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Premier League preview: Tottenham v Arsenal

Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna expects to return for the North London Derby where he will come up against Tottenham’s in-form winger Gareth Bale.

Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna expects to return for the North London Derby where he will come up against Tottenham’s in-form winger Gareth Bale.

Sagna missed Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday with a knee injury but reports in England claim the 30-year-old French right-back will be ready for his team’s upcoming trip to White Hart Lane.

If Sagna plays he will be given one of the toughest tasks in the Premier League at the moment – mark Bale.

The 23-year-old Welsh speedster has scored nine goals in Tottenham’s past seven games in all competitions and gave his team’s Champions League hopes a significant boost over the weekend when he scored the winner in a 3-2 triumph over West Ham.

Bale scored twice against West Ham but it was his second, in the 90th minute, which gained all the plaudits as he smashed the ball into the top corner from at least 25 metres out.

The result sent Tottenham to 51 points and into third spot, which would mean an automatic berth in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Tottenham have moved above Chelsea (49 points), while Arsenal are in fifth position on 47 points after three wins in a row in the Premier League.

Saturday’s derby will be critical for both teams’ Champions League bids and with Bale on fire, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be very aware of who Tottenham’s main threat will be.

For Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, Santi Cazorla presents the most lethal threat with the 28-year-old Spaniard having scored Arsenal’s past three goals.

Cazorla smashed the ball through a forest of legs to give Arsenal an early lead versus Aston Villa, while he slotted an 85th-minute winner when set up nicely by compatriot Nacho Monreal.

The stocky playmaker has scored 11 goals in 27 Premier League matches this season and after a slight dip in form mid-season, Cazorla looks to be returning to the level he was at the beginning of Arsenal’s campaign.

Arsenal have won the past two North London derbies 5-2 but with Villas-Boas having led Spurs on an 11-game unbeaten run, Tottenham look set to knock off Wenger’s men for the first time since 2011.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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