Arsenal have five advantages over Tottenham going to the derby, from Kieran Tierney to their lack of international football

THE North London Derby is unlike any game and as any Gooner will tell you, the anticipation before the game is unique.

There’s excitement, of course, but it’s more than mitigated by a nervous energy that makes the build-up almost painful.

Arsenal and Spurs' league placement means the pressure is increasing for the North London derby

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Arsenal and Spurs’ league placement means the pressure is increasing for the North London derbyPhoto credit: Getty
Arsenal fans could make a big difference with their noise at the Emirates

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Arsenal fans could make a big difference with their noise at the EmiratesPhoto credit: Getty

It’s a cliché to say that form goes out the window for derbies, but both teams are in great shape for this clash.

In fact, I’m not sure I can remember when that fierce clash was actually a clash between the leaders, as it will be on Saturday. This weekend’s loot is so much more than bragging rights.

All in all it’s Arsenal, although not unbeaten, who find themselves at the top of the Premier League and for the following reasons, yes with a sane head, I’m putting the home side as slight favourites.

It’s in the Emirates

Home advantage cannot be underestimated and the once-battered atmosphere in the Emirates has changed post-Covid.

New fans, an attractive team, a sense of togetherness and not to forget the fabulous Ashburton Army have taken decibels to a new level. It’s happening weekly now but Spurs’ visit raises the bar further and Arsenal’s 12th man I see as a key factor.

High press

Arsenal’s collective press, spearheaded by Gabriel Jesus, works brilliantly and I’m not sure Tottenham’s back three or five (as is often the case under Conte) can handle it.

Martin Odegaard never stops pressing and Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will keep Spurs full-backs locked for a long time.

I expect Arsenal’s ability to turn around and reclaim the ball will be a crucial factor. Hugo Lloris doesn’t convince me either when he’s put under pressure.

Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka can put pressure on Spurs with their pressing

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Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka can put pressure on Spurs with their pressingPhoto credit: Getty

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defensive solidity

Tottenham will aim to score the hosts at half-time and in Son Heung-min we know they have a strong weapon.

For that reason, assuming both are fit, I expect Kieran Tierney to be preferred to Oleksandr Zinchenko because the Scot is a better and faster defender.

I’d be happy with either Ben White or Takehiro Tomiyasu at right-back and as a collective with William Saliba and Gabriel it’s a quick defensive line that will be difficult to counter if they maintain their discipline.

I suspect that because of the threat from the opponent, only one full-back is allowed to go forward.

Keep Kane calm

Despite his relative inexperience, Saliba doesn’t strike me as the sort of character that would allow Harry Kane to bully him.

The Frenchman is bigger, stronger and faster than many of his predecessors that the England captain has managed to dominate in recent years.

For the visitors to prevail, Kane needs to have a huge impact on the game and I can’t see it, especially after watching his work on international duty.

William Saliba could be the key to keeping Harry Kane calm

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William Saliba could be the key to keeping Harry Kane calmPhoto credit: Getty

Fresh legs

That brings me to the last key factor, which is attributed to the freshness of Arsenal’s squad.

Key Gunners players like Jesus, Martinelli, Aaron Ramsdale, White and Gabriel have been resting and training while colleagues have played minutes for their countries.

But Saka and Odegaard didn’t play a full 90 minutes either.

Essentially half of Arsenal’s starting XI will be fresh, which cannot be said for our Middlesex neighbors.

Kane played both games in full, while Richarlison, Son and Rodrigo Bentancur have all played on the other side of the world twice. Even the Gunners who played only did it close to home.

I’m sure there are more reasons that should give Arsenal the advantage.

Arsenal star Smith Rowe has been sidelined for three months after groin surgery
Arsenal and Spurs combined XI before the derby with Saka and Kane but without Jesus

We play better football, no doubt, but as we saw at Old Trafford, that doesn’t guarantee a good result. I also think an early goal is vital for us to disrupt Conte’s undisputed plan to sit down and defend deep.

Come on Gunners, North London is red!

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6331578/arsenal-tottenham-tierney-jesus-kane-saliba/ Arsenal have five advantages over Tottenham going to the derby, from Kieran Tierney to their lack of international football

ClareFora

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