Saturday lunch time sees the big North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham at The Emirates Stadium. The Premier League clash will be hotly anticipated as always and Spurs will be desperate to get one over on their rivals and go above them in the table. Last season saw an enthralling encounter that ended 4-4 and contained a wonder goal from former Gooner David Bentley, and once again managers Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp will go head to head. On the field there are a number of mouth watering encounters to look forward to, and Palacios will have a job on to limit the impact that Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has on the game.
Cesc Fabregas vs Wilson Palacios – Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will once again be the player that Spurs will have to get control of if they are going to get a foothold in the match. Fabregas is the creative hub that the majority of Arsenal’s play goes through and he has been in cracking form this season. Wilson Palacios have impressed at White Hart Lane since his move £12 million move from Wigan in January and he is quickly establishing himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the country. Palacios will have to be at his best to stop Fabregas sliding balls through to Robin van Persie and his fellow midfielders, but the Honduran is more than up to the challenge that the Spaniard presents him.
Andrey Arshavin vs Vedran Corluka – Arshavin is an incredibly dangerous player for Arsenal and is prone to drifting away from his left wing position. The Russian is a very tricky player to come up against, as he is highly adept at passing and dribbling and has an eye for goal. His opponent on Saturday Corluka will have to make sure that he is aware of the location of Arshavin as the Russian’s movement is top class. Corluka should get the better of the battle in the air, but with Arsenal playing their usual free-flowing passing game, the Croatian defender will need to stay tight to his man. Whether Aaron Lennon or Bentley plays ahead of Corluka, if they link up well they should be able to deal with the menace that Arshavin poses and provide a threat going forward.
Thomas Vermaelen vs Peter Crouch – Vermaelen has made a very impressive start to his Arsenal career, with the Gunners conceding just four goals at home in the Premiership this season and the Belgian contributing four league goals himself. England striker Peter Crouch will provide a stern test for him though at the Emirates, as Crouch will want to make up for the disappointment of last week against Stoke where he could have scored a hat trick at least. With Defoe suspended again, Crouch may have one last chance to force himself into the first-team picture when Spurs have all their forwards available. It will be interesting to see how Vermaelen handles Crouch, who will provide the defender with his biggest aerial challenge to date.
Who will come out on top in these player battles and ultimately will it be Arsenal or Tottenham who emerge victorious on Saturday at The Emirates Stadium in the first North London derby in this season’s Premier League campaign?
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