ARSENAL are preparing for their North London derby against Spurs - and will be without the suspended Eddie Nketiah.
But on the transfer front the Gunners are edging closer to a deal for Thomas Partey while long time target Luka Jovic is reported to be available.
Follow all the latest Arsenal news and transfer gossip below..
Mark Halsey has called for refs chief Mike Riley to quit after the latest set of Premier League blunders.
Under-fire VAR chiefs admitted they cocked up with THREE penalty errors at Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Everton alone on Thursday night.
Halsey told SunSport: “Everyone has a shelf-life and the time has come for Mike Riley to step down.
“We have seen a steady decline in the standard of officiating and things are getting worse.
“The implementation of VAR has been a disaster and the buck stops with Mike.
“We need an overhaul and the time is now for change.”
ROC AND A HARD PLACE
Arsenal may fancy rekindling their interest in Spanish midfielder Marc Roca, according to reports.
Football.London reckon the Gunners will be keen on bidding for Roca after his Espanyol side were relegated from LaLiga.
The highly-rated 23-year-old is said to have a £35.8million release clause.
'I'M NOT READY'
A gay Premier League footballer has revealed the daily torment of keeping his sexuality secret from his team-mates.
In an open letter — aimed at authorities and fans — he says he is taking the “huge step” of opening up over his ordeal
But he says football is not ready for an openly gay player and he is scared to reveal his identity.
He is being supported by the Justin Fashanu Foundation, run by the tragic footballer’s niece Amal.
In it the player writes: “I am gay. Even writing that down in this letter is a big step for me.
“But only my family members and a select group of friends are aware of my sexuality. I don’t feel ready to share it with my team or my manager.”
Read the letter here.
Arsenal have backed Thierry Henry for his incredible stand against racism on the touchline in MLS.
The Gunners legend took a knee for the first eight minutes and 46 seconds of Montreal Impact's game against New England Revolution, wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and raising his first in the air in support of the campaign.
After the match, he said: “I sat down for eight minutes, 46 seconds, I guess you guys know why. That was just to pay tribute. That was it, simple.”
TRIP TO SPAIN
Sevilla are taking a close look at Hector Bellerin, according to reports in Spain.
Estadio Deportivo report on the LaLiga side sporting director Monchi being a big fan of the Arsenal right-back.
The position is a key area of improvement for Sevilla and they may be able to tempt Bellerin with a spot in next season’s Champions League – although both player and club will take some persuading to do a deal.
DOU YOU WANNA?
Arsenal should not be worried about Matteo Guendouzi being poached by Barcelona, according to Nigel Winterburn.
The former defender believes the outcast midfielder, linked to the Camp Nou, will not be highly-rated enough by the LaLiga giants to fork over the Gunners’ price tag.
IBTimes quote Winterburn as telling bookmakers.co.uk: “I think there would need to be a huge improvement in Guendouzi’s game for Barcelona to be willing to take him.
“He’s a young kid who’s made big improvements but there’s a long way to go, so that would surprise me if it turns out to be true.”
“Arsenal wouldn’t just let him go easily even if they do decide to sell him, it would need to be a substantial fee, so would Barcelona think he’s worth the risk?
“If the price is right, maybe, but it seems like a bit of a long shot to me.”
DEL OF A CHANCE
Tottenham will not be able to welcome back Dele Alli to their team for Sunday’s North London derby.
The club have this afternoon confirmed the midfielder’s absence due to a hamstring issue.
Eric Dier is also absent as he serves his four-game ban.
AUBA TO YOU
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will reportedly only consider signing new terms with Arsenal if no other offers are put on the table.
The 31-year-old has just one year left on his deal at the Emirates and is understood to be seeking £250,000-a-week.
As reported by Italian sports journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Gunners have offered Aubameyang the same contract that they did in December and he will consider it in the next few weeks if no other clubs contact him.
The Gunners striker has been strongly linked with a transfer to either Barcelona, Chelsea or Real Madrid for a price as low as £20million.
Arsenal face competition from AC Milan and Valencia for Dani Ceballos after boss Mikel Arteta admitted he is in talks to keep the Real Madrid loanee.
Arteta is “really happy” with Ceballos after the Spain playmaker turned round a muted start to his first season in the Premier League.
The Express claim a growing list of rivals, including Real Betis, are also keen on borrowing the 23-year-old next term.
