TODAY marks the last ever North London derby at White Hart Lane before its demolition – and there is a lot riding on it for both Arsenal and Tottenham.
For Spurs, they want to sign off the derby of all derbies at their famous old ground with a win, to seal their place above the Gunners in the league for the first time since 1995.
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Meanwhile it has been a season of woe at the Emirates – although with an FA Cup final to look forward to, they will be spurred on to spoil the party and salvage their league season.
We ask our two fan bloggers TalkingTHFC and AFCamden for their views on a crunch clash today…
Biggest threat the opposition can pose?
Talking THFC: We saw last year at the Lane that Alexis Sanchez can be a real menace. Although our defence is capable of dealing with him, his pace gives Arsenal loads of confidence moving forward.
And last week at Wembley Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hitting good form also, so Ben Davies will have his work cut out there.
Fingers crossed though that Alexis Sanchez hasn’t recovered from his horrific lip injury in time to play.
AFCamden: Harry Kane. The boyhood Arsenal fan has scored 20 goals this season and has the best goals per minute ratio in the premier league.
We will need to keep him quiet to have any chance of winning tomorrow’s game.
Biggest weaknesses you can exploit?
Talking THFC: The Arsenal defence certainly has its flaws, and with the news that Koscielny is an injury doubt, this will definitely boost Mauricio Pocehttino’s side.
More than anything, it will be a real mental battle – although Spurs are flying high in the league, Arsenal’s FA Cup win will give them plenty of energy.
That being said, a win confirms Spurs will finish above them, a real incentive for us.
AFCamden: Tottenham’s mentality. Spurs have a history of crumbling when it really matters, including a capitulation last season which saw them take only 3 points from their last 4 games.
That ensured that St Totteringham’s day was celebrated for the 20th year running, and will certainly leave some mental scars ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
Reflections on this season?
TalkingTHFC: If you’d given me second place at the start of the season, I would have bitten your hand off. Although our European campaign was disappointing, our league form and FA Cup run have been impressive.
It will almost be classic Spurs to have done so well and still end up without a trophy to show for it, but they’re going to push Chelsea to the very end and this weekend could be a real decider in the title race.
AFCamden: It’s been another season of disappointment. The majority of Arsenal fans will have seen this before, although the capitulation was probably the worst and most embarrassing in recent memory.
This disappointment has been compounded by the fact Spurs have continued to progress and look like they have a side which is better than ours and may compete for the league.
The only thing we have left to salvage is spoiling Tottenham’s WHL farewell, making sure they don’t win the league and then of course, overcoming Chelsea in the FA Cup in May.
Hopes for next campaign?
TalkingTHFC: As always, trophies. Pochettino will be expected by the board to push again for the title, having already done so for two consecutive seasons now.
Owner Daniel Levy will want the squad to give the Champions League better focus next year, and hopefully the manager will have the funds to do so.
That being said, the League Cup or FA Cup are within our grasp every season, and I’d expect at least one of the two next year.
AFCamden: A new manager with a fresh start. Wenger has been an inspiration and has legendary status at the club, but I think most Arsenal fans believe it’s time for new ideas.
If a new manager doesn’t come in, it will be hard to see anything other than a repeat of this seasons league campaign.
However with player turnover set to be at its highest and with us likely to be out of the Champions League, it will prove to be an interesting time for the club at least.
North London derby prediction?
TalkingTHFC: I’m going for a Spurs win. It’s always one of the most difficult games to predict, but given it’ll be the last derby at White Hart Lane, the players and fans will be more motivated than ever to deliver the three points.
Our gritty display at Palace in the week showed we definitely have title credentials, and winning against a big side like Arsenal will cement that further.
AFCamden: I’m pains me to admit it but Tottenham are a strong outfit, especially at home.
However history tells us there is always a sting in the tail for the bridesmaids of North London, therefore I’m going for 2-1 Arsenal, Welbeck with the winner.
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