July 3, 2020
  • 9:56 am Abilene Christian’s Hunter Holman Honored as Men’s Tennis Player of the Week
  • 9:48 am TALENTED SANTA ANITA SIMULCAST TEAM SET FOR AUTUMN MEET OPENER ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 27
  • 9:47 am LEGENDARY JOCKEY RAY YORK, WHO WON THE 1954 KENTUCKY DERBY AT AGE 20 ABOARD SANTA ANITA-BASED DETERMINE, DIES AT 86
  • 9:24 am Arsenal vs Spurs set to overtake Liverpool vs Everton as Prem’s dirtiest derby
  • 9:24 am Arsenal and Spurs can’t afford to lose… both should be happy with draw

first_imgONLY the fourth game of the season.A long way to go.3 With so much at stake, Pochettino and Emery might be happy with a point eachCredit: Getty – ContributorYet even before the first international break of the new campaign, Sunday’s North London derby – one of the most ferocious and dirtiest derbies in football – feels like it means so much more.Not just a game that both Arsenal and Spurs are desperate to win.But one in which defeat would reverberate for weeks, maybe months, to come.And a match that could, indeed, shape the way the whole of the rest of the campaign and the battle for the top four places plays out.Tottenham’s horror show home upset by Newcastle last weekend has definitely upped the stakes for Mauricio Pochettino – who has denied “stupid  rumours” he will quit after Sunday – and his men.Senior figures at Spurs were angered, outraged and infuriated by speculation the Argentine is ready to walk, win or lose, after Sunday.In truth, that seems an unlikely prospect.After all, if Christian Eriksen does leave for PSG in a £90million move by Monday’s European deadline, it will have been something Pochettino has been preparing for all summer, one of the reasons he was so keen to bring in Giovani Lo Celso.ACCA WITH LADBROKES Pick up a whole load of acca features to help you land the big oneBut there is no question that Tottenham, so long a happy ship under Pochettino’s demanding reign, are wobbling.And on the verge of suffering something far more demoralising if they fail again at the home of their greatest rivals.The vast majority of Tottenham fans cannot get their heads round Pochettino’s refusal to select Jan Vertonghen – who is being targeted by Bayer Leverkusen – for any of the first three games of the campaign.It appears that the issue is the Belgian’s physical condition and application in training.Yet most Spurs supporters would rather see him alongside Toby Alderweireld, adding natural balance and a long-term understanding to a rocky back line, than Davinson Sanchez.For many of them, it is further evidence of Pochettino’s intransigence, reminiscent of the way he froze out, not just Kyle Walker in 2017, but Alderweireld the following season, the likes of Nabil Bentaleb and Andros Townsend before that and, more recently, Vincent Janssen.SPURS ARE WOBBLINGMost of the time, of course, Pochettino has been vindicated.He may feel the need to start Eriksen at The Emirates and has Dele Alli available too.Heung-min Son will definitely be sharper for having had 90 minutes under his belt and Lo Celso is seeking to find his sharpness. Maybe Harry Kane will be in better nick, as well.Yet Spurs make the short trip along the Seven Sisters Road as underdogs. Big underdogs.Unsurprisingly, in truth. After all, they have only won twice in the League at Arsenal since the formation of the Prem – the initial meeting in May 1993 and the comeback win from two down under Harry Redknapp in 2010.Arsenal fans do not need reminding of that fact. Nor do the Spurs supporters.3 Dele Alli and Heung-min Son could be crucial for TottenhamCredit: Getty Images – GettyIndeed, in recent seasons, the Emirates has been a chastening venue, Spurs’ pretensions and expectations swiftly doused and destroyed.Add in the fact that Pochettino is without Tanguy Ndombele and likely to have to field Moussa Sissoko at right-back – the alternative is Eric Dier – and there is pressure on Unai Emery, too.Arsenal may have salvaged some pride with their last few minutes at Liverpool but the first 80 or so were less impressive, especially defensively.This is a game where David Luiz, brutally exposed against Spurs when in a Chelsea shirt at Wembley last season, has to stand up and be counted for his new manager.Emery’s judgement on the Brazilian, no question, is on trial – especially after the horror show against Liverpool.They did win the first two games, against Newcastle and Burnley, yet neither display was particularly convincing.Emery has to decide whether this is the time to unleash his three most potent attacking talents – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe – in a trident for the first time.Spurs’ defensive vulnerabilities, especially if it is Sissoko alongside Sanchez on the right, suggest it is.And yet, after all the build-up, if Emery crashes and burns on Sunday, it will, for many, feel like Ground Zero all over again. That, for all the talking of the talk, Arsenal are unable to walk the walk.3Latest Arsenal newsLive BlogGunners newsArsenal news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesCONT ME OUTArsenal’s Lacazette ‘not interested’ in joining Inter as Martinez’s replacementGossipINTERESTED PARTEYArsenal ‘most interested’ in Thomas Partey but coronavirus delays talksGUNNER GOLuiz ‘has to go’, Saliba ‘a concern’ and Mustafi not at right ‘level’, says KeownAT YOUR BOC AND CALLTorreira reveals ‘dream and desire’ to one day play for Boca JuniorsWRIGHTY’S OUTRAGEIan Wright says video of George Floyd’s death in US left him ‘drained’A win, for either manager, will be a triumph and a vindication, combined.Likewise, defeat will not just sting. It will bring questions, doubts and anger.Maybe they will both be happy to walk away with a 1-1 draw…Arsenal manager Unai Emery says that Mesut Ozil is fit to face Tottenhamlast_img

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