Arsenal vs. Tottenham: 10 Players to Watch

Jonathan WooCorrespondent INovember 13, 2012

Arsenal vs. Tottenham: 10 Players to Watch

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    The North London Derby always features a fierce competition between Tottenham and Arsenal, but the first of the two derby matches this season figures to be just as exciting with Spurs holding a one-point lead over the Gunners in the table.

    Tottenham is coming off a 2-1 defeat Sunday to Manchester City, with the Blues grabbing the three points late in the match.

    Since beating Southampton 6-1 in mid-September, Arsenal has managed just two wins. The Gunners drew 3-3 with Fulham at the Emirates on Saturday, and the quick turnaround may favor the home side.

    With the earliest kickoff of Wednesday's eight fixtures, the North London Derby figures to be the highlight of the day.

    Here are 10 players to watch at the Emirates.

Gareth Bale

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    Beginning with Tottenham, the biggest star to watch has to be Gareth Bale.

    With electric pace and a deadly left foot, Bale is a sight to see streaming down the sidelines looking to create or go to goal.

    Bale is second on the club with three goals on the season, and the Welshman has not scored against Arsenal since almost two years ago when Spurs topped the Gunners at the Emirates.

William Gallas

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    The former Arsenal man is one of two former Gunners to suit up for the other side in the derby, and William Gallas has been a strong anchor at the center of Tottenham's defense.

    The 35-year-old Gallas spent four seasons with Arsenal, and the Frenchman is on his third round with Spurs.

    With both teams equal on goals, Spurs have shown some vulnerability at the back, having allowed 16 goals to Arsenal's 11.

Emmanuel Adebayor

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    Like Gallas, Emmanuel Adebayor will play against his former squad, something the Togolese striker has done plenty of times since leaving the Gunners.

    Adebayor experienced some success against Arsenal last season, posting two assists and a goal over the two derby matches.

    While the 28-year-old has yet to score for Tottenham this season, could his recent success against the Gunners sway Andres Villas-Boas to go with Adebayor tomorrow?

Clint Dempsey

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    The American looks to be introduced to the North London Derby for the first time in his career, but Clint Dempsey is no stranger to high performance.

    Dempsey's diversity across the field is instrumental in controlling the offense, but with just one assist on the season to go with two goals, the former Fulham standout has to be turning a corner soon.

Jermain Defoe

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    Jermain Defoe has not scored against Arsenal in league play since joining Spurs, but the speedy forward leads the team in goals with five.

    Still, Defoe has not found the net in almost a month, but perhaps the Englishman will have his first goal in the derby.

Olivier Giroud

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    The first of the three new Gunners this season comes first on the watch list for Wednesday's derby match, and Olivier Giroud has been a solid addition to Arsene Wenger's side.

    The French international is tied for the lead in goals with three others, and presents a consistent scoring threat.

    More importantly, Giroud is coming off a two-goal performance in Arsenal's 3-3 draw, so form could be on his side.

Santi Cazorla

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    Santi Cazorla consistently has his chances as the midfield engine that drives the tricky Arsenal attack.

    With no true forward, Cazorla is one of many with the diversity and skillset to be able to roam the field to create chances.

    As it is with all three of the summer signings, it will be Cazorla's first crack at the madhouse that is the North London Derby.

Lukas Podolski

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    Lukas Podolski will get his first look at the Arsenal-Tottenham rivalry Wednesday as well, as the German international has put together a solid first few months with the Gunners.

    Podolski had not scored in six league matches before netting one in Saturday's 3-3 draw, and coming off a good outing in a 2-2 draw with Schalke in the Champions League, Podolski may be primed for another strong performance.

Theo Walcott

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    Always the speedster waiting to spring a chance, Theo Walcott has taken up a nice role in the Arsenal attack.

    The speedy midfielder is keeping his status quo, factoring in two goals and a team-leading three assists so far this season.

    Walcott scored twice against Spurs at the Emirates last season, so he does have that in his favor.

Bacary Sagna

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    One of the last of the "old" Arsenal look, Bacary Sagna is simply a rock at fullback.

    The Frenchman also did well in the home fixture last season, picking up a goal and an assist in that contest.

    Just coming back from injury, Sagna has made just three appearances all season, and his fitness could hatch some vulnerability at the back.