Ceballos is chasing a Euro 2021 spot and fears he would be out of favour if he returned to parent club Real under Zinedine Zidane.
But Arsenal's chances of retaining the former Betis star could be weakened by their likely failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Gary Neville has claimed that Premier League VAR officials are “frightened” to overrule decisions made by the on-site referee.
In most leagues implementing video technology, it is customary for the on-field official to consult a pitch-side monitor for big decisions.
He tweeted: “On VAR. Send the Ref to the screens for goodness sake!
“The 'we know better' than Europe way is failing badly. The officials off-site are frightened to death to overrule on-site colleagues.”
Earlier in the season, Arsenal had a huge call go against them as Sokratis' late winner versus Crystal Palace was chalked off – which referees' boss Mike Riley later confirmed was the wrong decision.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester, Sheffield United, Wolves and Arsenal will all be united in watching the news ticker on Monday.
That is because the Court of Arbitration for Sport will be announcing their decision of Manchester City’s appeal of their two-year suspension from the Champions League.
The Citizens deny any wrongdoing after Uefa punished the club for Financial Fair Play breaches.
And, should they lose their appeal, fifth place will suddenly be good enough to reach next season’s Champions League…
A few names are set to be absent for Sunday's North London derby.
Arsenal will be without Eddie Nketiah after the striker's appeal over his red card against Leicester was rebuffed.
Lucas Torreira is also set to be absent on his long road back from injury.
Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli are all unavailable.
Otherwise, Mikel Arteta looks to have a settled side ready to pick from – with Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil likely to be outcast once again.
WOMEN'S TEAM SIGNING
Arsenal Women have signed Noelle Maritz.
The Swiss international can play across the defence and arrives from the German champions Wolfsburg.
OPEN THE GATES
Gareth Southgate will be keeping tabs on Mason Greenwood, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka in the FA Cup semi-finals when he attends his first matches since lockdown.
The England boss has been given the all clear by the FA to attend the semi-final clashes between Manchester United and Chelsea, and Man City and Arsenal.
Southgate has been watching his England aces from the comfort of his North Yorkshire home.
But according to The Daily Mail, he is set to venture to Wembley next weekend to evaluate the players up close, as preparations heat up for September's UEFA Nations League games Iceland and Denmark.
COUT OF ORDER
Barcelona are reportedly confident that Philippe Coutinho will make a return to England this summer.
Catalan outlet Esport3 claim that the Brazilian's agent Kia Joorabchian is working on a Premier League transfer amid interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, while Man Utd and Chelsea have also been linked.
The report adds that Bayern Munich, who had Coutinho on loan this term, have not yet been ruled out as a permanent option.
The 28-year-old, who pockets around £240,000-a-week, has already agreed a reported 50 per cent pay cut to stay at the Bavarians until August.
The Bundesliga champions still have the option of landing the playmaker on a permanent deal for £108million at the end of the season.
But with Bayern likely to turn their attentions elsewhere, Coutinho has been linked with a move back to the Premier League.
Arsenal have reportedly offered Barcelona and Atletico Madrid the chance to sign Matteo Guendouzi.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the LaLiga teams are just two of many clubs that the Gunners have offered the Frenchman too.
Inter Milan are understood to be keen to sign the 21-year-old.
But it is believed that Barca are currently in pole position in the race to sign him.
LOOK OUS TALKING
Arsenal and Man Utd target Ousmane Dembele is reportedly available for £53.7million.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are keen to get him off their books.
It has been stated that the Red Devils have identified the French winger as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund ace Jadon Sancho.
He is seen as a cheaper option, but there remains concerns over his fitness.
THIER WE GO
Thierry Henry took a knee for the first eight minutes and 46 seconds of Montral Impact's game against New England Revolution.
The Arsenal legend wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and raised his first in the air in support of the campaign.
All of the players from both of the Major League Soccer teams took a knee in solidarity before kick-off, but when the game began, Henry remained on his knee.
The 42-year-old stayed in the same position for the same amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd.
After the match, he said: “I sat down for eight minutes 46 seconds, I guess you guys know why. That was just to pay tribute. That was it, simple.”
Henry's side went on to lose the match 1-0 after a goal from Gustavo Bou.
Mikel Arteta has called for the Premier League to hold a summer referendum with referees to discuss the increasing concern with the game about the application of VAR.
