ONEand welcome to coverage of the North London derby or, as we were tricked into calling it by the fools, the NLD, which I always thought meant the Non-League directory (booksellers joke, for you – I’m here to every week).
Watching the match of the day, sorry MOTD, last night I was impressed by Martin Keown, and not for the first time. On this occasion, the former Arsenal defender called this game the most significant and substantial league game between the two in decades, because both clubs had something at stake, rather than one chasing the title and the other trying to throw a bracket. English rooster in progress – citing 1971 and 2004 and casting Spurs as the would-be saboteurs.
It seems to me, given what’s at stake – Arsenal in the last Champions League qualifying spot, four points ahead of Tottenham with three games to play each – this is more like one of their big cup semi-finals, resurrection. 1987’s Allinson, 1991’s Gazza Double Destroyer, 2004’s 2004 back-post Pires Peak D’Artagnan dart, and 2008’s 5-1 Miracle of White Hart Lane (sorry, WHL). Vidal: It is not enough to succeed, others must fail. And no failure is better than that of a neighbor.
Still, four points apart, a Spurs win would still drop Arsenal favorites into fourth place with Newcastle, who were terrible against City, away and Everton (who are just terrible away, Leicester notwithstanding) at home, even if Tottenham should cause revenge on Burnley and send Norwich to another season in the Championship with a truncation. Arsenal games are more complicated, but not as scary.
As for treatment room dispatches, the Groin Strain Bugle, Tottenham, who have won five and drawn two of their last seven home games, have three players ruled out for the season – Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp and Matt Doherty – and Sergio Reguilon, who you run the risk of joining them with your adductor injury. All the others are fit so we expect them to remain unchanged from Saturday’s excellent performance at Anfield.
Arsenal’s Ben White will undergo a hamstring test after missing the last two games, Bukayo Sako, who is stuck until the end of the season with duct tape, should be fit to start but can’t call Thomas Partey or Kieran Tierney until August.
Join us at 6:45pm for the full team news.