The last time Arsenal played Tottenham, the day ended very happily for the Gunners as they ran out 5-2 winners after Emmanuel Adebayor’s reckless and dangerous tackle earned him a red card. If you look at the teams from that day, Spurs have lost two big strong midfielders, Sandro and Huddlestone, to injury. They are also with out two of their forward players Dempsey and Defoe, so Arsenal should feel confident of a good result.
The main problem for Arsenal is the current form of Gareth Bale. Villas-Boas has been forced to play him in a more central role because of the club’s injury problems, and he has responded by smashing in goals, which must make AVB feel like he has won the jackpot as suddenly everything is going right! The 23-year old Welshman has scored eight goals in the last six games and has now got 19 for the season. He is clearly Spurs’ best player, and there is a school of thought that believes the way to beat Tottenham is to stop Bale.
I do think it is important to work hard to close him down, but we should not focus on him too much, because that would give too much space to the rest of his team mates. Adebayor is always desperate to do well against his old club, and can be a real handful when he puts his mind to it, and Jermain Defoe could still play some part in the game.
Arsenal simply need to believe that they are better than Spurs, then go out there and prove it.