Premier League: Arsenal vs. Tottenham
Fifth placed Tottenham Hotspur will host title-chasing Arsenal tonight (20:00 BST) for the 146th North London derby in the Premier League.
Defeat for either team could all but end their respective hopes of ending the season on a positive note.
Arsenal’s devastating loss to FC Barcelona last week brought an end to their UEFA Champions League ambitions, but a victory for the Gunners this evening would take them above Manchester United and three points behind Chelsea for the EPL championship. The Spurs, on the other hand, will feel they must win if they are to keep pace with the Manchester City for the final European spot.
“At the start of the year, who would have seen us fourth, compared to the likes of Liverpool and City with their resources,” said Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp. “It’s been massive progress this year.”
However, Arsenal has not lost in the EPL against the Tottenham for more than ten years. In fact the Spurs’ last success over their North London rivals was back in November 1999.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is missing some of his first-choice players, but Redknapp do have some big absences and injury problems of his own. The Spurs are without Wilson Palacios through suspension after the 25-year-old midfielder was booked at Wembley for conceding the dramatic late penalty that was converted by Kevin-Prince Boateng. Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Jenas and Niko Krancjar are also out.
UPDATE: The Spurs gave their Champions League qualification hopes a boost with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at White Hart Lane. They are now just a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the race for European qualification.