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Premier League

  • 3 March 2013
  • • 16:00
  • • White Hart Lane, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 36170

Tottenham - Arsenal Preview: All eyes on brilliant Bale for north London derby

The Wales winger has been in sensational form for Spurs and could dent the Gunners' hopes of Champions League qualification with another great display at White Hart Lane on Sunday

Clint Dempsey (calf) only has a small change of featuring for Spurs after missing the 3-2 win over West Ham on Monday, although Tom Huddlestone (knee) should be back to compete for a place in the hosts' starting XI.

Younes Kaboul (knee) should still be out for Andre Villas-Boas' side with no set return date yet, while Sandro (knee) is out for the season.

Bacary Sagna (knee) is expected to miss out for the Gunners, with youngster Carl Jenkinson set to replace him at right-back.

Abou Diaby (thigh) is 50/50 for the clash after coming off during the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on 23 February, while Kieran Gibbs (thigh) is definitely out after being forced off during the 2-2 draw with Liverpool on 30 January.

  • Tottenham have lost only one of their last seven Premier League home games against bitter rivals Arsenal.
  • Spurs have been in a winning position in both of their last two games against the Gunners, but have gone on to lose each game 5-2.
  • Gareth Bale is only the eighth different Tottenham player to score over 15 Premier League goals in a season.
  • Andre Villas-Boas' side have scored 11 goals from outside the area - more than any other top flight side this season.
  • Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale are the only players from Europe's big five leagues to score six league goals from outside the box this campaign.
  • Spurs had 13 shots on target against West Ham on Monday - only Chelsea (15 vs Aston Villa) have had more in a league game this season.
  • Arsenal have 13 points from the past five Premier League games - a total only equalled by league leaders Manchester United.
  • Olivier Giroud (pictured) has had 26 headed attempts at goal this season - more than any other player in the Premier League.
  • No side in the top five European Leagues has averaged fewer fouls per game than Spurs (9.7) or Arsenal (9.8) this season.

Players to watch

G. Bale

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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It may be an obvious pick but the Wales international is in the form of his life at the moment, and an absolute joy to watch. He has so much to his game in terms of technique, strength and speed that he beginning to earn the 'unplayable' tag Cristiano Ronaldo gained while destroying Premier League defences for Manchester United. There is the danger that Spurs will become over-reliant on their star man, but the fans won't care one bit if he leads his side to victory against their bitter rivals.

T. Walcott

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

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The England forward's fine goalscoring form has been overshadowed of late by his former Southampton team-mate Bale's exploits at White Hart Lane, but Walcott has been absolutely integral to Arsenal's season so far. With 18 goals and 14 assists already making this by far his most prolific season to date, the 23-year-old's blistering pace and increasingly composed finishing ability could well make the difference on Sunday.

Editor's Prediction

Arsenal have three consecutive victories in the Premier League but their last performance against Aston Villa was far from convincing, and followed cup defeats to Blackburn and Bayern Munich. Tottenham also have three league wins in a row and have progressed in the Europa League past Lyon, and with Gareth Bale in such superb form it will be intriguing to see how the Gunners intend to stop him. Predicting a derby match is never easy - especially with so much at stake - but the hosts may just shade this one based on recent fixtures.

Last Five Matches

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