The first North London Derby of the season is upon us, as Harry Redknapp brings last place Tottenham to the Emirates Stadium to face the Arsenal. Everyone involved with both clubs knows the passion, drama, and importance these games mean on and off the pitch, and as with every derby this one has its own special storyline. The Ramos Revolution is well and truly over with at White Hart Lane, and Spurs have brought in a manager that will surely have his players fired up, ready to fight till the very end to avoid another loss in the 08/09 edition of the Barclay’s Premier League.
Arsene Wenger wants to see his squad just play their game in this fixture. ‘I believe what is important tomorrow is how well Arsenal will play and not who sits on the bench at Tottenham.
‘We have put a run together and that has strengthened our belief.
‘We want now to go from strength to strength – we have come back to an interesting position in the league and we are highly convinced that it will be down to our strengths tomorrow more than anything else.’
The Frenchman is also not focusing at all on Harry. ‘I believe if there is one game that is a bit special, it is Tottenham versus Arsenal so I don’t think that will change a lot,’ he explained.
‘Certainly in the longer term future it will change things for Tottenham, the fact that Harry has taken over, but I believe in tomorrow’s specific game it is more about how well we will play and I believe that is more important than anything else.
‘I am very confident because we have a very strong united spirit in the dressing room and we want to do well.
‘We have shown that in recent games, we won at Fenerbahce, we won at West Ham, we have beaten Everton in a convincing way and we want to keep that going.’
Adebayor has taken pity on Spurs. “I think every player feels sorry for them,” Adebayor told talkSPORT Magazine.
“They have a strong team, good players and I’m sure that in a few months they’ll be back winning games. At the moment they lack confidence and when you lack confidence it’s always difficult to win games. But at the moment Tottenham are really bad.”
Redknapp will be hoping that his team will be able to ride the momentum of their first win of the season on Sunday against Bolton. ‘Going to the Emirates Stadium is always difficult and there will be a great atmosphere.
‘But I was impressed with how we played on Sunday [when Spurs beat Bolton 2-0].
‘I was also impressed with the players in training who weren’t even playing and if we can show our quality we will quickly move up the table.’
Arsenal Team News:
Denilson will return to the squad, but after Song’s great preformance against West Ham, Denny’s starting place is in some major doubt. Wenger confirmed in his own sneaky, clever way that he will have his first choice defense back for this game, as both Sagna and Kolo have recovered from their respective injuries.
Possible Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Walcott, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor
Player to watch: Emmanuel Adebayor
Adebayor has relished in the Pires like role of always being a thorn in Tottenham’s side. The Togolese international has a gifted knack of scoring against Spurs. Since his transfer to Arsenal in January of 2006, he has scored a grand total of 7 goals against Arsenal’s North London rivals. Add that to the massive confidence boost he received over the weekend, will no doubt see him cause all sorts of problems for Spurs.
Tottenham Team News:
Both of Spurs first choice centre backs are doubtful for this game. King has already played 2 games in a row so a visit to the treatment room is on the cards, and Woodgate is still struggling with a groin injury. Their next option at centre back is also out, because Micheal Dawson will still be suspended for his red card against Stoke. Though Gareth Bale will return to the squad.
Player to watch: Luka Modric
The young Croatian played his first good game for Spurs against Bolton, and he will hoping that he can continue his good form against Arsenal. There’s no doubt that when he plays for Croatia the quality is there, but since his move to White Hart Lane, he has yet to show it on a consistent basis. I suspect Song will be looking to mark the diminutive midfielder out of the contest.
Match Facts & Stats
Once again, van Persie will be looking to reach a half century of goals for the club.
Almunia will be making his 50th Premier League appearance for Arsenal.
Sagna will be making his 50th start for Arsenal.
Home and away
League (inc PL): Arsenal 59 wins, Spurs 45, Draws 38
Prem: Arsenal 13 wins, Spurs 5, Draws 14
at Arsenal only
League (inc PL): Arsenal 36 wins, Spurs 17, Draws 18
Prem: Arsenal 9 wins, Spurs 1, Draws 6
Martin Atkinson will be the head official for this big fixture. He has refereed 5 Premier League matches this season, handing out 13 yellows and no reds. His card per game count is 2.6.
This is not going to be a walk in the park like it would of been if Ramos was still managing, but Arsenal have the quality to break down this Tottenham side especially with their injuries in defense. I am going to say 3-0 to the Arsenal, with Adebayor scoring at least one and van Persie getting in on the act as well.
1/11– Stoke City(A)– Premier League
5/11– Fenerbache(H)– Champions League
8/11– Manchester United(H)– Premier League