But for all their problems at the back, Arsenal still posses enough firepower to pose a consistent threat to the Spurs goal.
Many are concerned that the Gunners are in line for another heavy defeat, thanks in most part, to the attacking flair offered by Harry Redknapp's team.
But Arsene Wenger's side have the means to make Spurs worry about them. Here are three ways Arsenal can trouble the Tottenham defense and score the goals to snatch a famous victory.
Tottenham have improved defensively since Ledley King returned to the team. But Arsenal can enjoy some success if they regularly send Theo Walcott through the middle.
Spurs may have been stout recently, but one thing they lack in central defense is true pace. Walcott's speed can expose this flaw.
The fleet-footed Gunners forward must make the runs off the flanks and in between King and Younes Kaboul, who could see action in the middle with both Michael Dawson and William Gallas injured.
Arsenal should look to slide some clever passes through the middle of the Spurs defense and try some precise long balls over the top for Walcott to run onto.
Walcott posed Tottenham plenty of problems in this fixture last season, playing in a similar manner, and the Gunners should frequently exploit the same tactic again.
Arsenal need to encourage Gervinho to switch to the right flank often and target indecisive Spurs left back Benoit Assou-Ekoto.
Since his summer arrival from Lille, the Ivory Coast forward has mostly operated on the left-hand side for Arsenal.
During his time with Lille, Gervinho favoured a right-sided attacking berth, and he has the pace and tricks to torment the shaky Assou-Ekoto. A move over to the right would increase the potency of Arsenal's attacking play.
If Walcott and Gervinho are too take full advantage of the problems they pose the Spurs back four, then Robin van Persie will need to turn provider.
The Dutchman can enjoy great success if he drops into the space between midfield and the forward line. He has the creative skill to thread the necessary passes to match Walcott's runs and Gervinho's movement.
Arsenal's top goalscorer won't win many balls with his back to the powerful combination of King and Kaboul.
Arsenal must avoid allowing van Persie to become an isolated figure up front, struggling to win goal kicks and hopeful passes.
The classy forward has the craft and guile to expose the gaps in the Spurs defense, if he can get into space.
He needs to operate in a manner similar to his style in the 2008/09 season, when van Persie assumed the creative mantle, during the prolonged injury absence of Cesc Fabregas.
It is a measure of how far Arsenal have fallen that they enter this particular North London derby as significant underdogs.
For the first time during Wenger's storied tenure, Spurs are firm favourites. Another heavy defeat will not be acceptable. The derby demands at least a resolute and committed performance from the Gunners.
Their defensive ineptitude is still a major concern, but if Arsenal combine their scoring potential with a smart approach, they can put Spurs on the back foot early and seal a hugely significant win.