NLD...the North London Derby. Twice a campaign, a fixture that is like a trophy (sorry). To whet your appetite a bit, here's a video of the so-called "best" of Arsenal vs. Tottenham:
A lot of names in there that we'd rather forget currently, eh? Let's have another look at one of my all-time favorite goals in the NLD, where Cesc Fabregas scores while the announcers are still singing the praises of the previous goal:
For more recent nostalgia, we only have to look back to the last two matches, both of which supplied us with a Spud being sent off and both of which finished with the delightful scoreline of Arsenal 5 - 2 Spuds. I'm not sure we can hope for the same accommodations come this Sunday. Let's not forget that we have not managed to win in our previous 4 trips to Shite Hart Lane, drawing and losing twice apiece. Spuds have also only lost twice at home this campaign.
The last few years have seen the Arsenal criticized for being a one player team, particularly when it comes to offensive production. This term, the same criticism could be leveled against our lilywhite neighbors. Gareth Bale has 19 goals in all competitions so far this season; next highest Spuds scorers are Defoe with 14 (who is returning from injury and will probably start on the bench) and Dempsey with 8 (who is currently injured), with goal production petering out from there. This is not to say that Tottenham will be without offensive weapons on Sunday; it is fairly obvious where the danger from them will originate, though.
A positive note for us is that we are no longer dependent on one player to score our goals. Walcott, Giroud, Podolski, and Santi are all into double figures for goalscoring in all competitions this season, with Gervinho and Arteta chipping in. Being that our next match is not until 13 March, there's no excuse to rest any of these players...well, maybe Gervinho. If we're being perfectly honest, there's probably every reason to rest players against Bayern Munich (though remember how close our comeback came against AC Milan?), but that's a whole other post. The point being, I expect all of our big guns out on the pitch in as close to their preferred positions as possible from the start, with no reason to get cute and put Ramsey in goal or some such lark.
We are not without our own key injuries. Both of our starting fullbacks are out injured, with Diaby still perpetually in recovery. Young master Jenkinson will have his hands full mitigating Bale's current marauding form. It's not brilliant punditry to say that containing Bale will go a long way in helping us to a victory.
The lessons from last post still apply. We must finish the chances we are given and not be too quick to offer chances in kind. Basic strategy, really, but both tactics seem to elude us in fits and starts. Every match remaining in our season is important and vital to securing a top four finish but naturally no three points would be as sweet.
Remember one simple fact, win, lose, or draw: we won the league at Shite Hart Lane.