Derbies are brutal. This isn’t breaking news, but derbies are games that are woefully brutal on the supporters leading up to the match, and the games rarely live up to the pre-match hype. It’s not a stretch to say that the latest North London Derby won’t be the same. Both teams have obvious strengths and frailties, so it should least be an interesting tactical battle. More than likely though, it’ll be a slog, like most derbies end up (spoiler: that 4-4 isn’t happening again).

The 5th matchday couldn’t have really gone any better for the gunners, who saw all of their rivals drop points while cruising to a convincing win themselves. After a rocky start to the season, that should ease some frayed nerves. Compare this with Spurs, who are coming off a woeful loss to West Brom at home and before a cup win against Forest were on a 4 game winless drought. It’s really too early to focus on the table only six matches in, but Arsenal would certainly feel happy about their lot with three wins and three draws from six if they won. Spurs would go to 10 points if they won, but that feels insignificant insofar as winning a derby would do wonders for the confidence of the team and the supporters.

Derbies can often bring out the best, or worst, in players. For Arsenal, Mesut Ozil has to be under the spotlight again. Just after almost everyone with a twitter account slagged him off after a terrible performance against Dortmund, he was man of the match at Villa Park. Part of that has to do with Jack Wilshire not being on the pitch and being shoehorned into Ozil’s role therefore shunting him out wide where he is quite bad, but Ozil played his part. Against Spurs, he will be judged harshly either way, and maybe Wenger has learned his lesson that playing Wilshire, Ramsey and Ozil at the same time is a bad idea.

For Tottenham, Erik Lamela has slowly been regaining form, but he isn’t the dynamite player he was at Roma quite yet. If he has his best game in a Spurs shirt on Saturday though, narratives will be smashed. This is the game for him to stake his claim with the eyes of so many watching.

The biggest tactical question for Arsenal has to be whether to change from the team that looked so good against Villa, or keep it going. There’s no reason not to, especially considering Spurs never look right in a derby. For Tottenham, will sweeping changes be made after the disaster against West Brom? Probably not, considering the lineup Mauricio Pochettino put out against Forest.

Prediction: Arsenal is the better team by far and should win this game. But that defense is still frail and Mikel Arteta can’t take quick counter-attacks well. Tottenham can do something here, but they have to get things spot on to do so. 2-1 to Arsenal (and I just downed a bottle of arsenic typing that).

Predicted XI’s: