Callum Davies

What: English Premier League
Who: Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal
When: Sunday 2nd October 2011, at 16:00 UK Time
Where: White Hart Lane, London, England

Keeping the Consistency

Lying fifth in the English Premier League and with three back-to-back wins under their belt, Spurs have undoubtedly found their feet following a shock 5-1 home defeat to Manchester City less than a month ago, and the manner in which Harry Redknapp’s men blew aside Liverpool and punished Wigan will have pleased many at White Hart Lane.

In a start to the season which has seen many teams show cracks as a result of selling their best players, Redknapp has avoided the slippery slope by holding on to arguably his best player in Luka Modric.

What will also have acted as a warning sign to Spurs’ rivals will be the rejuvenation of Gareth Bale, a player whose frightening acceleration is enough to trouble even the best defenders, and proved the undoing of Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel two weeks ago.

Despite this, a big blow to the North London club has been the announcement that Tom Huddlestone will have to undergo ankle surgery on a recurring injury, after featuring heavily since the start of the campaign.

Redknapp will be aware that Arsenal have provided glimpses of talent against Olympiacos in the Champions League, and Bolton last weekend, and ensure that his side will not take Arsene Wenger’s men lightly, and a win over their fiercest rivals would be a big statement of intent for either side here.

Fighting Back

There is no doubt that last weekend’s win over Bolton will have eased many concerns over the future of Arsenal’s most successful manager.

It is hard to imagine the Gunners returning quickly to their famed style of football, especially having seen Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri depart in the summer, but the form of new arrival Mikel Arteta has given Arsenal a much greater threat from set-pieces.

The Spaniard has forged a good relationship in midfield with the likes of Alex Song and Aaron Ramsay, and with Robin van Persie back amongst the goals, Arsenal present a new threat coming into this derby.

Wenger watched from the stands as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the first goal in Arsenal’s midweek 2-1 win over Olympiacos at the Emirates; the performance was enough to warrant a call from assistant manager Pat Rice to include the youngster in future England squads.

With the tide now turning the way of the Gunners, Oxlade-Chamberlain may be utilised to give Arsenal greater exuberance in midfield, especially as Jack Wilshere is facing many months on the sidelines after undergoing ankle surgery of his own.

Recent form

Tottenham Hotspur:
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Liverpool (18/09; Premier League)
Stoke 0–0 Tottenham Hotspur
(20/09; League Cup)
Wigan 1–2 Tottenham Hotspur
(24/09; Premier League)


Arsenal 3–1 Shrewsbury
(20/09; League Cup)
Arsenal 3–0 Bolton Wanderers (24/09; Premier League)
Arsenal 2-1 Olympiacos (28/09; Champions League)

Key absences

Tottenham Hotspur: William Gallas (doubt); Michael Dawson; Steven Pienaar (doubt); Tom Huddlestone

Arsenal: Gervinho (doubt); Thomas Vermaelen; Sebastien Squillaci; Johan Djorou; Yossi Benayoun (doubt); Theo Walcott (doubt); Jack Wilshere; Abou Diaby

Players to watch

Tottenham Hotspur – Emmanuel Adebayor: The former Arsenal frontman created headlines in 2009 after a goal against his former employers led him to running the full length of the pitch before taunting the fans with his celebration. Whether Adebayor will score against his former club again is hard to say, but the Togolese striker has already bagged three this season and it is certain that he will face a chorus of boos from the Arsenal faithful throughout the game.

Arsenal – Robin van Persie: Arsene Wenger has been chomping at the bit to secure the Dutchman’s services on a long-term contract for a while now, and after his role in the side’s convincing 3-0 win over Bolton last weekend, it is easy to see why. Always considered one of the deadliest finishers in the Premier League, Van Persie took both goals well after neat build-up play in the Gunners’ midfield, and if he is not subdued by Spurs’ defence, there are few better at converting chances.

Match Prediction

Expect a cagey affair at White Hart lane this time around, and not one for the goal gluttons, especially as Arsenal appear to have eradicated signs of their chaotic defence which was so apparent at the start of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to inflict Arsenal’s fourth defeat of the season and could leap into the top four should results go their way.

It is no secret that both managers prefer an attacking approach, but with Arteta in midfield, Arsenal have a cool technician in their side who can control the ebb and flow of a game. By contrast, Spurs are revered for their attacking outlets, and if they are on song, few would bet against a home win. Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1 Arsenal.

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