This is without question one of the most eagerly-anticipated Premier League fixtures of the season.
What’s more, both teams come into the contest needing a win after slipping up last weekend – Arsenal went down 3-1 at Liverpool, while Spurs suffered a surprise defeat at home to Newcastle United.
Neither team will want to give anything away and it could well prove a game of razor-thin margins.
It was an afternoon to forget for Tottenham as they were beaten at home by Newcastle United
ARSENAL: Time for the Gunners to make a statement against a top six rival
The understandable giddiness around Arsenal’s summer transfer business was given a sobering reality check in last Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Liverpool.
While there were moments at Anfield when Liverpool looked rattled by the speed and threat of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they were comfortably second best overall.
The moment of madness committed by David Luiz leading to Mohamed Salah scoring Liverpool’s second goal will only have confirmed the worst fears of Arsenal’s supporters.
Unai Emery chose to extract the positives in his post-match analysis but it’s clear the Gunners remain significantly short of Liverpool’s calibre.
David Luiz had an afternoon to forget as Arsenal crashed to a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool last week
A more accurate measure of where they stand in relation to returning to the Champions League next season will come against their bitterest rivals.
Luiz has played against Tottenham many times for Chelsea but any kind of error this time will put his place in the team under severe strain.
For the likes of Pepe and Dani Ceballos, the blood and thunder of a North London derby may be unlike anything they have ever experienced.
In the end, Tottenham finished just the one point above Arsenal in the Premier League last season.
Another season spent in Spurs’ rear-view mirrors just isn’t acceptable but the mood at the Emirates after the summer is that their trajectory is pointing upwards once again.
Making a statement with victory in Sunday’s derby would be affirmation of that.
£72m signing Nicolas Pepe will get his first taste of a North London derby on Sunday
TOTTENHAM: Question marks remain as Pochettino’s men try and sustain progress
As Mauricio Pochettino tries to keep Tottenham moving forwards after several seasons of clear progress, there have been more questions than answers in the opening throes of the season.
Worrying for the Argentine is that they have fallen behind in all three of their opening Premier League fixtures.
The good news is that in the opening game against Aston Villa they fought back to win and in the second game they took a point from Manchester City, something that should never be sniffed at.
Son Heung-min wasn’t able to prevent Spurs sliding to a defeat at home to Newcastle
But their powers of recovery deserted them in last weekend’s surprise defeat at home to Newcastle as they looked devoid of a response when asked to break down resolute and deep-lying opponents.
Spurs have been near the top of the table long enough now to understand that most teams will set up defensively against them and usually they have the tools to break them down.
But the spark was missing against Newcastle and Pochettino’s job is to ensure it is simply a bump in the road rather than anything more alarming.
Despite the inherent tension involved, playing Arsenal should suit Spurs because there will be more spaces to exploit on the counter-attack.
The concern for the neutral is that defeat in Sunday’s game will lead to two weeks of solemn contemplation over the international break and, therefore, the teams may be reluctant to go full throttle and leave themselves open.
Meetings between Arsenal and Tottenham are usually spicy occasions with tackles flying in
Arsenal predicted XI: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, David Luiz, Monreal; Xhaka, Ceballos, Guendouzi; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Tottenham predicted XI: Lloris; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks, Ndombele, Eriksen; Kane, Son
What do the bookies say?
Arsenal are priced up at around 13/10 to get one over their North London rivals, while you’ll get 2/1 on Spurs to come away from the Emirates with victory. The draw is 5/2 while an interesting one is a 2-2 draw at 9/1.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the strong favourite to be first goalscorer at 7/2, with Tottenham’s Harry Kane 4/1.
Who’s saying what?
Arsenal manager Unai Emery: ‘For us to play matches like last week against Liverpool, this week against Tottenham, the two Champions League finalists is amazing, and it is the best test,’ he said.
‘Every time is a good moment to play against them and on Sunday with our supporters, it is the best moment to play and enjoy with our supporters.
‘On Sunday, that match is the best football match in the world for all football supporters.’
Mauricio Pochettino rejected the theory that he is set to quit Tottenham. He said: ‘I’m not going to walk out after the North London Derby. I will be here Monday and Tuesday. Then my plan is to travel but I don’t tell you where.’
KEY MATCH FACTS
Arsenal have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games against rivals Spurs (W2 D5 L3), with both wins coming at the Emirates in the previous two seasons.
Spurs have won one of their last 26 Premier League visits to Arsenal (W1 D10 L15), coming from 0-2 down to win 3-2 in November 2010.
Spurs won 2-0 at the Emirates in the League Cup last season, 17 days after losing there in the league against Arsenal; in all competitions, Spurs have won consecutive away matches at Arsenal just once, winning in 1925 and 1926.
Five of the last 14 goals scored in Premier League games between Arsenal and Spurs have been penalties – no Premier League fixture has seen more penalties scored (18, level with Everton vs Newcastle United).
Arsenal were beaten by Crystal Palace in their last home Premier League London derby – they haven’t lost back-to-back home derbies since February 2006, when they lost to Chelsea and West Ham.
Arsenal have won more Premier League games (60) and have a higher win rate (61%) than any other side in games played in September. They also haven’t lost a north London derby in the month in any competition since 1969 (2-3) winning six and drawing four since.
Along with pointless Watford, Tottenham are one of just two sides to have conceded first in all three of their Premier League games so far this season. The Lilywhites last shipped the first goal in their first four Premier League games back in 2008-09.
Tottenham are winless in their last seven away league games (D1 L6), last enduring a longer winless run on the road between December 2011-April 2012 (8 games).
Tottenham’s Harry Kane has scored nine goals in all competitions against Arsenal – only Emmanuel Adebayor and Bobby Smith (both 10) have ever scored in more matches between the two sides in history.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery has won all four of his home league games against Mauricio Pochettino, winning three games with Valencia against Espanyol between 2009-10 and 2011-12 and with Arsenal last season against Spurs.
Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored nine goals in nine Premier League games against Arsenal – only Wayne Rooney (12) and Robbie Fowler (10) have scored more Premier League goals against the Gunners.
Christian Eriksen is one goal away from becoming the fifth player to score 50 in the Premier League for Tottenham. However, he’s never scored in 11 previous appearances in the competition against Arsenal – no side has he faced more without a goal.