Arsenal view: Three points a must in north London derby
Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal: Stage is set for the most important north London derby in recent memory
Three points. There's no other option for Arsene Wenger and his squad as they prepare to make the short trip to White Hart Lane this Sunday.
Tottenham were fortunate to come away with a win against West Ham on Monday evening, mostly thanks to Gareth Bale's remarkable determination and knack at squeezing out crucial goals in the dying minutes of a match.
Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa was also a one-man show, with Santi Cazorla finding his form and slotting home two brilliant goals to give the Gunners a much needed three points.
The fact of the matter is that for either team to win this Sunday, they can't rely on an individual to do the job. The team that is able to work together and create chances as a unit will come out with the all-important result. It sounds cliche, but it has been proven time and time again that a solid team effort is far more effective than one superstar single-handedly driving a team forward.
That being said, Arsenal will certainly have to make some preparations on how to handle Bale's tenacity on the left flank. His form has been red-hot of late, scoring six goals in his last four games, and it will be a triumph for the Arsenal back-four to keep him off the scoresheet.
Bacary Sagna is expected to return from injury in time for Sunday's clash, and will be the one tasked with marking Bale for the full 90 minutes should he get the nod.
As far as Arsenal's attack is concerned, they have Cazorla coming off the back of a great performance and hoping to carry that energy into the Spurs tie. Jack Wilshere has been his usual consistent self but it is crucial that he makes his presence felt, both physically and on the ball. Theo Walcott has been below-par during the last few games and needs to make the most of his pace on Sunday to avoid being just another body on the pitch.
In terms of statistics, these three points are absolutely crucial to the Gunners aspirations for Champions League football next season. The gap between them and Chelsea has been shortened to just two points, but with Chelsea playing at home against West Brom this weekend, it's vital that Arsenal don't let that gap widen again.
For Spurs, a victory on Sunday would further establish their third place position and keeps alive their slim hopes of challenging Manchester City for a second placed finish.
Whichever team you support, I think we can all agree that this north London derby is one of the most anticipated fixtures of the season and will go a long way in determining the immediate futures of these bitter rivals.
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