Rivals Arsenal and Tottenham look to keep pace

LONDON. Arsenal and Tottenham, two rivals steeped in history, will look to keep pace with one another at the top of the English Premier League this weekend.

LONDON. Arsenal and Tottenham, two rivals steeped in history, will look to keep pace with one another at the top of the English Premier League this weekend.

The two north London rivals sit together on 12 points from their first five matches, two points clear of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Both sides have invested heavily in the transfer market this summer and though they each lost one match, they have begun to repay their initial outlay.

Arsenal take their squad, including Mesut Ozil, to Swansea, while Tottenham take on Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

The arrival of Ozil, for 42 million pounds (67 million dollars) from Real Madrid, has galvanised an Arsenal side that rebounded from an opening-day defeat by Aston Villa with four straight wins.

The Germany forward has impressed in his outings so far and manager Arsene Wenger believes his side’s togetherness helped them bounce back to reach the top of the table.

“The fact that we could say ‘look guys, we have been together for a while, we know that we have bounced back before, let’s do that again’. That is where the stability is important,” Wenger said.

“I would say mental togetherness, desire to win, motivational level and hunger, and of course on top of that, quality.

“I believe maybe the shock of the first home defeat as well, but overall if you consider the long-term run we are on since March you can say that this group has been remarkably consistent. That shows some special quality in my opinion.”

Having reinvested the world record 86 million pounds they received from Real Madrid for Gareth Bale, Tottenham are full of confidence as they welcome Chelsea to White Hart Lane.

The new signings, including Paulinho, who scored the winner last weekend at Cardiff, are all bedding in well but it is the return to fitness of Jermain Defoe that has also sparked their boost in form.

The England striker moved up to fifth in the all-time Tottenham goalscoring list in midweek with his 139th goal and said he was enjoying his time.

“I look at all the great players in the top 10 and to be fifth, it’s a dream,” he said.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much as it’s a long season but of course it’s at the back of my mind every time I go on the pitch because I want to score. It’s something special and I want to keep it going.”

Behind the top two, the chase is already on with Manchester City riding high after Sunday’s 4-1 drubbing of champions and neighbours Manchester United.

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