Spurs V Arsenal at White Hart Lane : Match Preview
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Sherwood hoping for fiery derby
Tim Sherwood wants this weekend's north London derby to be a "blood and thunder" encounter as he believes that will give Tottenham the edge.
Spurs head into the match in need of a morale-boosting victory after heavy back-to-back defeats this past week at Chelsea and then at home to Benfica in the Europa League.
The results likely mean another season without a trophy at White Hart Lane and leaves their top-four ambitions hanging by a thread ahead of Sunday's pivotal encounter with Arsenal.
This, though, is the kind of fixture which can give Spurs a timely shot in the arm and Sherwood wants the game to be a throwback to the derby matches he used to play in.
"It is a fantastic occasion - always was to play in these games," the former midfielder told Spurs TV.
"It is my first time as a manager at the Lane to be standing opposite Arsene Wenger and hopefully I will get one over on them.
"I don't think there is much blood and thunder these days - I want it to be more of that.
"I think that gives us the edge. We are possibly more functional than they are, but if they get into their stride we know they can be very dangerous, so we need to knock them off their stride."
Sherwood's first match in the dugout for a north London derby came in January, when the Gunners ran out 2-0 victors in their FA Cup third-round tie at the Emirates Stadium.
That was the first defeat of his tenure and the pressure has since mounted on the man that succeeded Andre Villas-Boas in December, with talk of a summer departure intensifying as poor results begin to stack up.
Sherwood is only concerned with the here and now, though, and is confident his players - whose desire he criticised after the defeat to Chelsea - will do him proud on Sunday.
"We've got the best game we could have, a north London derby," he said.
"We won't need any more motivation for that, will we? I am sure they will be up for it. It is probably the best game we could have.
"I always thought it was a good time to be playing Arsenal, but it's ups and downs. We have to soldier on, you can't always win games and we know that.
"We're in a difficult period at the moment, coming off the back of two defeats, we have to go out there and be counted and I am sure we will and the crowd will accept nothing less."
Emmanuel Adebayor, Kyle Walker and Mousa Dembele are all struggling to be fit for Sunday's match, while captain Michael Dawson will be absent due to a hamstring injury.
Etienne Capoue, Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches have also been sidelined, although Gylfi Sigurdsson could be involved after training on Friday.
Centre-back Per Mertesacker has warned Arsenal have no more margin for error if they are to last the distance in the Barclays Premier League title race.
The Gunners must pick themselves up from the disappointment of a midweek Champions League exit to Bayern Munich, despite drawing 1-1 at the Allianz Arena, for the small matter of Sunday's north London derby against Tottenham.
However, by the time they kick off at White Hart Lane, Arsene Wenger's side could find themselves 10 points behind leaders Chelsea, albeit with two matches in hand.
Wenger will take Arsenal to Stamford Bridge next weekend for what will be his 1,000th match in charge, before a rearranged clash with Swansea and then the visit of Manchester City on March 29.
Mertesacker accepts Arsenal simply cannot afford any more slip ups like they suffered with the recent defeat at Stoke if they are to get themselves back into the hunt for a potential shot at the double, their FA Cup semi-final against Wigan at Wembley set for April 12.
"These are all decisive games. There are no points to drop anymore. They are vital games and we are up for it," the German said.
"I think it is up to us as to how close we can stay to the top.
"We have to concentrate on ourselves and we have to stay as close as possible to the top and that is the most important thing to us.
"It depends entirely on our finish; how we cope with the situation of our injured players and the situation that we have another chance in the FA Cup."
Mertesacker continued on Sky Sports Weekend Warm-Up show: "We have two competitions left and if we can manage to finish like last year, with strong performances, I think we have a good chance to compete in both competitions until the end.
"The hunger is there and the hunger is increasing.
"We went through tough periods this season and last season, but overall we have shown great spirit and great togetherness, so let's get something out of this season that's what we have to deal with."
With Mesut Ozil facing up to six weeks out because of a hamstring tear adding to the Gunners midfield injury list, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to get another chance to impress.
The 20-year-old England World Cup hopeful thrived from a more central role against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night and Wenger is confident there is plenty more where that dynamic display came from.
"He has the sense of positional play and he has the qualities which you want to see in the modern game, that capability to break through and he has good vision." Wenger said.
"There is a lot more to come from him in many areas, but there is potential to work on.
"He has interesting qualities in this position and is similar to Jack (Wilshere).
"I am sure he has observed Jack as well, to take all the information from Jack to develop in a similar role."
Wenger admits his upcoming personal milestone still takes some getting used to, despite being on the horizon for some time.
"It is a big honour to stay such a long time in such a big club, and that, we cannot predict," said the 64-year-old Frenchman, who was appointed on September 30, 1996.
"I never would envisage that (1,000 Arsenal games).
"We are in a job like you go for the next game and try to do well in that next game. Then step by step, sometimes you get to 1,000."
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