Spurs v Arsenal preview: A potential thriller awaits

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Tonight is the first North London Derby of the season. Although it’s only the Carling Cup, with both Arsenal and Tottenham juggling Champions League and Premier League fixtures and therefore certain to rotate, it could be a cracking game at White Hart Lane.

When it comes to predicting the team that Arsene Wenger will put out, it’s best to look at the players that will definitely play and attempting to build a team around it. Despite the manager’s policy to play a second-string team in the Carling Cup, when you look at who this team is comprised of, there is undoubtedly reason to be hopeful if not expectant of the desired result.

In goals Lukasz Fabianski will be given another chance to make some forward steps in his Arsenal career. Wenger’s faith in the Pole is admirable, even if some consider it to be misplaced, so if the end of the season comes around and Fabianski leaves the club it will not be a result of a lack of opportunities. I tend to share the manager’s opinion that Fabianski has great potential but a good performance is paramount here or the supporters will be on his back again.

Johan Djourou will start his first game of the season and is likely to be partnered by Sebastien Squillaci with Thomas Vermaelen back from injury for the weekend. Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Eboue are likely to play on the flanks.

Denilson will be the central figure in midfield, joined perhaps by Jack Wilshere and Craig Eastmond. Up front Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Carlos Vela will be given a start with one of Tomas Rosicky or Samir Nasri likely to take up the third forward position. Alternatively the manager may choose to put the more experienced head of Rosicky or Nasri into midfield and give Wilshere a break from his recent defensive duties and some licence to attack higher up the pitch.

So despite Wenger’s admirable Carling Cup policy, we will play quite a strong team against Spurs.

Personally I am excited to watch Fabianski and Djourou start their first game of the season and am also looking forward to the impact Vela could make given a full 90 minutes. Tottenham will likely play a similar team to ours, featuring some stronger players like Niko Kranjcar, new signing Sandro and Vela’s Mexican teammate Giovanni.

Oh, and due to Spurs’ injury problems William Gallas might be starting. Fun.

One man who may not be present is Wenger himself, who faces a one-match touchline ban for a conduct breach in the game against Sunderland. To be honest I haven’t seen anything of the incident, only read about it on the internet, and I don’t really care enough about it to comment. Managers get touchline bans, it happens and it’s not a big deal and I can’t see how it will impact the game too much not to have Wenger on the sideline against Spurs.

Of course there is a strong possibility that he will choose to take the ban for the much easier game against West Bromwich Albion on the weekend, giving himself more time to inform Pat Rice of the plans for the game and minimising the impact of the ban. Personally I think this is what will happen, rendering the last two paragraphs I have written as rather pointless. Sorry about that.

What is far from pointless is the news that Cesc Fabregas, who tweaked his hamstring while scoring his fluke of a goal against Sunderland, has been confirmed as out for two to three weeks. The verdict means the captain will be touch-and-go for the huge contest against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but you have to think the medical staff will be working overtime to get him fit for that one. It goes without saying that his presence in the team, both as our captain and best player, could have a huge influence on the result.

As it is, Chelsea is in two weeks and Tottenham is tonight. I have a feeling it’s going to be a really great game, with the derby atmosphere adding a lot more fire than your average first-round Carling Cup tie. A penalty shootout win would be fun, wouldn’t it?


Have your say on Arsenal’s Carling Cup game against Spurs by leaving a comment.


23 thoughts on “Spurs v Arsenal preview: A potential thriller awaits

  1. With due respect to Fabianski, I think Wojciech Szczesny should start tonight. Everyone is raving on about him and I wanna know what all the fuss is about.

  2. Wenger is being unfair on Vito and Chesney by selecting Fabianski again. Fabianski has been given chance after chance and he screws up everytime. So why does Wenger insist on playing him ahead of 2 very promising keepers? Its ridiculous. I wouldnt blame Vito and Chesney if they wanted to leave the club. They deserve better treatment.

  3. Am very much impressed with the starting games and if the spirit is maintained in the team, the Carling cup game tonite will not be a worry..

  4. Just cant fantom why Wenger is benchin Manone. To me he is the best keeper we have. Tall, Composed and have good reflect.

    Fabiasky is good, but he is too nervours trying to perform and he misses it. On his birthday he wanted to impress but ended up flopping. Please give Vito a chance.

    Wenger should note that Toteham are taller, so we should not underestimate them.

    The last match that was drawn, wenger was at fault. I was expecting him to have wasted time by bringing in Vela in place of Chamak. These are delay tactics that we shouldnt teach wenger since the refree kept blowing nonsense and even when it was time he blatantly ignored his clock

  5. Don’t think we should risk Rosicky or Nasri…

    Hoyte, Djourou, Koschielny, Gibbs
    Denilson, Eastmond, Randall
    Eboue, Vela, JET

  6. I think Arsene should field a fairly experienced side tonight. This same Spuds side beat us last season with some of our regualrs in action. They spanked us 5-1 about 2 seasons ago, with Cesc and Adebayor in the team. We need to get past them this time around, at worst put out a side capable of getting a replay.
    If it were in the league, we would have another chance to catch up but if we lose this one, we are out of it for another year. That’s one chance of silverware gone.
    I would like to see Rosicky, Eboue, Koscielny(or Squillaci) and possibly Nasri in the starting line up. We have West Brom at home next, so we can use our “kids” for that one.
    I actually rate Fabianski over Mannone, so I’ll prefer Fabianski in goal.

  7. You mentioned penalties.. Will this tie be decided today or will it go to a replay in case of a draw? Ditto for the FA Cup.. Clear that up please Andrew.

  8. @Femi

    I was thinking about Wenger bringing on Vela during the match. Yes it eats up a little time. but the referee might just add 30 secs more for it. Also, why he was right to not do that is because Chamakh holds the ball up really well. With Vela even that one outlet would have dried up leaving us having to deal with even more pressure.
    I actually felt really sorry for poor Chamakh. He worked so hard throughout the match. must have been totally exhausted afterwards, especially because the result didn’t go our way.

  9. I love North London derbies and can’t wait for the match tonight. I support Fabianski in goal… he usually looks very good, he just needs to work on his decision making in my opinion.

    I definitely think we need Nasri out there. His skill and creativity will be sorely missed if he’s not. Rosicky is a great player, and brings much the same skill as Nasri. Just seem to me that Nasri has a little more quickness and finishing ability.

    Party On!

  10. It looks like that past games against Sunderland is in the past! and that’s good! I like to see our team with a mentality that is always moving forward. And like Almunia said, we need that killer instinct and we sure had it tonight!

  11. Go Arsenal Go….
    Excellenet result…First prominent result of this season.
    To be honest we would have won it in normal time , hadn’t Gibbs not been ruled out off side and had Fabianski kept a good strong hand (Keany though looked off side)

    Koscielny looked awesome…Djourou was good. Gibbs played one of his best matches…Nasri, Denilson were good…but one man (boy) was just fantastic….Wilsere. He was excellent thru out the game.

    Arsene should look to protect him well…i don’t know why i am having this feeling that he would be targetter by the BPL sides this time round 🙁

  12. wenger did the wright thing to put flopianski in the goal so he can fuckup again,get rid of him and give vito and the other kid a chance,but after all is said and done the overall team effort have shown that the kids are beginning to grow nuts,and will kick ass this season,weather with cesc or not,the inclusion of the two graciuos CB and sir chamack wenger has proven hom an expert he is,gunners once,gunners twice,gunners in this life and the one after,wenger is the man.kabum

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