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by Phil Gregory
Well here it is: the big one, a bigger tie than the so-called top of the table clashes with Manchester Untied and Chelsea for most Arsenal fans. Many Tottenham fans felt that this could be the season they overtake Arsenal given our high profile departures but let’s be honest, how many times have they said that?
The Arsenal ship has steadied recently with healthier points totals on the board in the Premier and Champions league in recent times. Despite our poor start, we’re a mere two points adrift of a Tottenham side (who albeit have a game in hand) supposedly in the ascendancy in North London, so let’s see where we’re at come May.
On the injury front we’re without Koscielny which means Song will likely continue in central defence. Squillaci is fully recovered, but lacking in match fitness whilst Djourou and Vermaelen are still out, the latter needing a couple more weeks than originally anticipated. Walcott and Gervinho are both in contention for the game subject to fitness tests, with the former the more likely to be passed fit. Benayoun is back in the squad after a brief absence, Diaby is nearing a return after the international break but Wilshere is of course out for the long term.
Sagna Mertesacker Song Gibbs
Walcott Van Persie Arshavin
Arsène Wenger’s team selection against Olympiacos betrayed a couple of things about his thoughts for this game, with Ramsey and Van Persie rested. Neither of those were particularly shocking choices, but it does indicate the importance he’s placing on young Aaron this year.
There’s not much to talk about with the eleven, really. There’s a little guesswork around the results of the Walcott and Gervinho tests, so I’ve gone for the safe option and presumed the more likely of the two will be passed fit, the other not (maybe on the bench). Apart from that, Koscielny’s unfortunately continued absence means Song has to go into the defence again, which results in Frimpong coming into midfield as in midweek.
Apart from that the rest of the team is pretty straight forward. Wenger seems to prefer the leftback that I don’t pick, so expect to see Santos starting in the back four.
It’s Spurs, we all largely know what to expect. They’ll probably go 442 and put out a couple of wingers, so all being well we should dominate possession with the extra man in midfield and with our wide players coming inside to help out. A high line should keep Adebayor far away from goal and negate his aerial threat somewhat, as even if he wins the header, he can’t threaten goal with it. We’ll have to watch out for the pace of Defoe playing such a high line though.
I’d expect a few hair-raising moments on the break as we like to get men forward and Spurs have plenty of pace to break with.
I’m not going to put my usual score prediction in the article today, as I suspect this game won’t be decided on the balance of the two teams. I’m, of course, referring to RefWatch
- UNTOLD MEDIA: The Daily Mirror’s Arsenal Hypocrisy: A preliminary analysis
- UNTOLD HISTORY: Tottenham Hotspur’s appalling dark secret
- UNTOLD REFEREES: The complete utter and disgraceful history of Mike Dean. Ref watch for Tottenham v Arsenal
- UNTOLD NEWS: 16.5 Things we learned this week
- UNTOLD ECONOMICS: Arsenal has opened Pandora’s Box
- UNTOLD HISTORY: Ex player Remi Garde is flying at Lyon
Untold Arsenal – the (fairly) complete index
- Untold History…Untold Media … Untold Ref Reviews …
- Untold Economics … Untold Corruption … Untold Wenger …
- Untold News … Untold Fifa … Untold Players … Untold Injuries
- Untold Statistics … Untold Tactics … Untold 2011/2 …
- Untold match reviews … Untold fans …
- Untold Stadia … Untold Literature …
- Untold humour …Arsenal History Society … “Making the Arsenal” …
- Untold Emirates … Arsenal Independent Supporters Association