'Ledley King versus Robin van Persie is the biggest clash of the afternoon' - Les Ferdinand's key battles for Tottenham vs Arsenal

The Spurs first-team coach also believes Adebayor, Parker, Bale and Modric must get the better of their respective opponents for the hosts to win the north London derby
By Greg Stobart

Tottenham take on bitter rivals Arsenal on Sunday as genuine favourites to to win the north London derby for the first time in many years.

Spurs first-team coach Les Ferdinand believes Harry Redknapp's side possess enough firepower to blow away the Gunners but accepts there are key battles on the pitch that need to be won.

Here, Ferdinand gives Goal.com his verdict on where the game will be won and lost...

Emmanuel Adebayor vs Per Mertesacker

"It will certainly be an interesting one. Mertesacker has played 76 times for Germany and we know how good that German side has been over the years. To be able to do that you have to be a quality player and Mertesacker was excellent for Werder Bremen. We've seen him a lot because we played against Werder Bremen in the Champions League last season.

"But I believe Adebayor is virtually unplayable at times with the qualities he possesses. He's one of those centre-forwards who will give any centre-half in the Barclays Premier League a problem on his day. He's come to Spurs with a great mindset – I think in that sense he's really benefited from his spell working under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid last season.

"He's not just a goalscorer, he's an all-round forward who brings other people into the game. He often attracts more than one defender to him and that creates space in other areas of the field for people to exploit. From a Tottenham point of view, that's something we need to exploit and take advantage of.

"He's always been a good player but his problem has been he falls out with the regime after a year. Hopefully we will benefit from that year because we've got him on loan until the end of the season."

Gareth Bale vs Bacary Sagna

"In recent years this has always been a good battle. We've seen Sagna perhaps get the better of Gareth on a couple of occasions and it really will be interesting. Gareth has come on so much in the last 18 months and he's physically looking the best I've ever seen him at the moment.

"With this one, it's not just physical but it's also mental. Bale needs to get to the stage where full-backs don't know what he's going to do next, he has to keep defenders guessing. If he tries to do the same thing every time, then he makes Sagna's job easy. Sometimes he will come inside, other times he will hug the touchline and if he does that right, Sagna will have a tough time."

Luka Modric vs Mikel Arteta

"They are both very good players and similar in what they do for the team. Arteta and Modric both look to create chances for team-mates and both look to score goals. They are key cogs in the midfield, looking to get the ball forward and get their team on the front foot.

"Arteta has come to Arsenal with people saying he's not at his best and he wants to prove everybody wrong. This is Arteta – in the games that I've seen so far he's played well and put in a shift every time he's played.

"As far as Modric is concerned, the great thing about him is he hasn't sulked after the furore over the summer. He's got on with it and he's playing some great football at the moment. There were a few murmurings from supporters before but he put that to bed with the goal he scored against Liverpool. He was the key to the way we performed in that game."

Ledley King vs Robin van Persie

"This is probably the biggest clash of the afternoon. When Ledley is playing, he's good enough to play every game for England. Unfortunately, he's had his injury problems but he's played three games on the bounce now. He's looking fit and strong, and relishing the prospect of playing against Van Persie. He has such a calming influence on the defence and we look a completely different unit at the back when he plays. He's been there and done it.

"For me, Van Persie is an exceptional player. He's got a great left foot and could have been top scorer in the Barclays Premier League in the last few seasons if he didn't suffer from so many injuries. He needs a season of playing consistently at his best. He's started the season unbelievably but because of the injuries he's not been able to do it for 38 games."

Scott Parker vs Aaron Ramsey

"We needed leadership in the dressing room and out on the pitch and Scott provides that. He does it before the game and then he's like a manager on the pitch, bossing people around. He's exactly what you need and he's been a great acquisition for us.

"Scott will look to set the tempo in midfield, win the ball and get us going. When he's at his best he gets in the right positions and snuffs out danger. Ramsey and Arteta are Arsenal's ball-players and Scott will look to get in and around them and deny them time on the ball. He will need to be at his best to be able to cope with that."

Les Ferdinand was speaking on behalf of Barclays Ticket Office. Every 90 minutes throughout the season Barclays is offering fans the chance to win free tickets to Barclays Premier League matches by going to a Barclays ATM and requesting a receipt, or by visiting www.barclaysticketoffice.com