The first of our run of three London derbies takes us down the road to our favourite neighbours, the endlessly cunty Tottenham Hotspur, for the fourth and final North London derby of the 2006/2007 season. This is also the 140th North London league derby, and the 155th in all, with Spurs chasing a 50th victory. Thankfully any chance of them finishing above us has all but diminished following the two victories in four days at The Emirates Stadium, but Spurs will still be hoping that a run of victories in their final games will see them into the UEFA Cup, but they’ll be fighting with Portsmouth for seventh place, and anything other than a win at the weekend will be damaging to their attempts.
We haven’t seen a proper performance from a Spurs side in this fixture for a few years, and let’s hope that trend continues until the end of this season with our side not exactly firing on all cylinders. Adebayor and Gilberto will both be looking for their third goal of the season against the old enemy, and we could do with both players getting their shooting boots back on to take the pressure off of Fabregas and Rosicky, who seem to be the only players in the team these days that have the combination of desire and ability to score.
Anything other than a Spurs win on Saturday will see Arsenal celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day, a few games earlier than last year.
Martin Jol is yet to beat Arsenal in any competition as manager of Spurs. They've finished below us in twelve of the fourteen Premier League seasons.
We haven’t lost to Spurs in any competition since a 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane in 1999, that being their only victory in twenty two north London league derbies.
Wenger Years Statistics
Arsene has been in charge of Arsenal for twenty four North London derbies in all competitions. In that time we’ve won twelve, drawn eleven and lost one. We usually draw at White Hart Lane, there’s only been three deviations from that being one loss and two wins. We’ve won the home league fixture and drawn the away league fixture five times under Wenger, and I suspect the odds are on that happening again. A win on Saturday would see us do only our second league double over Spurs under Arsene.
In their last six games in all competitions, Spurs have won one, drawn two and lost three. They’ve scored the same amount of goals as us in their last two games. At home this season Spurs have won eleven, drawn one and lost four. They’ve managed fewer clean sheets than any other side in the Premiership this season.
The three strikers are still out till next season. Diaby should be available to play, possibly sporting some stylish headgear. Freddie Ljungberg is a major doubt, and a decision on Fabregas’ fitness will be made the day before the game as the young Catalan has caught a virus. <.p>
Spurs have a few doubts for their squad on Saturday. Paul Stalteri and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are unlikely to be fit enough to play after various injuries. Anthony Gardner won’t recover from his broken leg in time for this fixture and Lee Young-Pyo and Dorian Dervite are out till next season. Robbie Keane is a serious doubt with a knee injury, Tom Huddlestone is available after injury.
Same as Manchester City I suspect, although if Fabregas is out then things will change a bit. If Freddie and Fabregas don’t start, Baptista will come in for Fabregas and play upfront with Adebayor. If Fabregas isn’t fit but Freddie is, I expect we’ll see Freddie play just off Adebayor with the same midfield as Tuesday minus Cesc. The same back four that has started the last five games should line up, and we’ll need Clichy to put in a performance of the level that we saw against Cristiano Ronaldo in order to deal with Aaron Lennon, or we could be in trouble at the back.
Bench: Almunia, Djourou, Denilson, Ljungberg, Baptista
Bench: Almunia, Djourou, Denilson, Ljungberg, Aliadiere
Bench: Cerny, Rocha, Huddlestone, Ghaly, Mido