Here we are boys and girls. This is it. The worst and single most terrifying game of the Premier League season if you’re an Arsenal fan. I hate this fixture so much. I was listening to a podcast yesterday on my run where one of the guests said the one at our home ground is the one they hate the most, but I don’t feel that, because we have a good record at home and usually we put in a good performance.

Not at their place though. It’s one win in about ten years in the league and it’s a place where we’ve seen sending’s off, dodgy penalties, plus games in which we’ve just been completely turned over. Like that game a few season’s ago where Champions League qualification was at stake for both teams. It is the same today but for one team: The Scum. They have to win it to keep their hopes alive, but a draw might also be something they’d be more than happy with after Villa drew yesterday.

For us the margins are much smaller. City WILL win in the game after ours at 4pm, so anything other than three points for The Arsenal and I think that’s pretty much it for the title. If we draw it will mean the inevitable City win away to Forest would put them a point clear of us with a game in hand to put daylight between us and the Cityzens.

To put it clearly: it’s win or bust for Arsenal today.

And that’s why it’s so terrifying. There’d be nerves about today if this was at The Emirates, but away from home, against this opposition who do score goals, it feels like this Arsenal team are going to need to put in the best away day performance of their lives this afternoon.

But the good news is that away from home this season we have been decent. We’ve kept out Man City, we’ve picked up a draw against Liverpool and we’ve racked up 11 wins so far on the road. We’ve conceded just 11 goals away from home all season and that is the best in the league by some distance; only City on 18 goals conceded come close to us. So there is hope to be had in some of the numbers ahead of this match.

And that’s often where I go to ahead of games like this; looking at the data as to how this game might be won, or how our opponent might line up. Ange Postecoglu has already said they won’t change their style and philosophy and that means that they will play a high line against us and rely on the pace of the likes of Micky Van de Ven to stop any counters. This feels like it’s going to be a game in transition and for that reason Mikel Arteta will have to choose his line up wisely. Tottenham at home have the sixth best defensive record and have conceded 21 goals in 16 games, so they will give us chances, but we have to take them. Conversely, in  Son they have a man who takes his chances and he has 15 goals and nine assists this season, plus a pretty good scoring record, having already bagged one in the NLD earlier in the season. Thankfully, we have our own goal and assist machine in Bukayo Ska, who has 18 goals and 14 assists and although he hasn’t scored for a couple of games, he’s our danger man that Tottenham know will cause a threat down their left hand side.

And it’s a left hand side that will be without Udogie, who is out for the rest of the season and although Ben Davies is a good defender, it’s that left hand side and our right hand side that I’d be looking for us to have a go at. To do that we need to see Ben White overlapping, creating space and angles for Bukayo, with Martin Odegaard on the interior linking up. Tottenham give up chances and they will do today; they are 11th in the league for xG against and that means we have to finish and we have to try to do that early, because a lot of this game is going to be riding on emotion, intensity and noise from the home crowd. If we can show signs of getting on top early in games, then we can quieten the crowd and get on with our game. The Scum want the opposite of that. They want to make this a game of emotions and so above all, we have to keep our heads; no Rob Holding moments. Be cool, be calm, be collected and move the ball around with purpose.

The key will also be stopping off the supply line from Maddison. The Scum like to carry the ball and a lot of that happens through him – they are third in the league and ahead of us for progressive carries so when they have it from Sarr or Bissouma or Maddison, they’ll want to be driving at us and pulling us out of shape. That’s why I think it should absolutely be a back four of White, Saliba, Gabriel and Tomiyasu. Four duel merchants who have the discipline and structure to hold firm in the wake of Tottenham carries and driving at us. Then in front of them I’d go with Rice covering in at six. I’ve seen some suggestions about Jorginho today and Andrew on the Arseblog makes a good point about how open we were in the first half against Chelsea, but to me transitional games don’t suit Jorginho, they suit Partey, so having him in at six but Rice almost acting as a double pivot at times, makes sense. When the ball turns over, Partey will have that ability from a quick and transitional vertical passing lane approach to find out forwards and find them in space.

That’s also why I’d seriously consider Martinelli ahead of Trossard. Martinelli with green grass to run in to could be potent. Trossard is the man in tight spaces, but I don’t think this will be a tight space game, hence why I’m leaning towards our Brazilian wide forward.

And then up top after his two goals in midweek it has to be Havertz. He’s been in good form and he can be a handful for the Scum’s defenders. Maybe he can also rattle Romero a bit as well.

It’s going to be a horrible watch, I’m going to hate every minute of it, but if we can somehow get a win, that would be immense.

Right, I’m off to go and hide behind my sofa for the rest of the day.

Catch you guys tomorrow. I think we might also be doing a post match pod on the Same Old Arsenal after the game, but we haven’t decided yet as it might be result dependent!