Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier has warned Arsenal that they will face the best version of Christian Eriksen when the two sides meet on Saturday.
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Spurs and the Gunners will square off in a lunchtime kick off at the Emirates Stadium in a crucial North London derby. However, Dier thinks that team mate Eriksenâ€™s recent form could play a major role in seeing all three points return to White Hart Lane.
â€œHeâ€™s obviously coming very high on confidence now,â€ the 23-year-old Tottenham star said in an interview with The Telegraph.
â€œIt’s great for Tottenham he’s continuing to excel.
â€œWe’re seeing the best Christian Eriksen we’ve ever seen at the moment. Hopefully, he can keep going.â€
The Denmark international lead his country to an impressive 5-1 hammering of the Republic of Ireland in the second leg of their World Cup qualification play-off in Dublin on Wednesday, finishing the match with an accomplished hat trick and ensuring that the Danes will travel to Russia next summer.
That form could be decisive if the Tottenham playmaker is able to replicate it against the Gunners on Saturday. Spurs are currently in third place after the first eleven games and victory would extend their lead over their bitter rivals, who lie in sixth, to seven points; a potentially decisive margin even at this early stage of the season.
Dier says that his team will go all out for the win – but history is not on their side.
Tottenham have only won one of their last 28 away fixtures against the Gunners but for many observers, Mauricio Pochettinoâ€™s men head into Saturdayâ€™s crunch clash as slight favourites. The Argentine coach will be desperate to correct a poor travelling record against top six rivals, with his Spurs side having won just once in 16 attempts.
A win gains even greater significance given that the hectic festive period is just around the corner. The North London derby aside, Premier League and Champions League commitments mean that Tottenham are scheduled to play a gruelling 11 games before the end of 2017.
Pochettino has enjoyed the luxury of resting three of his key players ahead of Saturdayâ€™s clash, with Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Harry Winks all pulling out of international commitments.
Although key Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld is certain to miss the game with a hamstring strain, Spurs could be boosted by the return of club captain Hugo Lloris, with the French goalkeeper on the verge of making a comeback from an injury sustained against Real Madrid last month.
No matter who lines up for either team, matches between the two rarely disappoint as football fans gear up for what promises to be yet another North London cracker.
Get involved in the game! Watch this exclusive TAG Heuer panel debate between David Seaman and Tim Sherwood ahead of the North London derby (live from Friday, 3pm) and then take the TAG Heuer Premier League Pressure Test to have the chance to win tickets to see your team live!