He said: “Referees are under so much pressure and criticism but I know they try their best with the decisions that they have to make.
“Some of them are very complicated and we don't know how they are judging the situation but I'm sure they have the right intentions.
“At the end of the season, I think that is something that has to go into debate. We need to agree on some principles that we're going to apply, so at least every decision has the same raised level of determination, basically.
“Things are getting more complicated because of the speed of the game and how quickly they have to react, and the pressure they have with the new VAR system as well.
“At the moment we complain that we don't have the fans and we realise how important they are.
“Maybe one day we won't have referees and we're going to say, 'Wow, they were crucial for this game to work'. So we have to support them.”
Arsenal travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday for the first time since 2017, looking to put some daylight between themselves and their bitter rivals Spurs in the Premier League table.
On that day, Tottenham sealed finishing above their neighbours for the first time since 1995 courtesy of a 2-0 victory in a sun-soaked North London.
But with Spurs having, to this point, endured an even worse season than their nearest and least dear – the Gunners will feel they have a great opportunity end a run of three years behind the Lilywhites.
Here's how the Gunners could line-up.
A HELPING HAND
The Premier League will introduce a new, amended handball rule next season – which would have seen some high-profile disallowed goals this term stand.
Recent efforts from Harry Kane and Riyad Mahrez are among those to have been chalked off by VAR this season.
Both were disallowed because of the ball striking an arm in the build-up – but the International Football Association Board (IFAB) have agreed to relax the handball law next term.
Currently, if the ball has struck an arm in the lead-up to a goal, it is to be disallowed by the on-field referee.
But next time out, goals will only be ruled out if the handball occurs “immediately” before the effort goes in.
This wording suggests that the essence of the rule is that a player cannot score directly with their arm – with intent inconsequetial.
Under the new law, Kane's effort against Sheffield United and Mahrez's late fifth against Liverpool would have been allowed to stand.
ARTETA ON MOURINHO CONTINUED
“He has a very clear way of playing and how he manages games. Clean sheets are a big thing that he wants to do, but don’t forget his teams always score a lot of goals and they are really successful and he’s been able to win titles because of that.
“I think in a long period they’ve had a lot of injuries so he hasn’t had the chance to be consistent with his team and that’s a big disadvantage.
“But I know people that have worked with him and he always finds a way to be successful and I’m sure he’ll do it again.”
“Maybe one day we won't have referees and we're going to say, 'Wow, they were crucial for this game to work'. So we have to support them.”
Commenting on Mourinho's famous mind games, he said: ““The success Jose has had has not been from the press conference, it's the way that his teams perform on the pitch and the amount of football games that he has been able to win.
“Obviously obviously you need to know how to deal with the media but the main thing is what you do on the pitch.”
Mikel Arteta is backing Jose Mourinho to silence his Tottenham critics and turn Arsenal’s arch rivals into a team of winners.
He said: “I have huge respect for Jose and what he’s trying to do there and we know we’ll have to do everything really well to get a win there on Sunday.
“Tottenham have had some ups and downs but you can clearly see what Jose wants to bring to the club. He manages the energy, the momentum and establishes a really strong culture in every football club.
“And he always makes sure that he wins and he's won in every single club that he's been at.
“Obviously the situation and the timing when he arrived is different than starting a new project right from the summer, but I'm sure he will be successful because he always finds the right way to do it.”
BETTING TIPS – TOTTENHAM VS ARSENAL (Ladbrokes)
Arsenal have won just one of the last six North London derbies on enemy soil, with the meeting at the Emirates earlier in the campaign ending in a 2-2 stalemate.
In fact both of the last two meetings between the sides have ended in a draw – and we reckon this one might be headed the same way.
With plenty at stake – and Mourinho seemingly settling for a defensive, cautious approach these days – it's difficult to see a high-scoring affair.
Five of Spurs' last six top-flight games have seen less than three goals, while Arsenal haven't score more than two away from home in 14 road trips.
Back the draw at a very healthy 12/5, while a small play on the sides repeating the 1-1 draw they played out here last season is too big at 11/2.
We don't expect a goal-fest either way and under 2.5 goals – a winner in six of the last eight North London derbies – is a huge price at even money.
If you do want a goalscorer bet, look no further than Harry Kane in this fixture, at 13/10, he's the value pick.