Match date and time: Saturday 4th January 2014. Kick off 5:15pm GMT.
Venue: Emirates Stadium.
Competition: FA Cup Third Round
TV: Live on ITV 1.
Ah, the North London Derby. A game to savour for all football fans, it’s very rarely a boring game, and the way both teams are now playing it looks like the game will be full of offensive flair, good football and goals. Last time out against Arsenal, we lost 1-0 at the Emirates, in a game which was overshadowed by the departure of Gareth Bale the same day. That wasn’t a good day, but we weren’t at full strength and that was very early in the season, where our players had hardly played together since coming in, in the transfer window. Since that game, a lot has changed, we have a new manager and we are now playing some really good football. But as the old saying goes, League form goes out the window in the Cup. It’s all about who performs on the day, and we have to make sure that it’s us, and we go through. It’s going to be difficult, it’s never easy at the Emirates, but our away from has been brilliant and we’ve won 4 on the trot away from home, so it gives us confidence, especially as our last game was against Manchester United, which we won. I’m looking forward to this. I feel confident, which I didn’t feel when it was announced. With our current form, why can’t we beat them?
Arsenal have obviously had a stunning first half of the season, they are top of the Premier League, much to our annoyance, but you have to give them credit, they’ve deserved it. But it’s not something that matters, they’ve found it more tough in recent weeks, only scraping past Newcastle at St James’ and manager-less Cardiff at the Emirates. I think it shows they are finding it more difficult, but it also shows their determination to get through difficult hard fought games. The team news for the Gunners is that Ozil (shoulder), Bendtner (ankle), Ramsey (thigh), Gibbs (calf), Sanogo (back), Diaby (knee) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (match-fitness) are all out, while Olivier Giroud is a doubt through sickness. You can see that Arsenal have quite a few out through in injury, but they still have quality players all over the park, Theo Walcott being one who is in great form, as well as Santi Cazorla who is a brilliant player.
The Team news for Spurs is that Naughton (hamstring), Lamela (hip), Sigurdsson (calf), Paulinho (ankle), Vertonghen (ankle) and Kaboul (quad) are all out, while Jermain Defoe, Lewis Holtby and Andros Townsend are in contention after injuries. Emmanuel Adebayor is confirmed as fit and Tim Sherwood says he will start against his former club, despite being stretchered off at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Tim Sherwood has promised a very strong line up for the game against Arsenal, saying he’d love to play the youngsters, but as it’s Arsenal he simply can’t because it means so much to the fans! So, we are expected to line up similar if not the same as we did at Old Trafford in our 1-2 win, and I’m not against that at all! We are in great form and so is Emmanuel Adebayor, he has been our outstanding player under Sherwood and it’s massive that he’s back for this game against Arsenal, I’m sure he’ll be full of confidence and raring to go against his former club, he’s loving football again and when Adebayor is loving it, he’s one of the best in the business. Having Lewis Holtby and Andros Townsend back are two big boosts as well, Andros has been missed, and I think playing him on the left with Lennon on the right is a definite option, as Eriksen although being brilliant in recent games on the left, doesn’t offer a lot of protection to Danny Rose, and he’s better in the middle. Holtby is a great squad player, news he wasn’t rated by Tim was disappointing to me as I believe he can become a really good player, at only 23, he’s already very talented. The 4-4-2 formation looks to continue against the Gunners.
There aren’t many bigger games in England than the North London Derby, if any. We all want to win this one, from the fans, players, manager, board, right up to the White Hart Lane Janitor. Bragging rights in North London, and make it another failure for Arsenal in the cups. You can follow all the action from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, where I’ll provide match updates, videos, pictures and all the news from the game. Let’s ‘ave it! COYS!!
My predicted team to face Arsenal at the Emirates:
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Rose
Lennon – Capoue – Dembele – Eriksen
Adebayor – Soldado
Tim Sherwood’s full pre match press conference ahead of Arsenal in the Cup: