Tottenham meet Arsenal at White Hart Lane looking to widen the gap on their north London rivals as well as re-establish their two point advantage over Chelsea. With the competition to finish within the top 4 and qualify for next season’s Champions League so intense, this derby has probably taken on greater importance than any local derby in recent years.
For the duration of the Premier League Spurs have found themselves trailing in the wake of a successful Arsenal team. This season, there is again a slight chink in that aura of invincibility that has surrounded Arsenal under Arsene Wenger so Tottenham have to be prepared to ensure they grab that opportunity with both hands and force home any advantage they can gain.
Tottenham’s Home League Record against Arsenal: (inc.PL)
P 71 W 28 D 20 L 23 For 111 Ag 108
Home Premier League Record:
P 20 W 6 D 10 L 4 For 28 Ag 28
Sept. 2011 PL (h) Won 2 – 1 Van der Vaart, Walker
Kyle Walker scored the decisive goal in the second half after Rafael Van der Vaart had given Spurs a first half lead. Ramsey equalised early in the second half with Walker scoring the winner with a shot from distance that deceived the goalkeeper.
Recent Results at White Hart Lane:
2011 – 12 Won 2 – 1 Van der Vaart, Walker
2010 – 11 Draw 3 – 3 Van der Vaart (2) (1 pen), Huddlestone
2009 – 10 Won 2 – 1 Rose, Bale
2008 – 09 Draw 0 – 0
Best Tottenham result:
1911 – 12 1st Div. Won 5 – 0 Darnell, J. McTavish, Minter (2), Middlemiss
1982 – 83 1st Div. Won 5 – 0 Hughton (2), Falco (2), Brazil
- Only Emmanuel Adebayor and Jimmy Robertson have scored for both Tottenham and arsenal in a north london derby
- Terry Dyson is the only Tottenham player to score a hat-trick in this fixtrue
Tottenham are not short of incentives to bolster their drive for a victory this afternoon:
- to avenge the two heavy defeats at the Emirates since that win eighteen months ago.
- to strengthen their bid for a Champions League finish.
- to finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1994-95 in the days of Gerry Francis with Jurgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham.
- to improve their record against Arsenal in the Premier League era.
- to inflict only the fifth defeat in over 16 years on Arsene Wenger in his 40th north London derby.
Can This Be the Year?
For the past number of years Tottenham have been getting ever closer to overturning the advantage Arsenal has held over them for so many years. From positions of apparent strength, Tottenham have somehow managed to throw it away – Lasagnegate’ in 2006, losing after holding a two goal advantage at the Emirates last season and Adebayor getting sent-off after seventeen minutes last November – so can this be the year when Spurs make the most of their advantage and Gareth Bale’s superb form to be the top team in north London? They won’t have a better chance than this afternoon.
A surprising statistic on Arsenal shows that they have the best away defensive record in the Premier League this season. Their goalkeeper and defence come in for regular criticism but they have conceded only 11 goals in their 13 away matches, two better than Manchester City, four less than Swansea and five fewer than Manchester United.
Arsenal played only one away match in all competitions during February, winning 1 – 0 at Sunderland early in the month. They lost at Chelsea (2 – 1) and drew at Southampton (1 – 1) in their only away games in January. Their FA Cup games saw them draw at Swansea in the 3rd Round and then achieve a 3 – 2 win at Brighton with a late winner in the 4th Round before exiting to a home defeat by Blackburn Rovers.
Being a typical pessimistic Spurs supporter of many years, you always fear the worst. My one concern is that with all the talk of Bale, that the other product of the Southampton Academy, Theo Walcott, will take centre-stage today. He only appears to perform on a few occasions each season and unfortunately, some of them have tended to be against Spurs.
Both teams are aware of the importance of this match. The result at White Hart Lane won’t determine the outcome of the season but a win would greatly strengthen both sides’ position. A draw does neither side any good and would only play into the hands of Chelsea and the other clubs with aspirations to finish in the top four. Spurs, having battled to a 3 – 2 win over West Ham will want to make the most of home advantage to secure the three points, aware that they have to travel to Anfield in a week’s time after their Europa League clash with Inter Milan. Spurs also have a match at Chelsea next month so they need to strengthen their position ahead of what should be a crucial game.
Setting aside all doubts, Tottenham have shown a great desire to succeed in recent weeks so hopefully they will maintain this rich vein of form against Arsenal to return to third place ahead of Chelsea who had a slender one goal home win over West Brom. The task will not be easy as Arsene Wenger is the master of getting a performance out of his team in a north London derby but it’s about time Tottenham re-established their superiority in this local rivalry and hopefully will not discover yet another way to shoot themselves in the foot.