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North London Derby: Arsenal vs. Tottenham

Six-Pointer: This match could save or ruin Arsenal’s season. Spurs hold a four-point lead over Arsenal for the fourth Champions League place. A win would pull Arsenal within a point. A loss would drop them seven points back (five points from Chelsea) with 10 matches to play. They would have to hope either Tottenham or Chelsea collapsed. Besides prestige, a spot in the Champions League group stage is worth around $60 million.

Turning Point: Arsenal and Tottenham met on Feb. 26 last season. The Gunners came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Spurs 5-2. It was a turning point for both clubs. Arsenal picked up the pace. Tottenham won just one of its next nine matches in the league. The Gunners overturned a 10-point deficit to qualify for the Champions League. Arsenal also won their meeting this season 5-2, though both those matches were at home.

Gareth Bale: The Tottenham star has been on fire of late, scoring six goals in their last four league matches. Arsenal has no special plan for dealing with him or anyone. With an error-prone defense on the best of days and neophyte Carl Jenkinson filling in for Bacary Sagna at right back, that does not bode well.

The Takeover: The Telegraph is reporting a Middle East Consortium wants to buy Arsenal and is willing to bid $2.3 billion for a 100-percent shareholding. The deal would value the $647 million in shares Stan Kroenke obtained in April 2011 at $1.25 billion. Arsenal fans would have to sacrifice their pride, but in exchange would get long-awaited transfer funding, the club’s stadium debt wiped out and lower ticket prices. Arsenal owners claim they have no interest in selling.

Prediction: Arsenal on the road, in a hostile environment with everything on the line? Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal.

[Photo via Getty]

 

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