or tweet @thomgibbs
with the answer to this question: What would you refuse to sell for £1.5.bn?
TOTTENHAM 0 ARSENAL 0
(Kick off 16.00)
15.45 Here are the pre-match thoughts of Graeme Whittaker:
I think we are in for a few goals today. In answer to your question, probably
my wife. But does that mean she is worth more than Arsenal? Anyway my
forecast is 3 - 2 to the Spurs. Looking forward to your blow-by-blow account.
I'm expecting it to be bad-tempered, but blow-by-blow might be a bit strong.
15.40 Some breaking news emerging from White Hart Lane, and it's going
to make you wince:
Twitter: James Maw - Assou-Ekotto is wearing gold boots. MATCHING gold boots.
15.30 Top emailing from Robert Dobson:
Nothing to do with your question but this made me laugh; Sky News cameraman is
clearly no fan of Stewart Robson.
15.20 Today's retro highlights are, unsurprisingly, brought to you by
the year 1991:
15.07 The teams are with us. I'll just leave them here, okay? Don't
Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Dembele,
Parker; Lennon, Bale, Sigurdsson; Adebayor.
Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Gallas, Carroll, Livermore, Holtby, Defoe.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal; Arteta,
Wilshere; Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott; Giroud.
Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain,
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
15.00 Here's your friend and mine Richard Beards, whose fingers
have made thoughts from his mind into an electronic mail:
This game always used to be Spurs' cup final. We'd raise our game but Arsenal
would still win. Now, the teams are more even and Arsenal raise their game
against us. It's been a while since they beat us at home, though. They're
still capable of their old style in a one-off game. But if Spurs want to go
to the next level they have to get CL this season, otherwise the top players
will go, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool will spend again and we could be back
amongst the also-rans. COYS.
In the interests of balance, I would very much like to publish a similarly
rousing email from an Arsenal fan next.
14.50 A veritable slew of pre-match pertinent statistical tweets from
our friends at Opta:
Twitter: OptaJoe - 8 - Emmanuel Adebayor has scored eight times in North London derbies in the Premier League; more than any other player. Renegade.
Twitter: OptaJoe - 1 - Adebayor is the only player to have netted for both Arsenal and Tottenham in Premier League North London derbies. Versatile.
Twitter: OptaJoe - 4 - Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott have both scored four times in the North London derby in the Premier League. Duel.
14.35 This enterprising fellow is doing a roaring trade near White
14.15 Jeremy Wilson's piece on Arsène
Wenger's state of mind is entirely worthwhile pre-match reading. Here's
Wenger has only actually lost five of those previous 39 derbies but he
knows that his team’s ascendancy over Tottenham – and with it their
cherished place among English football’s top four – has never been more
seriously threatened. His once revered methods have also never faced more
scrutiny. And, with his contract expiring next year, Wenger’s own position
has never been the subject of more fervent debate.
14.00 Several of Telegraph Sport's key players are tweeting in
Twitter: Paul Hayward - It's a 9-2 shot that Gareth Bale will start next season at Real Madrid. Without Daniel Levy it'd probably be shorter than that. Spurs - 2-7.
Twitter: Henry Winter - Walking into White Hart Lane. Rarely seen or heard so many touts before a game this season as today. 20+. #thfc #afc #nld
Twitter: Jeremy Wilson - Same reaction from Kroenke and Usmanov today . no offer yet and they won't sell.
13.30 Afternoon liveblog fans.
Spurs reliably jinx themselves ahead of their most monumental meetings with
Arsenal, with a Tottenham player usually saying that he firmly believes that
their squad is now superior to Arsenal's.
That can surely be in no doubt this time around. Who would you rather have,
Kyle Naughton or Carl Jenkinson? Scott Parker or Aaron Ramsey? Gylfi
Sigurdsson or Gervinho? You can make an argument about all three but,
really, it's Naughton, Parker, and Sigurdsson, isn't it?
To arrest this worrying slide towards institutionalised mediocrity Arsenal
need a change in approach. An obvious one presented itself in this morning's
Sunday Telegraph, the £1.5bn
bid that Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov are about to receive for their
They are, apparently not up for selling. And Arsène Wenger's not really up for
buying. So the slide of their team is likely to continue.
Except Arsenal tend to do enough to sneak into the Champions League. And Spurs
have been full of pride before receiving a sharp kick of realism many times
before. And there's that seductive "funny feeling" about football
delivering surprise results when there's a critical mass of praise for one
team and derision for their opponent.
It's an intriguing game, one that it's hard to see Arsenal winning, but one
which they might have to if they're to stop Gareth Bale, Andre Villas Boas
and that dastardly cockerel disappearing over the horizon and into the
Build up, news and teams are all to follow. Then a football match. Stay tuned.
Shall we read a preview together? I think so:
Saturday, March 2
Hotspur v Arsenal
White Hart Lane
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT.
TV: Highlights BBC ONE Match of the Day.
Tottenham (Possible, 4-4-2): Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Gallas, Naughton;
Lennon, Dembélé, Parker, Bale; Defoe, Adebayor.
Out: Huddlestone, Kaboul, Sandro (all knee), Dempsey (calf).
Arsenal (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker,
Vermaelen, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla; Giroud.
Out: Gibbs (thigh), Sagna (knee).
Test: Diaby (calf).
Referee: Mark Clattenburg. Matches: 15. R6 Y45.
Betting: Home 6-5, Away 9-5, Draw 9-4.
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has recovered from an ankle injury and is in
contention for Sunday's north London derby.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas must decide whether to start the striker or
risk Emmanuel Adebayor, who was sent off afer 18 minutes of the reverse
fixture in November.
Younes Kaboul, Sandro and Tom Huddlestone are all absent with knee injuries
while Clint Dempsey is also missing due to a calf problem.
Arsenal will be without defender Bacary Sagna.
Midfielder Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 with a calf problem.
Defender Kieran Gibbs remains out with a thigh injury.
The second north London derby of last season was a defining moment for both
Arsenal unexpectedly won 5-2 and, from a once 10-point deficit, overhauled
Tottenham and again qualified for the Champions League.
The gap this time is only four points but the challenge that awaits Arsenal
tomorrow feels somehow more daunting.
Gareth Bale is having the influence for Tottenham that Robin van Persie
achieved last season for Arsenal and, under Andre Villas-Boas, there is a
heightened resilience and gathering momentum.
Arsenal will do well to draw.
Stat of the game: Both teams play their 800th game in the Premier
League. In the previous 799, Spurs have won 309 while Arsenal boast 428
Jeremy Wilson's prediction: Tottenham Hostpur 3 Arsenal 2
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