Arsenal vs. Tottenham Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
The North London Derby is one of the most anticipated clashes in England because of the heated rivalry between both sets of fans. The Gunners take serious pride in the fact that they have been celebrating St. Totteringham’s day since 1996 and the trend isn’t stopping anytime soon as the Gunners are currently eight points above their rivals in teh Premier League this season.
The last time both sides met at the Emirates in September, Andre Villas-Boas, the players and the fans alike were buzzing from the fact that they had splurged in the transfer market to buy a lot of quality players following the deadline day departure of their talisman, Gareth Bale. The Gunners just came off two victories over Fulham and Fenerbahce, and all it took was an Olivier Giroud deft finish to settle the contest and give the Gunners bragging rights again.
At this point in time, AVB doesn’t exist to the Tottenham faithful and the new gaffer, Tim Sherwood, is doing a great job, as he has won three in their last four which includes a 2-1 away victory over struggling Manchester United. Sherwood has also brought Emmanuel Adebayor from the doldrums of the Reserves and has rejuvenated the lad’s career that had reached an all-time low under AVB. The Togolese forward has repaid that faith with a handful of goals in his few games thus far.
Adebayor and Arsenal have their fair share of history and since he departed the Emirates for greener pastures, he has clashed with the players in his Manchester City and now, in his Tottenham days. The last time Adebayor played at Emirates Stadium for Tottenham, he scored early and dominated Arsenal’s defence before disgracing himself with a lunge on Santi Cazorla that led to a straight red card.
That paved the way for a 5-2 mauling, which went down well with the home support.
Arsene Wenger is hoping that Adebayor would be treated with “respect” if he plays today,
“When I signed him he was playing in the reserves at Monaco. He had a huge impact and, with Thierry Henry, he was such a success that when Thierry left for Barcelona, we felt it was okay, Adebayor can take over.
“He scored over 30 goals in the first season. Only he can say whether he regrets leaving.
“I don’t want him to get stick, I just want us to play well. I always say the same thing: when players come back to the club you want them to be respected.”
Arsenal have won their last three home games against Tottenham. Spurs last won at Arsenal with a 2-3 victory in 2010. Arsenal won the last time these teams met in the FA Cup, triumphing 2-1 in the 2001 semi-final. Spurs’ last FA Cup win over their rivals also came in the semi-finals, 3-1 in 1991.
Arsenal still have to be mindful about Tottenham because they have won their last five away games in all competitions. However, the NLD is always a heated encounter as the last three games between these sides at the Emirates have produced 15 goals and two red cards.
This is the sixth meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham in the FA Cup. Arsenal have won three and Spurs two of their previous five meetings. Arsenal have won the Cup 10 times. Only Manchester United have won the competition more times than the Gunners. However, Tottenham has won the competition eight times with the most recent being in 1991.
This game would also promise to be a high scoring encounter as Arsenal have scored 11 goals in their last three matches against Spurs at Emirates Stadium.
To injuries, the Gunners have a host of players nursing niggles and knocks here and there, and they would be without Olivier Giroud (illness/ankle), Nicklas Bendtner (ankle), Kieran Gibbs (calf), Aaron Ramsey (thigh) as well as the long-term absentees, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Yaya Sanogo (back) and Abou Diaby (knee).
Mesut Ozil could face a fitness test but Wenger has revealed that the game is too soon for his German schemer with his focus solely on getting him fit to play Aston Villa on Monday.
Tottenham also have their injury problems to contend with as they would be without Paulinho (ankle), Sandro (calf), Andros Townsend (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Younes Kaboul (ankle), Kyle Naughton (hamstring), Erik Lamela (hip/thigh), and Gyifl Sigurdsson (calf).
Wenger has promised to treat the encounter like a Premier League match, so expect to see the big Guns in the lineup.
My predicted starting lineup for both sides would be,
Arsenal would be hopeful that Jack Wilshere comes to the party again after his blistering performance against Cardiff. Theo Walcott would be expected to be among the goals but the fans would be hoping that Lukas Podolski does better because he’s all they have in attack right about now.
The Gunners would have to be mindful about Adebayor’s movement and the wing plays of Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon. Moussa Dembele is another player in fine form but it promises to be an interesting encounter.
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
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