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Spurs aim to gun down new-look Arsenal
February 10, 2018
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London: Tottenham host Arsenal at Wembley this weekend aiming to crush the optimism created by the Gunners’ new-look forward line while the absent Riyad Mahrez will be missed by both teams at the Etihad.

Elsewhere, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea welcome West Brom with the Italian manager’s job looking precarious following embarrassing back-to-back defeats to Bournemouth and Watford.

Leaders Manchester City host Leicester, who will again be without Mahrez after he failed to force through a move to the Premier League leaders, while Manchester United travel to Newcastle and Southampton welcome back Virgil van Dijk in a Liverpool shirt.

Excitement coursed around the Emirates last weekend as Arsenal’s club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on his debut and Henrikh Mkhitaryan conjured three assists in a 5-1 demolition of Everton.

A tougher task awaits at Wembley on Saturday against a high-flying Tottenham side, who have not lost in 11 games.

Spurs are currently in fifth but would climb into third -- at least temporarily -- with victory and move seven points ahead of sixth-placed Arsenal.

Mauricio Pochettino’s squad looks in fine shape to handle the demands of three competitions in the coming months with the return of Erik Lamela, Victor Wanyama, Harry Winks and Serge Aurier from injury to complement the arrival of Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain.

Mahrez no-show

Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez could have been lining up for Manchester City this weekend and he should certainly be playing for Leicester.

Saturday’s match at the Etihad will be the third consecutive league game the winger has missed since Pep Guardiola’s City failed to get their man on Jan.31, transfer deadline day. Mahrez, 26, has not even trained with the mid-table Foxes since his dream move to the Premier League leaders collapsed.

“Riyad is not available for Saturday’s game,” said Leicester boss Claude Puel.

Guardiola’s men could also do with extra numbers in attack as they prepare for a run of four games in four different competitions before the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte said he would not lose sleep over the possibility of losing his job following a 4-1 defeat at Watford and he has a great chance to turn the corner with a match against bottom club West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

With a series of ominous-looking ties looming, failure to win could see a new boss put in charge for the business end of the season at a club used to dispensing with their managers just months after winning silverware.

Chelsea face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Feb.20 before visiting both Manchester United and Manchester City in the league and then making the return trip to the Camp Nou on March 14.

Agence France-Presse

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