The Carabao Cup has provided an early Christmas treat for football fans as Arsenal host city rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the competition's quarter final.
A north London derby rarely lacks that sense of competitiveness, but there should be extra impetus in this game with it being a genuine opportunity for both sides to win silverware.
That said, with the hectic Christmas period well underway in the Premier League, both sides may well be looking to rest some of their star players. Both Tottenham and Arsenal, despite their shock 3-2 loss to Southampton on Sunday, are in a prime position to finish in the top-four this season and may prioritise that over a cup that has lost its magic over recent years.
Check out 90min's preview of the game below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 19th December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||19:45 (BST)|
|Where Is It Played?||The Emirates|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Main Event|
Arsenal have been ravaged by defensive injuries of late and their defence against Southampton on Sunday was makeshift to say the least. Rob Holding is a long-term absentee having injured his cruciate ligament, whilst Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin injury) and Hector Bellerin (calf) are also expected to miss out.
Added to the injured list are Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) and Sead Kolasinac (thigh), for whom the game may come too soon. Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, is expected to miss the remainder of the season having broken his ankle earlier this year.
On top of that, Serge Aurier (muscle injury), Juan Foyth (hamstring injury) and Davinson Sanchez (hamstring injury) are also major doubts for the derby. Further up the field, Spurs will certainly be without Moussa Dembele (ankle injury) and Victor Wanyama (knee injury).
|Arsenal||Cech, Lichsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Özil, Ramsey, Lacazette
|Tottenham||Vorm, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Davies, Rose, Winks, Skipp, Son, Eriksen, Lucas, Kane
Head to Head Record
The north-London derby has a grand history, with this being the 196th time the two sides have faced each other. In this time, Arsenal have come out on top with 82 victories to Tottenham's 63 wins.
However, the tide has somewhat changed in recent years and, in the last seven fixtures the two sides are neck-and-neck with two victories each. This is largely testament to the great work that Mauricio Pochettino has done for Spurs.
Arsenal's 22-game unbeaten streak came to an emphatic end on Sunday as they lost to a relegation-threatened Southampton side. However, aside from that, the Gunners have been in fine form recently. Their last five games have seen them win three times and they currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Tottenham, meanwhile, have been grinding out results impressively as of late. Whilst they are not at their scintillating best, Spurs have lost just once in their last six games and this run includes an admirable 1-1 draw with Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
However, as Tottenham fans will remember all too fondly, their one loss in these six games came against Arsenal in that stunning 4-2 loss.
Here's how the two sides have performed in their last five fixtures:
|Southampton 3-2 Arsenal (16/12)||Tottenham 1-0 Burnley (15/12)|
|Arsenal 1-0 Qarabag (13/12)||Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham (11/12)|
|Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield (08/12)||Leicester City 0-2 Tottenham (08/12)|
|Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal (05/12)||Tottenham 3-1 Southampton (05/12)|
|Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham (02/12)||Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham (02/12)|
With both sides struggling to name a first-choice defence, this could well be an open and high-scoring game. Should this be the case, then Unai Emery will fancy his chances of making it to the semi finals.
Arsenal have only kept three clean sheets in the Premier League this season and have become accustomed to purely outscoring their opponents. Tottenham, on the other hand, have garnered success from being resolute defensively and winning by the odd goal or two.
Therefore, it will be in Spurs' best interest to try and slow the tempo of the game and stifle the Arsenal attack as best as they can. However, whether they can do this with a makeshift backline remains to be seen.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur