Arsenal v Tottenham: five talking points ahead of tonight’s derby clash

Arsenal and Tottenham meet tonight in the second north London derby of the season in a Carabao Cup quarter-final clash.

Unai Emery’s side hold the bragging rights after winning the Premier League fixture on December 2 and both teams will be keen to give their fans some festive cheer.

Here are the main talking points ahead of the match.

Backache for Emery

The Gunners saw a 22-match unbeaten run come to an end with a 3-2 defeat at Southampton on Sunday.

Emery had only one fit recognised centre-back in Laurent Koscielny – himself only just back from a seven-month injury lay-off.

Some of those defensive issues will be eased as Sokratis Papastathopoulos is back from suspension but Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all missing – with full-backs Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac also unavailable.

Southampton took advantage of a makeshift back-three and no doubt Tottenham’s attackers will also be licking their lips at the prospect.

A change as good as a rest

Even though it is a derby between two local rivals, both Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and Emery could make changes given the busy festive period ahead.

While it is unlikely that a raft of youngsters will be shipped in to either side, some fringe players will be hoping for the chance to shine.

That includes Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who started last week’s Europa League dead rubber against Qarabag before returning to the bench for the Southampton defeat, while back-up striker Fernando Llorente will be pushing for a rare opportunity for the visitors.

Spurs seeking rapid revenge mission

Arsenal came out on top when the rivals met at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League earlier this month.

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace was added to by efforts from Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torriera as Emery secured a 4-2 win over close friend Pochettino.

Tottenham’s opportunity to respond comes just 17 days later with both teams no doubt keen to move into the final four of the competition.

Chance of silverware for Pochettino

The Carabao Cup is Emery’s first chance to lift a trophy in English football – whereas Pochettino is also waiting for his first silverware as a coach.

That will add every more intrigue into Wednesday night’s encounter, with a place in the semi-finals keeping trophy ambitions alive until the new year.

Pochettino has often written off the Carabao Cup as he aims for success in higher-regarded competitions but there has to be a time when he needs to get his hands on a trophy.

Keeping emotion in check

The recent Premier League meeting had several flashpoints, with Emery speaking on the eve of this clash calling for the passion to remain but for respect to exist between the two clubs.

Eric Dier equalised for the visitors at the Emirates Stadium before his finger-to-lips celebration sparked a fracas between the two sets of players.

There were also several arrests made amongst the supporters with a Tottenham fan handed a four-year football ban and a £500 fine for throwing a banana skin towards Aubameyang as he celebrated his opening goal in front of the away fans.




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