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Arsenal Pies previews tomorrow's North London derby against Tottenham

Ahead of tomorrow's North London derby - quaintly referred to as the NDL by our friends at Spurs Pies - I've brokered a swap deal on preview pieces with Spurs Pies editor Jonathan Weinberg. You can find his opinions in the post beneath this one, but to save you the embarrassment of looking at my post on their website, here's what I wrote for the Spuds today.

Tottenham have amassed just 18 points from their first 17 games this season and have conceded as many goals as they’ve scored.

Arsenal: played 17, points 40, goal difference of plus 20. Need I say more? I needn’t, but I will, because what I’ve neglected to say, of course, is that we’re top of the league - a position that we more than merit given that we’ve played some of the best football that the Premier League has ever seen.

And so Arsenal are facing another North London derby and yet another Spuds manager. Will Juande Ramos be able to achieve what his four predecessors - Martin Jol, Jacques Santini, David Pleat and Glen Hoddle - could not: a win over Arsenal. Well, maybe given time, but I can’t see it happening this weekend.

Apart from Emmanuel Eboue, the Gunners look to have a clean bill of health going into the game and Arsene Wenger will have his work cut out as to whom he selects for Saturday’s squad, given that in our last two games us Gooners have seen excellent performances from no fewer than 27 players.

The return of Robin van Persie, Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini in the last 10 days has been a tremendous boost to the league leaders and I just cannot see how the Spuds midfield will be able to cope with such world class players...

Admittedly, Tottenham can knock in goals, but the Arsenal defence has conceded just 14 goals this season and has contained the strike forces of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea well, so messrs Sagna, Toure, Gallas and Clichy have nothing to fear from Tottenham.

At the other end of the park, Van Persie is due a goal while Emmanuel Adebayor is the Premier League’s top scorer with nine goals to his name already this season. Playing against a Spuds back four that is amongst the leakiest in the league, I fancy Arsenal to match, if not better, last season’s corresponding fixture when the Gunners ended up 3-0 winners.

Tottenham have only won two league games in 25 years at Arsenal and I think the best your boys can hope for tomorrow afternoon is a draw. But that ain’t gonna happen.

In the reverse fixture earlier this season I predicted Arsenal would win 3-1. The result? Arsenal won 3-1.

So my forecast for tomorrow is a proper introduction to the North London derby for Juande Ramos, with a 3-0 victory for the Arsenal. Read Jonathan's Weinberg's thoughts from the Spuds point of view in the post below.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on December 21, 2007 3:00 PM in News| Players
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