Tottenham vs Arsenal: Key Battles

ESPNSTAR.com's Kelvin Tan takes a closer look at the key battles that could decide the outcome of Arsenal's visit to Tottenham on Sunday night.

The Dutchman celebrates his double.

After a lacklustre start to the Premier League season, Arsenal seem to be regaining some semblance of form with three successive wins in all competitions. 

But their visit to Tottenham Hotspur promises to be another trial by fire - especially with the Lilywhites having reinforced well during the summer, bringing in ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor and former West Ham midfielder Scott Parker.

Here are some of the key face-offs at White Hart Lane.

Ledley King vs Robin van Persie

This game will showcase two of the Barclays Premier League most injury-prone players, and both King and Van Persie will be desperate to try to ensure that they remain fit the rest of this season, unlike previous years.

Interestingly enough, both players are also in fine form, with King having played in Tottenham's last three fixtures, and helping Spurs concede just one measly goal in three matches against Wolves, Liverpool and Wigan.

The Dutchman, on the other hand, will be confident in his own abilities, having scored 5 goals in 8 appearances for the Gunners this season, and this battle royale of the club captains could well prove decisive.

Rafael van der Vaart vs Alex Song

Rafael van der Vaart will certainly be someone Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will single out ahead of this clash. He scored a brace in last season's 3-3 thriller at White Hart Lane and was heavily influential in his side's 3-2 win at the Emirates as well.

Van der Vaart seems to have formed an ominous partnership with Emmnauel Adebayor - the duo combining within just three minutes of their first start together to score against Wigan.

Song will be the man tasked with stifling the playmaker, and the Cameroonian must halt van der Vaart's late runs into the Arsenal penalty box, or the Gunners could find themselves hit by the Dutchman yet again.

Scott Parker vs Aaron Ramsey

Since his move from West Ham at a bargain price of £5 million, the 2010/11 Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year has proved to be a revelation at White Hart Lane, powering their engine room with the strength of his tackles and some well-timed passes.

The 30-year-old's pass completion rate is superb, at 88.9%, and this will be a test for young Ramsey, who has not really convinced since his return from a broken leg in November last year.

However, the nature of young players is their ability to surprise and excel in moments like these, and the Welshman will certainly be up for the battle. If Ramsey can work closely with Song and Arteta, the Gunners could hold their own in central midfield.

Gareth Bale vs Bacary Sagna

Bale vs Sagna will be one of the most exciting face-offs in this fixture, with the Frenchman, arguably the Gunners' best defender, taking on the exciting Welshman down the flanks.

The Tottenham winger will be keen to show why he won the PFA Player of the Year award last season, and has been in fine form so far, especially against Liverpool and Wigan, where he terrorised both Martin Skrtel and Steve Gohouri into sending-offs.

Sagna would do well to watch video tapes of Bale's previous performances, when the Welshman scored the winning goal in a 2-1 derby loss in April 2010, as well as his effort during their 3-2 win at the Emirates last season.

Emmanuel Adebayor vs Per Mertesacker

The ex-Werder Bremen central defender has endured a trial-by-fire in the Barclays Premier League - especially during the shock 4-3 defeat to Blackburn Rovers, and he will face even tougher opposition in the form of Emmanuel Adebayor, who can be unplayable on his day.

Interestingly enough, the ex-Arsenal forward has improved under the tutelege of Jose Mourinho during a loan spell at Real Madrid last season, and has shown that since joining up with Harry Redknapp at Spurs on loan from Manchester City, scoring three time in three appearances.

For once though, the Gunners will have someone with an advantage in the air against Adebayor, as the German is three inches taller than the Togo striker, and Arsenal fans will hope that Mertesacker will show the form that he has displayed to earn 76 caps for Germany and stop the rampaging Tottenham striker from celebrating anything in front of them at White Hart Lane.



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