Another short preview coming your way. Mostly because this match needs no introduction at all. Quite simply the most exciting derby game in the Premier League.
Two clubs, seperated by just 4 miles, and having a history spanning over a century. In recent years, Sp*rs have somehow managed to get closer to Arsenal’s strengths, with constant upgradation of the squads, yet haven’t managed to cross the finishing line and actually finish above the Gunners.
This season, however, Sp*rs have shown some strong intent in the transfer market, having signed 7 players. They might even manage to sign their 8th player, before I complete typing out this preview. Their new signings are Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from Corinthians for £17 million, Belgian winger Nacer Chadli from FC Twente for £7 million, Spain striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia for £26 million, France midfielder Etienne Capoue from Toulouse for £9 million, Romanian centre back Vlad Chiriches from Steaue Bucharest for £8.5 million, attacking midfielders Erik Lamela from Roma for £30 million and Cristian Eriksen from Ajax for £11.5 million. That is a total outlay of a whopping £109 million.
On the other hand, Arsenal’s total spend has been a beastly sum of £0 pounds. Yaya Sanogo came in from Auxerre on a free transfer, while Mathieu Flamini resigned for the Gunners, having left the club back in 2008 to spend half a decade at AC Milan.
Of course, the Gareth Bale saga has now dragged itself on to the final day of the season. Something that started 3 months back, the deal should be done by midnight tomorrow, for an astounding £86 million move to the Spanish capital. Newspaper reports claim that this is Levy’s strategy to delay resulting deals as a result of the Bale transfer.
With Arsenal and Manchester United keeping close tabs on the trio of Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria, and Kaka wanting out of Real Madrid, the completion of the Bale transfer could only trigger these moves happening. There is also the possibility of the transfers of Everton duo Leighton Baines and Marrouane Fellaini, and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney hinging on the one humongous Bale transfer.
However, all of these take a backseat for sometime as Sp*rs make the short trip to the Emirates. Last two times they visited the Grove, they were spanked 5-2 separately, the first one of which was more memorable as it changed the fortunes for the rest of the season, Arsenal managing to finish above Sp*rs, with the enemies leading 2-0 at one stage.
Arsene Wenger will know fully the magnitude of the derbies, and having lost just 5 of his 40 derbies, will look to keep that run going. There has not been a goalless draw between the two clubs for 15 years now, and surely with such a vast array of exciting players on show, today will be another exciting encounter.
Right, team news then. Laurent Koscielny returns to the squad after his suspension, while Thomas Vermaelen is days away from returning to the squad. Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are major injury concerns, facing 3 months on the sidelines. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are both fit having suffered minor knocks in the midweek game against Fenerbahce. Mikel Arteta is ruled out as well.
Sp*rs are without Aaron Lennon, while Emmanuel Greedybayor and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are sidelined due to lack of match fitness. Here is how I expect the two teams to lineup.
All in all, gear up for a great game of football. Time to stuff them again!
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