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 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.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side travel to Aston Villa, was just as happy with a midweek League Cup win over Wigan.
“I spoke with the players before this game, telling them that we must always try and play in the same way as we did on Sunday,” Pellegrini said.
“We can change names but for me it was important to see today the same team we saw on Sunday - the same philosophy, the same intensity and of course, scoring 12 goals in a week is very important.”
United, who bounced back from their defeat at City by edging out Liverpool in the Cup in midweek, host West Bromwich Albion with manager David Moyes impressed by the character of his side.
“It was a big game for us,” he said. “We lost at Anfield a few weeks ago and at the Etihad last week, so we wanted to put that right.”
Bottom side Sunderland, managerless after the sacking of Paolo Di Canio, face Liverpool while second-bottom Crystal Palace travel to Southampton.
Fulham play Cardiff, West Ham travel to Hull, Stoke host Norwich and Everton take on Newcastle in the weekend's other matches. – Sapa-dpa