Arsenal are riding some recent positive results heading into their Sunday match against local rival Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Manager Arsene Wenger has been subject to a great deal of criticism in the past two months, but it now seems that the long-time Gunners boss has at least temporarily silenced some critics with victories over Blackburn in the Premier League, as well as a Champions League victory over Olympiakos earlier this week.
Arsenal didn't have Robin van Persie or Aaron Ramsey in the starting lineup against Olympiakos on Wednesday in the interest of resting the two starters for the Tottenham match. Wenger remains burdened with an injury-plagued squad. Midfielder Yossi Benayoun and centre back Sebastien Squillaci both returned from injury this this weekend, but Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby are all out.
Wingers Theo Walcott (knee) and Gervinho (hamstring) should be game-time decisions due to fitness.
Arsenal can expect a tough battle against Spurs, as their past April match that ended 3-3 is still fresh in the memory of both sides.
Manager Harry Redknapp's squad is also riding some momentum, after humiliating losses to the Manchester clubs by a combined scored of 8-1, as Spurs have won three consecutive matches, including a 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool.
Redknapp will field a makeshift defense due to injuries. Former Arsenal defender William Gallas won't be available for Tottenham after suffering a fresh calf injury this week, and Michael Dawson and Tom Hoddlestone are also sidelined.
Midfielder Steven Pienaar is available for his first game of the season after a groin strain, and Aaron Lennon will be a game-time decision due groin stiffness.
Tottenham have two players to watch for. Wenger recently mentioned that he wanted to add Luka Modric to his squad, a midfielder that has been the subject of a many transfer rumours this past summer. Redknapp expects to have a new deal in place for Modric, and the Croatian has been in good form this season. He was heavily pursued by Chelsea.
Emmanuel Adebayor remains one of the most hated players by Arsenal fans, but when tested, he often responds to the challenge. The contentious forward has apologized for his past problems with Arsenal since leaving Emirates in 2009, but he will still receive many jeers on Sunday.
Before the season, both Arsenal and Tottenham were projected to be slotted behind Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool, so this will be a very competitive match as both might be fighting for a Champions League spot by the end of the season.
The North London battle should be an entertaining one, as most of their past matches have been.
D: Sagna, Mertesacker, Song, Gibbs
M: Frimpong, Arteta, Ramsey
F: Gervinho, van Persie, Arshavin
D: Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto
M: Krancjar, Parker, Modric, Bale
F: Defoe, Adebayor
PREDICTION: Like the last time these two clubs played, Arsenal will jump on the board first as Arteta will make himself active in the earlier going, and van Persie and Gervinho will make their presence felt against a rather hesitant Spurs defense. But Tottenham will storm back as Adebayor and Modric will each have a big second half and give Alex Song and Emmanuel Frimpong trouble in central defense, spoiling the Gunners' early lead. This match should be another one to remember.
PREDICTED SCORE: Tottenham 2, Arsenal 2