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Premier League

  • February 26, 2012
  • • 8:30 AM
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 60106

Premier League Preview: Arsenal - Tottenham

In arguably Arsene Wenger's toughest derby in his entire reign at the club, Spurs will be looking to complete a league double over their rivals for the first time since 1993



Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs
Walcott, Arteta, Song, Gervinho
Van Persie


Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto
Lennon, Parker, Modric, Bale
Van der Vaart

One side has recently been knocked out of two cups and look likely yet again to finish the season without silverware. The other is flying high in the Premier League, still in with a shout of the title, and looking to advance into the quarterfinals of a cup competition.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Arsenal was the form team heading into this fixture, and based on many a season gone by you would be right. Not this season though. This season it is Tottenham’s turn to shine.

The rivalry between the two sides has rarely been fiercer, and Sunday’s north London derby could cement the long speculated ‘turning of the tide’ in the Lilywhites’ favor.

After going 20 games without a victory against their neighbors, Spurs have won three and drawn once in their last four Premier League games against Arsenal. Harry Redknapp’s men go into a game at the Emirates Stadium as favorites for the first time and confidence will be high.

The Frenchman must raise a team bereft of confidence, otherwise he will taste the bitterness of a Spurs double over Arsenal for the first time in his managerial career, the Gunners having not suffered such a fate since 1993 - three years before Wenger arrived at Highbury.

Speculation over Wenger's continued hold on the Gunners' reins has never been more intense, but he can look towards star striker Robin van Persie to save the day.

With 22 Premier League goals already this campaign, the 28-year-old has been the sole shining light in an otherwise dark and dingy season for his side. Without the impact of the league's leading goalscorer, Arsenal would be in an even more tenuous position.

Gunners defenders Laurent Koscielny (knee) and Kieran Gibbs (groin) face fitness tests ahead of the game, but are expected to pull through, while midfielder Aaron Ramsey (ankle) is expected to miss out. Francis Coquelin (hamstring) and Sebastien Squillaci (groin) are sidelined.

Defender Carl Jenkinson recently returned for the reserve team, but is not ready for first-team action, while center back Per Mertesacker (ankle) joins the ever-expanding list of long-term absentees after being ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Harry Redknapp confirmed on Friday that Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor (knee) and Rafael van der Vaart (calf) are expected to be fit after training during the week, along with Benoit Assou-Ekotto (groin) and Luka Modric (ill).

Ledley King (knee), as always, faces a late fitness test but Sandro (calf) and William Gallas (calf) are still unavailable.

  • In the corresponding fixture last season, Tottenham came from two goals down at halftime to secure a 3-2 win, its first three points on Arsenal's ground in 17 years.
  • Spurs last won home and away against Arsenal in the same season (1992-93), winning 1-0 at home and 3-1 at Highbury.
  • Since Harry Redknapp's appointment as manager, Tottenham has lost only two of eight north London derbies in all competitions, and only once in seven Premier League meetings with the Gunners.
  • Tottenham has won just one of its last five league away games.
  • Emmanuel Adebayor (pictured right), if he features, will play on his 28th birthday against his former side.
  • Arsene Wenger's Arsenal has lost three games from winning positions this season. Only West Brom has capitulated more times.
  • But the Frenchman's team has also accumulated 10 points from losing positions, the third-best record in the league.
  • According to Opta Sports, Theo Walcott has completed just 14 of his 103 crosses from open play in the league this season.
  • Robin van Persie has scored 21 goals in his last 20 appearances for Arsenal.
  • Arsenal's average of 1.7 points per game is its lowest under Wenger, whereas Tottenham's average of 2.1 points per game is its highest since the Frenchman arrived in England.
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