Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2012: Preview and TV schedule

Richard Heathcote

With both sides slipping down the Premier League table, this latest edition of the North London Derby carries an increased weight of importance

This season's first North London Derby is filled with potential intrigue thanks to the current form of both sides. Tottenham and Arsenal are sitting seventh and eighth in the table respectively, a position neither side is particularly pleased with. If either of these teams fancies themselves contender for a Champions League spot, winning this match could be considered a necessity.

Arsenal fans are simmering after the Gunners blew a big lead against Fulham last week and had to settle for a draw. A poor result against their rivals won't help matters, so there's an added layer of pressure on this match on top of everything else. Arsene Wenger could have some difficult lineup choices to make depending on how several fitness tests turn out, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta and Bacary Sagna have all been dealing with various ailments and while it's expect all will play, the loss of any will just make Wenger's life that much more difficult.

Andre Villas-Boas is once again feeling some heat after consecutive losses to Wigan and Manchester City. Spurs need a win, but having to try and get it in Villas-Boas' first North London Derby could be a big ask. Fortunately, Arsenal aren't exactly tearing things up at the moment, so this is an extremely winnable match for Spurs.

The last time these two team's played a league match at the Emirates, Spurs staged a dramatic collapse that would make Shakespeare want to rise from the grave, pen in hand. After taking a 2-0 lead, Spurs allowed five unanswered Arsenal goals as the Gunners trounced their hated rivals.

Arsenal injuries and suspensions

Out: Abou Diaby (thigh), Gervinho (ankle), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring). In doubt: Kieran Gibbs (thigh), Olivier Giroud (hamstring/calf), Theo Walcott (buttock muscle), Mikel Arteta (hip), Bacary Sagna (leg), Wojciech Szczesny (ankle).

Tottenham injuries and suspensions

Out: Scott Parker (achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee), Younes Kaboul (knee), Mousa Dembele (hip). In Doubt: Jermain Defoe (hamstring), Kyle Walker (hamstring).

Arsenal have a ton of potential issues ahead of this match with Giroud, Walcott, Arteta and Sagna all likely facing fitness tests ahead of the match. Spurs should have Defoe and Walker available after both struggled with minor hamstring issues.

Match Date/Time: 1:45 p.m. local, 7:45 a.m. ET

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England

TV: ESPN2 (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.), TSN2 (Canada)

Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)

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