Arsenal vs Tottenham – Five key players to watch out for

Arsenal face Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the Premier League in what is expected to be a cracker jacker of a North London Derby.


Both clubs have started the 2023/24 Premier League season strongly with four wins and a draw from their opening five fixtures. But Arsenal will head into the derby as slight favourites, having not lost to their North London neighbours at home in the league since November 2010.

Spurs will be looking to reverse their fortunes at the Emirates Stadium but will have to be at their best to stop a rampant Gunners side, who destroyed PSV Eindhoven in their Champions League group-stage opener on Wednesday.

Ahead of what promises to be an entertaining and feisty encounter between North London rivals, here is a look at five key players to watch in the Arsenal vs Tottenham game. Before that, check the predicted Arsenal lineup against Spurs.

  1. Bukayo Saka

When it comes to Arsenal, one cannot look past Bukayo Saka. The England international has started the new campaign in top fashion with three goals and four assists. He was sublime in Arsenal’s 4-0 rout of PSV in the Champions League fixture in midweek, scoring the opener with a fine low finish with his weaker right foot.

Given the form Saka is in at the moment, Spurs will have to come up with a strong plan to stop the Arsenal star.

  1. Yves Bissouma

Yves Bissouma has been one of Tottenham’s best players under Ange Postecoglou, rediscovering the mojo that made him a star at Brighton. He has started all of Spurs’ five league games, sitting at the base of the midfield and dictating the flow of the game.

The Mali international will look to break up play and stifle Arsenal’s technically skilled midfielders. Spurs need the 27-year-old at his best again on Sunday. And if Bissouma performs at the highest level in the middle of the park, Spurs can potentially run Arsenal close, perhaps even beat them at the Emirates after more than a decade’s time.

  1. Declan Rice

The midfield battle will determine which team comes out on top in the meeting between Arsenal and Spurs. The traditional wisdom suggests that the Gunners will dominate the proceedings. With that in mind, Declan Rice comes into the picture.

Rice, joining from West Ham in a club-record fee in the summer, has added the physicality and power Arsenal’s midfield was in dire need of and he will look to take control of the game as early as possible. It will be intriguing to watch how the 25-year-old nullifies his compatriot James Maddison’s influence in the game as well as provides a base for Arsenal’s creative players to take centre stage on Sunday.

  1. Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard arsenal

Another Arsenal player to watch out for in the North London derby is star Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard. The beating heart of this Arsenal side, Odegaard produced a Man of the Match display against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, scoring a goal in the process.

The 24-year-old may not be a prolific goalscorer, but his ability to create chances makes him as good as anybody. A leader on the pitch, Odegaard will look to pull the strings in midfield and help the home side run rings around Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs.

  1. Cristian Romero

Cristian Romero has played a crucial role in Tottenham’s bright start to the season. After enduring a tumultuous campaign last year, he seems to have settled down well under Postecoglou in defence, helping Spurs cut out the worst of threats with an aggressive, no-nonsense brand of defending.

The World Cup winner will face a stern test from Arsenal’s ruthless forwards. Romero must be wary about keeping his calm in a heated game and atmosphere and take responsibility for marshalling Spurs’ troops from the back.

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