Game : Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
League : English Premier League
Venue : Ashburton Grove, London
Date : 29 October
Time : 8pm GMT.
The 143rd North London derby takes place on Wednesday, with bottom of the table Tottenham Hotspur taking on Arsene Wenger’s young Gunners. It has been a horrendous start to the season for Spurs- their worst ever in a century to be precise. Spanish manager Juande Ramos has been fired, and chairman Daniel Levy has brought in Pompey boss Harry Redknapp to White Hart Lane. Asking Redknapp for a win may be asking too much though. David Pleat, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol and Juande Ramos did not manage to win a single North London league derby.
Arsenal are four points off leaders Liverpool, and have nineteen points from their nine games. They beat city rivals West Ham 2-0 at the weekend, with Emmanuel Adebayor having a hand in both the goals. Adebayor is expected to start against Spurs, after being benched for the game against the Hammers. Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas had a decent outing against West Ham, and will continue in defence with Clichy on the left and Sagna on the right. Nicklas Bendtner, scorer of the winner when the two teams met at the Emirates last December, will have to do with a spot on the bench. Wenger has many young attacking options, with the likes of Vela and Walcott available for selection. The midfield looks strong, with the likes of Fabregas, Song and Diaby in it.Manuel Almunia, who saved Robbie Keane’s penalty in last season’s corresponding fixture, has looked composed in goal, in comparison to Spurs’ Heurelho Gomes, who has been guilty of some unexplainable eccentricity.
Spurs restored some pride with a 2-0 win over Bolton- Harry Redknapp’s first win in his first game in charge. Roman Pavyluchenko and Darren Bent both got on the scoresheet, and that was good news for a Spurs attacking line which has been woefully out of form after the departure of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane in the summer. Gareth Bale returns to the starting lineup after serving his one game suspension. Fellow defender Michael Dawson sits this game out- the second of his three game ban for his horrendous challenge on Stoke’s Mamady Sidibe. Spurs are also sweating on the fitness of Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate. Spurs have not won a single game on their Premier League travels, having lost three and drawn one.
Form doesn’t matter. Harry Redknapp knows all about the energy of derbies, with Portsmouth having played Southampton quite a few times. And along with the Merseyside and Manchester derbies, the North London derby is one of the biggest out there. However Spurs are still in rebuilding mode, and Arsenal, given their past record against Spurs, should win this by two or three goals, with Adebayor, Nasri and Vela scoring. Spurs are huge underdogs for this game given their current form- the odds reflect that. Paddypower has them at 13/2, and Bluesquare has them at 7/1.