Arsenal v Tottenham: Spurs will play with no fear in FA Cup third round tie, says Michael Dawson

Dawson admits he understands what the fixture means to both the fans and the players ahead of FA Cup third round clash

Michael Dawson insists Tottenham have no reason to fear Arsenal this weekend when they travel to the Emirates Stadium for the second north London derby of the season.

Spurs are on a high after they picked up three wins out of four under new manager Tim Sherwood.

Sherwood's most impressive result came at Old Trafford on New Year's Day when Tottenham defeated Manchester United at their own ground for the second successive year.

Sherwood's team were not overawed by the occasion and the same approach will be required on Saturday afternoon when Tottenham take on Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup.

"We never go anywhere with fear, especially Arsenal," Tottenham captain Dawson said.

"It's a north London derby. We know what it means to the fans and to the players. There's immense pride for all of us in pulling that white shirt on, playing for the team and each other.

"That's what we'll be doing on Saturday, as we have all season."

Back on September 1 when Arsenal sneaked a 1-0 win over Spurs in the first derby of the season, few would have predicted the Gunners would be eight points clear of their neighbours come the turn of the year.

There looked to be little between the two sides at the time. If anything, Spurs looked to have a better chance than ever of finishing above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.

Andre Villas-Boas had just shelled out £107million on new signings while Arsenal were yet to spend a penny in the transfer market.

But the day after the derby win, Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil for £42.4million - a transfer that galvanised the club.

The Gunners went from strength to strength and they are now top of the Barclays Premier League table while Spurs are down in sixth.

One advantage Sherwood has over opposite number Arsene Wenger is that he has one of the league's in-form strikers in Emmanuel Adebayor, who has struck up a good partnership with Roberto Soldado recently.

"I played against Ade many times before when he was at City and Arsenal, and he is a handful," Dawson said.

"When he's on his game there's not many better and since he came back into the team him and Robbie (Soldado) are playing well together up front, working their socks off. I think we're benefiting from that.

"It probably scares the other team when you're playing against Ade and Robbie - it's as simple as that.

"When you play against a front pair, you know it's going to be a big test, especially if it's them two. Ade's a big strong boy, you could see that with his goal against United.

"He out-jumped the full-back so well for the header. And Robbie's sharp around the box."

PA

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