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Tottenham v Arsenal Key Battles: Kai Havertz 2/1 to Score Anytime and Cristian Romero 6/4 to be Booked

To say this weekend's North London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal has a lot riding on it would be an understatement, with Spurs chasing a top four place in the Premier League and the Gunners hunting down the title.

Tottenham v Arsenal

Premier League

Ange Postecoglou's side are well rested ahead of a crunch North London derby, with a fortnight in between their dismal 4-0 defeat at Newcastle in their last outing and the visit of Arsenal.

In that time Arteta's Gunners have played a total of four matches both domestically and in Europe, with Arsenal going into this weekend's derby match off the back of two shutout victories against Wolves and Chelsea in the Premier League.

Spurs have therefore had plenty time to stew over their ignominious loss at St James' Park and will be eager to make amends in the fixture which matters most to the club's supporters, who will enjoy nothing more than putting a spanner in the works of Arsenal's title bid.

For Arsenal, the latest edition of the North London derby represents one of the toughest challenges in their end of season run-in as they attempt to get their hands on a first Premier League title since the Invincibles team of 2003/04.

Ahead of this hotly-anticipated derby meeting, we take a look at some of the key one-v-one battles which could determine the match's outcome at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium...

Cristian Romero v Kai Havertz

If you were to suggest at the start of this Premier League season that Kai Havertz would be an integral member of a title-chasing Arsenal squad, you would have likely been met with derision.

This is exactly the case, however, with Germany international Havertz having proven a shrewd £65m capture from London rivals Chelsea last summer, with the lanky forward having contributed 17 goal contributions in all competitions this term to date.

Havertz's performances have continued to improve as this season has wore on and he has become more and more acclimatised with Mikel Arteta's system at Arsenal, with the ex-Bayer Leverkusen prospect heading into the North London derby off the back of a brace against former employers Chelsea in midweek.

Standing in Havertz's way of further plaudits this weekend is Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero, who is a player likely to relish the blood and thunder of a derby encounter.

Undeniably a talented defender, with Romero a key member of Argentina's World Cup-winning side of 2022, the ex-Atalanta man plays the game on the edge and can be over-zealous at times.

With Arsenal's Havertz an unconventional striker who often drops deep to link the play, the German's clever movement will require the aggressive Romero to remain switched on and disciplined at all times.

Cristian Romero to be Booked - 6/4

Cristian Romero Over 2.5 Tackles -

Kai Havertz to Score Anytime -

Kai Havertz to Score or Assist -

James Maddison v Declan Rice

With the midfield battle ever important at the highest level, whoever is able to have more influence on the latest edition of the North London derby between Spurs' James Maddison and Arsenal's Declan Rice could have a major bearing on the outcome of the match.

Both players are pivotal to their respective teams' approach, with Maddison the primary creative playmaker in Postecoglou's attack-minded Spurs machine whilst Rice is both the conductor and lighthouse at the base of Arsenal's engine room.

The fact Maddison has not been at his majestic best since recovering from an ankle injury at the end of January perhaps goes a long way towards explaining Spurs' recent indifferent form, with the ex-Leicester City playmaker registering just one goal and three assists in his last 11 Premier League matches.

Spurs supporters will hope Maddison is able to return to form quickly with Champions League qualification on the line, beginning with the visit of Arsenal in the North London derby.

On the other side of the North London divide, Arsenal's Declan Rice has been in sensational fettle of late, contributing two assists in the Gunners' 5-0 battering of Chelsea in their last outing.

In-form Rice is a player full of confidence at the moment, and he will seek to take control of the midfield at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and nullify any potential creative influence from England teammate Maddison.

James Maddison to Score Anytime - 10/3

James Maddison to Score or Assist -

Declan Rice Over 2.5 Tackles -

Declan Rice to be Booked -

Ben Davies v Bukayo Saka

Following the news Italian Destiny Udogie will miss the remainder of the Premier League campaign with a muscle injury, there is a spot to fill at left-back in Postecoglou's defence.

The Australian has options in this position having deployed Brazilian Emerson Royal at left-back on occasion earlier on in the campaign, but Welshman Ben Davies seems the most likely candidate to deputise in Udogie's absence.

A vastly experienced operator, Davies will be tested to the limit against one of the top wide players in the country in the form of Arsenal's Bukayo Saka in the North London derby, with the England international having recorded 14 goals and nine assists in the Premier League so far this season.

Although Saka is a winger with supreme technical quality capable of tying full-backs in knots, Wales stalwart Davies is a very competent one-v-one defender who will stick to his task.

The 31-year-old's capacity to keep Saka - one of the Gunners' key attacking weapons - at bay this weekend may just have a crucial bearing on which half of North London comes out on top in this pivotal encounter.

Ben Davies to be Booked - 7/2

Ben Davies Over 0.5 Fouls Committed -

Bukayo Saka to Score Anytime -

Bukayo Saka to Score or Assist -

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