London, England – It's time for the season's first North London derby, and all bets are off.
Arsenal and Tottenham will meet at the Emirates on Saturday, and both sides will fancy their chances of picking up three points for the first time in three weeks.
Neither side is in particularly good form despite their encouraging positions in the table. Both clubs have won just one league match in their last four outings. Arsenal's last Premier League victory came at home in a London derby as it defeated QPR 1-0 on October 27, while Tottenham's most recent league win came one day later when it topped Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary's.
The fact that both clubs are stuttering is a great equalizer, though there isn't much between to the two sides to begin with. They are separated by just a single point as Tottenham occupies seventh place with 17 points and Arsenal sits eighth on 16 points.
It will be a crucial tilt, and Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny believes that all form goes out the window in such a vital derby match.
"It's a massive game, and it doesn't really matter what form you are in when it comes around," Szczesny told Arsenal's official website. "Both teams have had some disappointing results recently, but it's all about commitment in this one and I'm confident we can go out there and get the job done."
Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen underlined the importance of the game, plainly stating that it's a 'special one.'
"This isn't a normal game - it's a special one," the defender told Arsenal's website. "Practically, we need to get three points on the board, but I think it would give both the fans and the team a massive boost if we won."
On the other side, a positive result for Tottenham would put the finishing touches on a memorable week for Steven Caulker. The 20-year-old became the third-youngest player to be capped for England and made his debut even more special by becoming the youngest-ever scorer for the national team, putting the Three Lions in front in their 4-2 loss to Sweden.
Caulker made his full Tottenham debut against Arsenal in a league cup match two years ago and faced the Gunners last season when he was on loan at Swansea City, but now he will head to the Emirates wearing the white kit of the Spurs first team as a regular contributor.
"It would be a little surreal for me, just over two years later, to play Arsenal again this time in a Spurs shirt," Caulker told Tottenham's official website. "It's something I've always wanted to do."
Elsewhere on Saturday, Manchester United will put its five-game winning run to the test when it heads to Carrow Road to face Norwich City. The Red Devils lead the Premier League with 27 points, while the Canaries, unbeaten in their last four league contests, have managed just 11 points in as many games.
Also on Saturday, Liverpool hosts Wigan at Anfield, Aston Villa heads to the Etihad to face Manchester City, Newcastle welcomes Swansea City to Sports Direct Arena, QPR and Southampton square off at Loftus Road, Everton takes on Reading at the Madejski, and Chelsea faces West Bromwich at the Hawthorns.
On Sunday, Fulham hosts Sunderland at Craven Cottage and on Monday, West Ham welcomes Stoke City to Upton Park.