Tottenham face Arsenal at the Emirates in the FA Cup, in a match which is the highlight of the 3rd Round draw. Both teams will approach the tie in a positive frame of mind as Arsenal maintain their position at the head of the Premier League while Spurs will be buoyed by their recent improvement under Tim Sherwood and their win at Old Trafford in midweek. It is a game that will feature the usual north London rivalry and intensity.
Tottenham’s last FA Cup win was their 8th success back in 1991 and for a club looking to improve on that record, the 3rd Round draw hasn’t been kind to them. It will be a very difficult game for Spurs whose playing resources, even with a large squad, are fully stretched at present due to their ever-growing injury list.
Date: Saturday, 4th January, 2014
Kick-off Time: 5.15pm (UK time)
TV Channel: ITV
Live Stream: www.itv.com/sport/football (from 4.45pm)
Last meeting at Arsenal
Arsenal hosted Spurs in the third Premier League game of the season at the beginning of September. Following an undefeated start to the season Spurs were in confident mood but their new signings failed to cope with the intensity of the occasion and an Arsenal goal in the first half from Olivier Giroud was sufficient to take all three points.
In the FA Cup:
Spurs and Arsenal either meet in the 3rd Round or the semi-finals of the FA Cup. This is the third occasion the two clubs have clashed in the 3rd Round. The very first meeting in the competition wasn’t until January, 1949 at Highbury. Arsenal were in mid-table in the 1st Division while Spurs were in the 2nd Division in 3rd place but had lost at home to Lincoln City the previous weekend. Spurs were managed by former Arsenal winger from the 1930s, Joe Hulme. Arsenal recorded a comfortable 3 – 0 win and Spurs had to wait another season before they would join their neighbours in the top flight.
The second 3rd Round meeting was in January, 1981 at White Hart Lane. A goal from Garth Crooks secured the win, the goal coming from a mistake by former Spurs hero, Pat Jennings, who later had to go off injured. That win was the start of Spurs retaining the trophy they’d won the previous season.
Since then, their three meetings have been in the semi-finals. Spurs won 1n 1991 but Arsenal have triumphed in the next two in 1993 and 2001.
Arsenal have had a very consistent season since their opening day home defeat by Aston Villa. In their other home games they have won 7 and drawn 2 with a 2 – 0 success over Cardiff coming with two late goals in the final two minutes on New Year’s Day. Their first goal was scored by the much criticised substitute Nickolas Bendtner who is now injured. They lost at home to Chelsea in the League Cup but in the Champions League their only slip up at home was to Borussia Dortmund who they then defeated in Germany.
They have scored 18 goals at home while only conceding 6. Aaron Ramsey who is out injured is their leading goalscorer in all competitions with 13 goals, Giroud has 11 and Theo Walcott, just back from injury has 6, including the second against Cardiff.
Spurs win at Old Trafford was their fourth successive away win in the Premier League. This season they have won 7 away games in the league with a draw at Everton and two defeats. They also won at Villa in the League Cup and have been successful in all four Europa League games across Europe.
The appointment of Tim Sherwood has given the Tottenham players a lift and they appear to be playing with a greater freedom and belief in themselves. Hopefully, they will carry this confidence and determination with them as they face Arsenal this evening in what is bound to be a game full of commitment with neither side prepared to give an inch. North London derbies are never played in any other way.
Emmanuel Adebayor is expected to be fit after being carried of at Old Trafford suffering with severe cramp. The Togolese striker has been very effective and influential in Spurs performances since he was brought back into the team by Tim Sherwood and he will want to impress against his former club. It needs to be a controlled endeavour on his part so as to avoid the consequences of last season’s league game when he was sent off after 18 minutes, having given Spurs an early advantage.
The Spurs players with long-term injuries are still unavailable – Jan Vertonghen, Sandro, Paulinho and Younes Kaboul – but Andros Townsend, Lewis Holtby and Jermain Defoe could be available for selection. Danny Rose is thought to be doubtful after playing at Old Trafford so Tim Sherwood may have to make a change at left-back. Otherwise I would expect the team to be very similar to that which defeated United.
Arsenal also have injury problems with Ramsey and Bendtner out and a doubt over Giroud. Kieran Gibb is injured but Mesut Ozil could be available again after missing the last two games.
Neither team will really want a draw after what has been a very busy period through December and the new year. If Tim Sherwood can achieve a victory or even a draw against Arsene Wenger’s team, his standing at White Hart Lane will be rising even higher.