White Hart Lane gears up for what promises to be a cracker, it generally is when Arsenal and the team down the seven sisters road, that plays on Thursday nights, the mighty Tottenham Hotspurs face off. It is the second most entertaining fixture in terms of goals in premier league history 4-4, 4-5, 3-3 and a couple of 5-2’s to Arsenal. Spurs don’t need reminding of that. But I would take a very tepid, dull 1-0 Arsenal win at this stage of the season and leave Tottenham forever in our shadows. They never were out of it, were they?Both teams could ill afford to lose and 3 points for the Gunners could be the fillip they desperately need after the lengthy injury list, or is it the TGV?
Tottenham Hotspurs – DWWLWL
Spurs were in festive mood last week, still hungover from the Christmas party, as evident from goals they gifted Chelsea. Tim Sherwood, apparently a boyhood gunner publicly lashed out at his players after their Stamford Bridge debacle. They lost the midweek Europa league game to Benfica and if they were to lose the derby, it would leave themselves too much to catch up in the race for the fourth spot. The home side too have their treatment room crammed, at least they could compete on that front with Arsenal. Sherwood may go with one up front and shore up the midfield to match the gunners in that area of the pitch. He was found tactically wanting in the FA cup game at the Emirates when they were completely overrun in the middle. He definitely wouldn’t want that.
OUT- Chirches, Dawson, Capoue, Lamela
DOUBTFUL- Adebayor, Dembele, Walker
Arsene Wenger pressed on the need for three points and a win becomes even more important after Chelsea’s defeat at Villa park. Draw or lose the title is all but gone. Ozil is the latest on that dreaded list and at least we have Kallstrom returning. Who knows he may come off the bench, con Walker into a foul and scores a last minute winner from 40 yards. In the absence of Ozil, Cazorla and Rosicky must shoulder the responsibility. Podolski was fantastic in the second half in the Bayern game and he could be the Ljunberg, we desperately need. Flamini may start with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle and it’s to this team’s credit that when the chips are down, someone steps up and delivers. Lets step it up Gunners.
OUT- Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Wilshere, Diaby
MAN TO WATCH
Spurs- Emmanuel Adebayor
The former Gunner is Sherwood’s talisman and he has responded positively since the Spurs coach drafted him into the team. He will be pumped up for this game and Mertesacker and Koscielny would do well to stop the Togo forward. Last time when he played against us in the cup, he found himself disoriented in Koscielny’s pocket.
Arsenal- Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
The Ox, if he starts will look to exert himself in the game. He was brilliant in Munich and if he can replicate that performance, we have a great chance to put one over Spurs at White Hart Lane, where our recent record is not so good. I believe he can do what Ramsey did in the first half of the season.
This is Arsene’s 999th game in charge of Arsenal and what better than a win against your old foes. Spurs have had 11 managers since 1996 and none have outshone Arsene Wenger and that says it all. There is only one Arsene Wenger.