It is the one game every fan looks for when the fixture list is announced; the North London derby. With much of England enjoying a media labelled ‘Indian Summer’, what better time for a game as big, and as feisty, as it is important to be thrown both Tottenham and Arsenal’s way.
Fortunately for the former, it is the latter that come in to the match as the out of form team. Wins over Bolton Wanderers and Olympiakos would have done the Gunners confidence a world of good but after conceding 12 goals in only two away games, many are expecting Harry Redknapp’s side to overcome the starting XI Arsene Wenger throws his direction.
With the match against Shamrock Rovers on Thursday not of real importance, it is likely Redknapp will be saving his best squad for Sunday. So while the likes of Tom Carroll, Danny Rose and Giovani Dos Santos will come against the Irish side, they trio are likely to make way for first-team regulars Luka Modric, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Gareth Bale for the visit of Arsenal.
And it is the Welshman who is likely to cause the Gunners back four a massive headache on the day, Martin Skrtel and Steve Gohouri the latest duo to suffer at the hands of last year’s PFA Player of the Year. Sunday will likely see him come up against Bacary Sagna at right-back and it is important Bale is playing to his full potential if he is to get the better of the Frenchman.
Emmanuel Adebayor will, no doubt, want to prove ‘do one’ over his former employers and is likely to be on the receiving end of a majority, if not all, of the Arsenal boo-boys. In the midfield, Scott Parker will have his hands full against the likelihood of the three-man midfield that has been employed by Wenger this season. If Sandro is available, I envisage that Redknapp will start the Brazilian alongside Parker to help stifle the creative influence of Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey.
Perhaps most importantly, if Ledley King starts, Spurs’ chances or victory increase substantially and he is likely to start again, if fit. It is coincidence that the last three league wins have seen the 30-year-old start at the back. King playing seems to give the team a lift and it’s no surprise his peers hold him in high regards.
Potential starting XI:
Friedel; Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Bale, Sandro, Parker Modric; Van der Vaart, Adebayor.
With Spurs picking up four points, compared to Arsenal’s one in the double-header between both sides last season, I am expecting a Spurs win, and a comprehensive 3-1 win for Spurs is on the cards with Adebayor, Van der Vaart and Bale to hit the back of the net for the home-side.
The Arsenal opinion can be found here