24th February, 2012
With the number of clubs in London, there is a derby happening every week in some league, but when it comes to top of the list, Arsenal vs Tottenham rule the roost.
Firstpost.com reports that the Gunners will enter this match on Sunday at the back of absolute thrashing, both of which have ruled them out of two tournaments (at least virtually, since no one expects them to trounce AC Milan after that 4-0 loss) and a third consecutive loss will considerably dent what is already a rocky ride to Champions League qualification for next season.
Spurs have won the last three fixtures against Arsenal and they should be able to rub off the remains of their lacklustre performance against Stevenage in the FA Cup to come out blazing against a stuttering, confidence-ridden and desperate Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger is also under pressure and is at a ‘career low’, as ex-player, Emanuel Petit ,mentioned over the week and if his side capitulates against the bitterest of rivals, then it will become very interesting to see whether he remains at the helm of the club in the near future.
Their defensive worries seem to be a perennial problem and the addition of German centre-back, Per Mertesacker, has not done enough to plug the leaks. He is unavailable for the match, sitting out injured, and so are Sebastien Squillaci and Francis Coquelin. Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta should be chosen to control the middle of the park and it will be a close call between Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Gervinho on either wing. Robin Van Persie…well, they will have to play him, even if he is on one leg.
Tottenham have fewer problems to contend with squad-wise. The major decision Harry Redknapp faces is that of either playing one man on top, in which case it would be Emmanuel Adebayor or partner him with either Louis Saha or Jermaine Defoe. If he sticks to a 4-5-1, then Luka Modric, Van der Vaart, Scott Parker, Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale and Niko Kranjcar all have a chance of playing a role.
Arsenal edge Spurs in the goals per match ration, just by a whisker at 2.1 compared to 2.0 but if Van Persie can get some service, he is sure to put them away. Their defence though, needs to close down the wide threat provided by brilliant Gareth Bale as well as the stunning shot which Rafael Van der Vaart possesses.