Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal this weekend at White Hart Lane in a pulsating clash for Champions League qualification. Spurs currently lie third in the Premier League, four points ahead of Arsenal. Arsenal ran out 5-2 victors last season, although they did fall behind to an early Emmanuel Adebayor goal. The Togolese centre forward was soon after sent off, allowing Arsenal to dominate their 10 man rivals.
Hugo Lloris will start in goal for Tottenham this weekend. The Frenchman will be hoping for an improved performance than earlier in the season. In Lloris' second league start for Spurs, the former Lyon man conceded 5 goals against a rampant Arsenal side. He has however has come on leaps and bounds this season and has quickly established himself as one of if not the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. The France captain took little time to settle into the ruthless, aggressive football accustom in the Premier League, and will look to add to his impressive display's so far.
Kyle Walker will get the nod at right back for Spurs. The 22 year old has had a difficult season so far, but his pace, power and direct running give Spurs an ample attacking threat on the counter attack. Michael Dawson will partner Steven Caulker at centre back. The latter was unlucky not to get on the score sheet against West Ham on Monday, whilst Michael Dawson looks like the sort of defender he was under Harry Redknapp. The 29 year old had an odd start to the season, but has added extra authority and leadership to a strong back line. I hope Jan Vertonghen starts at left back for Spurs. The 25 year old Belgian is a terrific athlete, and adds a similar attacking threat down the left as Kyle Walker.
Scott Parker will partner Moussa Dembele in the two defensive midfield positions for Spurs. The Belgian adds power and skill to the Tottenham midfield, whilst Scott Parker has the intelligence and experience to shield the back four. Dembele has been a massive hit with the Spurs faithful since his move from Fulham, and is a big part of Andre Villas-Boas' plans.
Aaron Lennon will be on the right of a midfield trio. The 25 year old has had an impressive campaign to date under Villas-Boas, improving his game vastly. The former Leeds man now has the tendency to drift centrally to the Tottenham attack, having a bigger effect on the game. Lewis Holtby will play as the central attacking midfielder. The January signing has admitted: “I'm buzzing for the north London derby, it's a massive game for us. We have to be prepared to try and get the win.” Of course, Gareth Bale will line up on the left for Tottenham Hotspur. The Welsh wizard has 19 goals in all competitions for Spurs this season, and will look to continue his impressive array of performances till the end of the season.
According to the Sun, Jermain Defoe could be in line for a shock return this weekend against Arsenal. Defoe has been out since the start of February with an ankle injury against West Brom. As important as Defoe may be, AVB will not rush the 30 year old back unless he is 100% fully match fit. Spurs have in fact won 3 out of 4 without the England man.
In which case, Emmanuel Adebayor will lead the line for Spurs. The former Arsenal man opened the scoring earlier in the season, but has been guilty of missing some absolute sitters in recent weeks, most notably against West Ham. Tottenham fans will be desperate to see the same Emmanuel Adebayor as last season, who was near on unplayable.