5 key questions ahead of Arsenal v Tottenham

Arsenal and Tottenham head into Sunday’s north London derby in contrasting runs of form.

Arsenal have won 10 out of their last 11 matches while Spurs are without a victory in six, but recent records will count for little at the Emirates Stadium this weekend.

Here we take a look at five of the big questions ahead of the clash:

1. Will Kane start?

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Harry Kane will be on the bench at the very least on Sunday, after the 23-year-old recovered from an ankle ligament injury. The question is whether Pochettino will start Kane given the striker has not featured in a competitive match in seven weeks.

Tottenham could certainly do with their talisman back. They have not scored from open play in five games and Kane has an excellent record against Arsenal, having scored four times in the last three league fixtures.

2. Sanchez or Giroud?

If Pochettino has a decision to make over Kane, Arsene Wenger has his own selection dilemma up front. It is hard to argue with the prowess of Alexis Sanchez, who has eight goals already in all competitions, but Wenger could pick Olivier Giroud to lead the line, and use Sanchez in attacking midfield.

Giroud is a streaky striker, indispensable when in form, and the Frenchman has made a strong case for inclusion after hitting the net three times in his last two.

3. Invincible Tottenham?

Spurs are enduring a dip after drawing three consecutive games against West Brom, Bournemouth and Leicester but they are also not losing in the league, where they remain the only unbeaten team.

Their attack has been misfiring and they have struggled to create chances in recent weeks but there is no doubt Tottenham’s defence remains the meanest in the division. How Arsenal would love to be the first to beat their rivals this season.

4. Walcott worth the risk?

Theo Walcott’s hamstring strain came just as the winger looked to be finding some rhythm, after an impressive start to the season that has yielded eight goals in 12 appearances.

Walcott has missed Arsenal’s last three games but Wenger suggested the forward may be ready for a return versus Tottenham, against whom he has scored four times in his last nine games. If he does play, Walcott’s battle against Danny Rose could be a key factor in the contest.

5. Top four or title contenders?

Tottenham finished below Arsenal last season for the 21st consecutive season but there is no doubt Pochettino’s men were Leicester’s closest title rivals during the run-in. Arsenal failed to challenge but they look to have the bit between their teeth this term, showing a steel and aggression so lacking in recent years.

Spurs, meanwhile, have proven themselves vulnerable while key players have been out injured. This will be another test of whether these clubs are challenging for the title or just Champions League qualification.

More in this Section

Zidane still interested in signing Pogba for Real Madrid: Football rumours from the mediaZidane still interested in signing Pogba for Real Madrid: Football rumours from the media

FAI working on Ireland eligibility of former Cork City playerFAI working on Ireland eligibility of former Cork City player

Mikel Arteta feels Jamie Vardy should have been sent off before equaliserMikel Arteta feels Jamie Vardy should have been sent off before equaliser

Delfine Persoon staying mum on Katie Taylor rematchDelfine Persoon staying mum on Katie Taylor rematch


Lifestyle

Dónal Clancy is a musician from An Rinn in Co Waterford. He will perform the music of his late father, Liam Clancy, in a special online solo performance on Thursday at 7pm as part of this year's Clonmel Junction Festival.Question of Taste: Dónal Clancy

BETWEEN 1973 and early 1975, John Lennon split with Yoko Ono, took up with his assistant May Pang and embarked on a period of intense creativity and outrageous behaviour. Lennon later described this time as his “lost weekend”.Rufus Wainwright has returned a new man

Stan O’Sullivan tells Ellie O’Byrne about the genre-busting album from 2007 that probably doesn’t get the recognition it deservesB-Side the Leeside: 'Louder & Clearer' with Stanley Super 800

In recent times one of the most recurring and troubling conversations I have with teenagers, in therapy, is around their use of marijuana. Often parents seek out therapy because they have noticed a dramatic shift in their child’s behaviour.Richard Hogan: Beware of making light of your teen's marijuana use

More From The Irish Examiner