Tottenham: Tipped to finish above Arsenal; Player have ‘eased off’; Derby a chance to ‘right the wrongs’

Tottenham: Tipped to finish above Arsenal; Player have 'eased off'; Derby a chance to 'right the wrongs'

Spurs travel to the Emirates on Sunday for the first north London derby of the season, and the game has arrived at a bad time for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Key players Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Dembele are likely to miss out through injury, while Harry Kane may have to be content with a place on the bench as he steps up his recovery frank an ankle ligament problem. Added to that, Spurs have not won in their last six games in all competitions and have scored only once from open play in this period.

However, former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is in confident mood and has still backed Pochettino’s side to finish above their fierce local rivals at the end of the season.

Redknapp was in the Spurs dugout for some of the most memorable derbies of recent times, including a 4-4 draw, a 3-2 Tottenham win at the Emirates, a 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane and a 5-2 Arsenal win in which Spurs were two goals up. Redknapp said:

“There are so many derby games, but the North London derby, in London, is the big derby game in London football.

“Both teams love to have one over on the opposition. Every year it’s a great game, they’re two evenly matched team now.

“Arsenal have had the upper hand for so many years, just about, the last six or seven years Tottenham have got closer and closer.

“And I think this year could be the year that Tottenham finish above Arsenal.”

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Despite their recent form, Spurs sit just three points behind Arsenal so are very much in the chasing pack. A draw at the Emirates would be a positive result for them however, with Arsenal full of goals and Tottenham low on confidence. Pochettino’s side have won many plaudits for their expansive game based on playing from the back, pushing their full backs forward and squeezing teams very high up the pitch. This would be a risky strategy against a team with Arsenal’s pace and technical quality, and it could be a game that calls for greater pragmatism.

Elsewhere, club legend Glenn Hoddle has question the hunger of some of Tottenham’s players saying they have eased off since signing new contracts. That is an astonishing attack; questioning a player’s professionalism and effort is just about the most damning indictment you can level in football. Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Dele Alli among other penned fresh deals earlier in the season. It was vital that Spurs tied down their key assets ahead of the stadium move, but some of them may have reached a plateau in recent weeks.

 

Finally, in further north London derby analysis, Jermaine Jenas has said it is the perfect fixture to right the wrongs of previous weeks. A positive result at the Emirates would be a huge shot in the arm for the Lilywhites, but they look particularly fragile going into this game. Getting through the first 20 minutes unscathed could be the key to this match from a Tottenham perspective. Jenas said:

“As a team they will have a really good look at each other and say this is a moment where we need to stay strong and stand together,” he told BT Sport.

“Some people will say this north London derby has come at the wrong time [for Spurs].

“But it’s a great opportunity for them to put the wrongs right on Sunday.”

Featured image: All rights reserved by Serg Hoholok

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