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Arsenal V Tottenham Preview

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The man in the goals - Jemain DefoeIt is time for the North London derby this weekend and it should be a cracking Premier League encounter. Getting underway at 12.45pm on Saturday, these two teams - who are arguably closer than ever before – will be fighting for local pride and crucial Premier League points.

In this fixture last season, we were entertained by a seven-goal thriller. Tottenham took a dramatic 2-0 lead before Arsenal came back all guns blazing to win comfortably in the end. More of the same would be very welcome for the neutral this weekend.

Both teams would settle for a 1-0 victory though, no doubt about that. Arsenal in particular have been fragile defensively this season and would love a hard fought victory, throwing back to the 'Boring, Boring Arsenal' chants if they have to.

Looking at the recent form of Arsene Wenger's men, it is first worth noting that they have conceded 12 goals in their last four games across all competitions. They have scored 13 themselves though, so it isn't dull when Arsenal are in action these days!

Then, as far as the Premier League table is concerned, they sit 8th with 16 points. This is not good enough for the Gunners of course as they aim for yet another top four finish. They need to be more consistent and they need a victory against a fellow top team – ideally on Saturday against the old enemy.

As for Tottenham, they are one point and one place above Arsenal in the table. Gone are the days when the red side of North London would dominate the white. Now, in terms of one-off matches and in terms of league position – these two are very evenly matched.

It is fair to say that Andre Villas-Boas has had a mixed time of things since taking over at White Hart Lane. The highlight for them has been the victory at Manchester United, but the recent 1-0 home defeat to Wigan shows they still have plenty of work to do.

The style of play is good – as it always seems to be with Tottenham these days – but after three defeats in their last four games across all competitions, they need to find their form again.

Perhaps frustratingly for Spurs fans, Villas-Boas doesn't seem to have found his strongest team as yet, certainly in terms of how to use Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe. They will hope things come together nicely at the Emirates on Saturday.

Defoe is the man in the goals and he will look to be the main threat to Arsenal, but surely they are tempted to play Adebayor too as he takes on his former club?

Arsenal will definitely stick to their game plan of passing the ball around nicely and feeding passes through to the front two, while Tottenham might be a bit more direct to exploit the home side's defence.

In terms of a key battle, Theo Walcott will hopefully start for Arsenal and he will go up against Gareth Bale in terms of trying to make things happen in the latest North London derby.

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