Arsenal will travel to White Hart Lane for a mouth-watering north London derby with Lucas Perez eyeing a return even as Shkodran Mustafi and David Ospina remain injured
The final North London derby of this season will be a tantalizing affair between Arsenal and Tottenham – two teams with rather contrasting fortunes so far. While Tottenham have delivered splendid performances and will come into this game after eight consecutive Premier League victories, Arsenal have been struggling ever since the season started.
This derby will be a do-or-die situation for both clubs since Spurs’ title hopes can diminish if they lose this one, and Arsenal’s Champions League qualification dreams can die if they end up being the losing side. It will also mark Arsene Wenger’s 50th derby game in charge of the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger seemed positive during the pre-match conference, as he said, “We are in a position where we can deliver something special. There are few times in the season where you can turn up and do that. So I think that’s the moment for us to deliver it.”
“I’ve got it more than ever because there is a lot at stake on Sunday, for us and for them (Tottenham Hotspur) as well,” the manager told. “We know we need to go on a run and that game is always special for the fans.”
As far as the team is concerned, Lucas Perez has returned to training and he might feature in the derby after being sidelined due to a thigh injury. Shkodran Mustafi, Santi Cazorla and David Ospina remain injured and will not play in this game. Currently, Arsenal have no suspensions, and it will be interesting to see if Wenger plays with his newly-devised back three or if he reverts to his usual tactics.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, and is expected to return in the derby as well.
If Wenger plays the 3-4-2-1 formation, then he will bring Rob Holding into the team with Laurent Koscielny.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey is expected to partner Granit Xhaka in the central midfield area, and the crucial choice over whether Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud or Alexis Sanchez will lead the line, is likely to be a make-or-break decision for Wenger.
Tottenham, on the other hand, lost out on the title to Leicester City last season, and Pochettino will be working hard towards ensuring that does not repeat. They are four points behind league leaders Chelsea, but will be coming in confident to this game after their recent run of eight consecutive Premier League wins.
Mousa Dembele will sit this one out due to his ankle injury, while Danny Rose remains doubtful after his recent return following a knee injury. Erik Lamela and Harry Winks will both remain unavailable, but goalkeeper Michel Vorm is might feature as he has recovered from his previous injury.