Tottenham Hotspur-Arsenal Preview
One way to look at it is Arsenal have been dominant on a five-match Premier League winning streak and are in fine position as the calendar has flipped to November. Another is the embarrassment of their Champions League hiccup is a mere 90 minutes away from spilling over into the north London derby.
There aren't two ways about it for Tottenham Hotspur, who have been about as impressive in the top flight and have midweek continental success to draw on leading into Sunday's visit to the Emirates Stadium.
The clubs are already meeting for the second time this season after Mathieu Flamini's brace sent Arsenal through 2-1 in the round of 32 in the League Cup on Sept. 23 at White Hart Lane, so the feeling of the rivalry is fresh.
"It is a power, an energy, an electricity and something that drives you crazy," Flamini told the club's official website. "Some people jump from a plane to get this adrenaline, others go to the stadium. It is something you want to experience, not just see on TV."
Spurs (5-5-1) aren't getting quite as carried away.
"We can't put too much pressure on it because at the end of the day it's just three points, but for the fans and the club we'd love to put one over them," midfielder Ryan Mason told the club's official website.
The Gunners (8-1-2) are second in the table on 25 points, trailing Manchester City on goal differential, but must regroup from Wednesday's 5-1 loss at Bayern Munich in Group F of the Champions League. Midweek matches have been something of a mess lately regardless of opponent stature after the seeing their way out of the League Cup the previous week with a 3-0 loss at Sheffield Wednesday, though that didn't come with a preferred first XI.
But cups might not be the focus this campaign. Between those matches, Arsenal won 3-0 at Swansea City, giving them maximum points in the league in October and a 16-3 scoring advantage dating to a 5-2 win at Leicester City on Sept. 26. The scoring has come in large part from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has all six of his top-flight goals on the winning streak, while the France international has netted six goals in his last eight matches across all competitions, despite featuring only four times.
"The finishing is a bit cyclic and it is linked with sharpness, with form, with confidence," manager Arsene Wenger said. "Sometimes when Olivier has a breather, he comes back with even more desire and his physical strength is very good.
"After, when you have scored in the game before, you are always convinced that you will score again. Once it leaves you, that's where you have the fight. At the moment he is on fire."
In defence, there's a good chance Laurent Koscielny will return after missing the Champions League loss with a hip problem. Wenger puts his centre back at 80 percent to be available.
Tottenham will be three days removed from Thursday's 2-1 Europa League win at Anderlecht, with Harry Kane further distancing his goal drought. The 22-year-old scored for the fifth time in three matches across all competitions after managing one through his first 13.
Mousa Dembele's 87th-minute winner - the Belgian's third goal in as many matches - sent Spurs to their third straight win in all competitions since losing to Anderlecht in Belgium, but Tottenham's Premier League form has been more impressive.
Spurs are also in the top five on 20 points with a goal-differential edge over West Ham United after a 3-1 home win over Aston Villa on Monday. They've won five of seven as part of a 10-match unbeaten run in the league since losing their opener at Manchester United, and things have been smooth for a change in Mauricio Pochettino's final third.
A season after matching Sunderland and relegated Burnley for fifth-most goals allowed with 53, Tottenham have conceded five times in the last eight league matches with four clean sheets and a 4-1 win over Manchester City.
None of that changes the fact Tottenham haven't won at the Emirates since 2010, though last season's 1-1 draw sent them on their way to four points against Arsenal. They followed it up with a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane on Feb. 7 as Kane struck twice.
It's the away draw Mason remembers best - his Premier League debut. He's since been a regular for Pochettino, making a total of 33 top-flight starts and 38 appearances.
"It's a game between two in-form teams in the Premier League," Mason said. "We've been playing really well and so have they. It's exciting. It's going to be a great match. I'm sure it's going to be a quick-tempo game and hopefully we'll get the better of them."