Arsenal are slight favourites to win the first north London derby of the 2019/20 Premier League season when local rivals Tottenham Hotspur visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The Gunners won this fixture 4-2 back in December, but both teams are coming off losses more recently. Arsenal were well-beaten 3-1 by Liverpool at Anfield last week, while Tottenham slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United.
Spurs also face more than a few injury problems, with midfield powerhouse and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele among those expected to miss out.
Date: Sunday, September 1
Time: 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports PL, NBCSN
Odds (Per Caesars)
- Arsenal: +140 (bet $100 win $140)
- Tottenham: +180
- Draw: +260
Tottenham have confirmed Ndombele, a £55 million capture from Lyon this summer, will miss the game due to a thigh problem, while a hip issue will sideline holding midfielder Eric Dier, per Jack de Menezes of The Independent.
The same source noted how Dele Alli is nearing a return from a hamstring injury, while Mauricio Pochettino could call on Christian Eriksen and Giovani Lo Celso.
Spurs acquired Lo Celso on loan from Real Betis, but Pochettino confirmed the dynamic midfielder is working to reach peak condition after appearing for Argentina during this summer's Copa America, per Football.London's Alasdair Gold.
Pochettino struck a similar note of caution by calling for patience regarding the readiness of Lo Celso's fellow summer signing, former Fulham winger Ryan Sessegnon.
There is also worrying news regarding right-back Kyle Walker-Peters:
Tottenham Hotspur @SpursOfficial
TEAM NEWS: 🔹 @ericdier (hip): Being assessed after complaining of irritation in right hip. 🔹 @TanguyNdombele (thigh): Commenced on-field rehab and remains unavailable. 🔹 @KWPeters (hamstring strain): Undergoing on-field rehab, unavailable. #THFC ⚪️ #COYS https://t.co/tPyo4nfSZ9
It's a sizeable list of absences ahead of facing what is a potentially explosive Arsenal attack. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored two goals and assisted another in the corresponding fixture last season, has started the new campaign in prolific fashion.
Aubameyang has scored twice and now has the support of dynamic winger Nicolas Pepe. Signed from Lille, Pepe is the Gunners' record signing and has already offered glimpses of his match-winning talents:
Pepe's ability to carry the ball at pace and drag defenders out of position will create more chances and greater room for Aubameyang and strike partner Alexandre Lacazette.
The latter has endured a stop-start beginning to the new campaign after being slowed by an ankle problem:
Ben Dinnery @BenDinnery
Unai Emery confirms Alexandre Lacazette is still carrying the ankle injury he picked up at the end of pre-season. Could explain his omission from the France squad and his role from the bench against Liverpool. Only played 80 minutes so far in 2019/20, but "he is improving." #AFC
If Arsenal's high-powered front three does start together for the first time, the supply of Mesut Ozil could be key. The languid playmaker has been described as "physically better" in training recently by head coach Unai Emery, per BBC Sport.
A fit-again, motivated Ozil using his flair and vision creating for Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe is Arsenal's best means of returning to the UEFA Champions League. Making Spurs the first victims of this gifted quartet would be a dream scenario for Emery.