The Capital One Cup third round takes place this week and although it isn’t the most prestigious tournament, this match will catch the imagination of football fans. The first North London derby is going to take place at White Hart Lane and these matches are never dull, even when they take place in the cup competitions. Both sides will see this as a competition that they can win, especially Tottenham, who will want to win a trophy this season. Mauricio Pochettino is overseeing the new era at the Lane and a trophy would be a great way to show that the club mean business.
Spurs last won this competition in 2008 as they beat London rivals Chelsea in the final. This was the club’s last piece of silverware and with the set of players the club has now, they should be challenging for domestic trophies more consistently. The likes of Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen are at a level where they should be challenging for trophies and playing in the Champions League. If Spurs don’t get to that level in the next 18 months, they will probably lose all three, and that would be a huge blow. Although this tournament isn’t very important, it would create a buzz around White Hart Lane which could result in further successes.
Arsenal have won the FA Cup in the last two seasons and are beginning to once again to become a force to be reckoned with. This season has been a mixed bag, but with the players in their squad, they should be one of the top three sides in the division. They will be feeling disappointed after their loss against Chelsea and they were unlucky with how things went, especially in terms of who got red cards, and who didn’t. This mid-week fixture is the perfect opportunity to bounce back and boost the mood within the fanbase.
The sides last met in this competition at this stage in the 2010/11 season. On that occasion Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners at White Hart Lane with Henri Lansbury scoring in normal time, before Robbie Keane equalised for the home side taking it to extra time. In the additional 30 minutes, Samir Nasri scored twice, before Andrei Arshavin added a fourth. In their 2008 success, Tottenham managed to beat Arsenal 6-2 on aggregate in the semi final, before lifting the trophy in February.
The last time Tottenham lifted the trophy, they managed to beat their North London rivals on the way.
Tottenham have only won two of the last eight meetings between the two sides.
Arsenal have scored in the last 14 North London derbies.
Dele Alli has had a good start to his Tottenham career and has been involved in the first team more than he would have expected. Pochettino may use this fixture to play a slightly weakened side, giving his key players a rest ahead of the Premier League match with Manchester City on Saturday. Alli could start against Arsenal and he could have a telling impact on the game. He is very effective in the final third with his dynamic style of play. The former MK Dons player is a good dribbler, while his shooting both in the box and from range will cause Arsenal problems. The impact of training and playing for Tottenham is already evident in his game. At 19 years old, Alli is a huge talent and has already started twice in the Premier League which highlights the belief in him from Pochettino. In the last two matches, he has showed his quality with an assist in the Europa League and an excellent performance in the club’s narrow win over Crystal Palace. His passing and movement in the final third was really good against Alan Pardew’s men and he will be hoping for another good display in the first North London derby of the season.
Theo Walcott has replaced him in the starting eleven, but Giroud is still key for Arsenal going forwards. The Frenchman gives the team more physicality up front, which will be very important against some of the lesser sides in the division. The forward has scored twice in the league this season, which isn’t a bad start considering he has come on as a substitute in half of his six matches. Giroud is an excellent striker of the football and can threaten the goal from almost anywhere in the final third. Moreover, his hold up play and aerial strength give Arsenal a different option to lead the line. In the long term, Giroud is likely to be the club’s main striker again as he can get more involved in the build up play than Walcott can. This is crucial as Arsenal need a striker who can bring their array of talented midfielders into the game.
Ryan Mason could return to play a part against Arsenal. Moussa Dembele is also a doubt with an ankle injury, while Nabil Bentaleb will be missing for a few more weeks.
Santi Cazorla and Gabriel are both suspended after being sent off against Chelsea. Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere remain on the sidelines. Francis Coquelin is also likely to miss out.
It will be an entertaining match as North London derbies always are. I think that there will be lots of goals, with both sides having dangerous attacking lines and dodgy defences. Tottenham have looked stronger at the back this season, but they normally struggle to keep a clean sheet against Arsenal. Harry Kane is still to net for Spurs this season and this could be the perfect fixture to return to form. I fancy Kane to score in a Spurs win.
Tottenham 4-2 Arsenal