Arsenal have suffered a potential blow ahead of the all-important North London derby in two weeks time after Nicolas Pepe was ruled out of the clash after receiving his marching orders in the Gunners’ 0-0 draw against Leeds United on Sunday.

Tottenham’s 2-0 over Manchester City and Leicester’s subsequent loss against Liverpool on Sunday means that Spurs now sit at the top of the table with nine games played.

Jose Mourinho has played down the significance of sitting at the summit of the standings as his side now have two difficult derby clashes against Chelsea and Arsenal coming up in the next few weeks.

While the game against Chelsea could prove a big test of both team’s title credentials after the excellent start the Blues have made to the season, it is fair to say that Spurs fans might be looking forward to the North London Derby given how poor Arsenal have been over recent weeks.

It has now been confirmed that Mikel Arteta’s side will travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium without Pepe after the Ivorian received a straight red for his headbutt on Leeds defender Ezgjan Alioski.

Pepe has been handed a three-match ban which will be a blow to Arsenal, who have struggled to score goals this season.

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