stands at just 13%. There is only one manager he has a poorer record against; Jose Mourinho (8% win rate).

HISTORY SUGGESTS

Although Pochettino may have a decent record against Arsenal and Wenger, Spurs as a club does not when it comes to matches at Highbury or the Emirates Stadium.

Spurs has won on just two of its last 32 trips to Arsenal, with its last triumph coming back in November 2010.

ALSO READ: I wouldn't change Tottenham job for any position, says Pochettino

It has dropped more points from winning positions (37) in the Premier League against Arsenal than it has versus any other team.

But Spurs' league-high 37 goals away from home in 2017 should certainly provide them with a little confidence, particularly with in-form Kane set to feature.

Of its 50 Premier League meetings before Saturday, Arsenal has 18 wins to Spurs' 11.

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