Arsenal are aiming to make it back-to-back wins in the North London Derby for the first time since March 2014 when they host fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday, kick-off 4.30pm.
The Gunners, who beat Spurs 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in March courtesy of goals from Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette, are the form team going into the fixture after three wins on the bounce in all competitions.
A stunning free-kick from Martin Odegaard secured a 1-0 victory over Burnley in the league last weekend, and midweek Mikel Arteta’s side comfortably saw off AFC Wimbledon 3-0 in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Arsenal currently sit 13th in the Premier League, just three points behind Spurs, who, after an impressive start, have suffered humiliating defeats to fellow London clubs Crystal Palace and Chelsea.
And Arteta is keen to make that contrasting form count for the club’s biggest game of the season.
“There is a certain level of confidence when you are on a winning streak that it’s really positive to face a big match. But afterwards when the ball is rolling it’s a completely different context,” Arteta said.
“We’re playing at home, we’re going to have our people right behind us. They’re going to create an incredible climate that you have to be able to enjoy, empower and make the most of it.
“The history between the two clubs and where this rivalry comes from and what it means emotionally to all of our supporters. You have to play that game with slightly different skin because there is a little bit more at stake.”
Thankfully, one thing Arteta won’t need to worry about is injuries to his team.
He confirmed: “Hopefully everybody is available so good news. We have one more session before the game but in general everybody is feeling good.”
There were injury concerns surrounding midfielders Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny, as well as defender Kieran Tierney, but all have been passed fit to play.
Whether Arteta will decide to make any changes to his winning formula is unknown, with Xhaka now in contention to start following the end of his three-match ban and his recovery from Covid-19 that he picked up during international duty.
Arteta said: “Ideally you want players with more of a run of games and a bit more consistency in terms of minutes, but he is available.
“He came back and he was flying because he really looks after himself. He’s always training. As he always is he was giving the maximum and the best possible attitude to compete and win matches.”
With all that said, Arteta looks set to have a full squad at his disposal for the game.
Full Arsenal squad available to face Tottenham:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Aaron Ramsdale, Arthur Okonkwo & Karl Hein
Defenders: Cedric Soares, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Calum Chambers, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Kieran Tierney, Nuno Tavares & Sead Kolasinac
Midfielders: Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith-Rowe, Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Albert Sambi Lokonga & Martin Odegaard
Strikers: Bukayo Saka, Nicholas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah & Folarin Balogun