The two rivals from the capital will go head-to-head at Wembley on Saturday in a clash that has far more than bragging rights riding on it
The preparation is over, the players are ready, the stage is set. Arsenal will travel across the capital to Wembley on Saturday afternoon to take on arch rivals Tottenham and write another chapter in the history of the north London derby.
While the narrative is firmly focused on the importance of the fixture to both sets of fans, it will also have a significant say on which of the two clubs secures a place in Europe next season. Mauricio Pochettino’s men currently hold fifth position in the Premier League table, four points ahead of the Gunners in sixth.
The very nature of the game, though, offers a selection of additional talking points, sub-plots and various individual battles which will determine the outcome of the clash.
The latter became the first Arsenal player to record three assists in a Premier League game since Santi Cazorla vs Wigan in May 2013, during the Gunners’ 5-1 victory over Everton last time out – his first start for his new club.
Mkhitaryan’s Seasonal Pressure Index Score, as a result, jumps to 62, overtaking Tottenham’s Dele Alli who ranks at 59/100. The Spurs midfielder has struggled to match the level of performance he showcased last season and is now without a goal in his last five league outings.
The Gunners are also buoyed by Mesut Ozil penning a fresh, three-year deal at the club. The Germany international has enjoyed a fruitful campaign thus far, registering more assists (7) than any other Arsenal player.
Two of Ozil’s assists have led to goals from Arsenal’s summer signing Alexandre Lacazette, who has been somewhat overshadowed in recent weeks due to a number of factors.
The 26-year-old has had a mixed start to life at Arsenal and is likely to be ousted as Wenger’s first-choice forward for the remainder of the campaign. Lacazette is just one goal away from hitting double-figures, however, and has looked devastating at times this season. The Frenchman’s Pressure Index Score currently stands at 62.
In a similar position at Tottenham, Son Heung-Min does not always receive the credit he is entitled to, having proven himself as a regular source of chances created in the Spurs attack. The 25-year-old has just four assists to his name so far this term but has chipped in with eight goals, giving him a Pressure Index rating of 67.
While Son has marked an impressive season with a relatively high return in front of goal, his tally is significantly short of the 22 Premier League strikes from the division’s top scorer, Harry Kane.
The Spurs striker continues to break English records and is naturally the biggest threat to Arsenal ahead of the weekend, though Wenger will be hoping his own marksman will be able to punish his side’s London neighbours.
Aubameyang has scored four goals in four previous appearances against Tottenham in all competitions and has one goal for the Gunners so far since his move from Borussia Dortmund last month, taking his early Pressure Score to 52, compared to Kane’s 67.
Both clubs have enough to claim victory in Saturday’s early kick-off, though Tottenham will be hunting for revenge after falling to a 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Who will reign supreme in north London this time round?