Arsenal v Tottenham: Spurs 'won't want to play us' claims Theo Walcott ahead of FA Cup tie

Walcott claims the magic of the FA Cup is special for him being an English player and believes that bitter rivals will not look forward to the third round meeting on Saturday evening

Theo Walcott has warned north London rivals Tottenham it is a “bad time” for them to be facing Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in Saturday's FA Cup third round clash.

The Gunners returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League table, one point ahead of Manchester City, after a late double salvo secured a 2-0 victory over Cardiff at the Emirates Stadium on New Year's Day.

This weekend, though, will be all about the magic of the FA Cup as the top-flight clubs enter the world's oldest knockout competition, with the north London derby set for the primetime TV slot on late Saturday afternoon.

Spurs may have found some form under new boss Tim Sherwood to record a hard-earned 2-1 win at Manchester United on Wednesday, but Walcott maintains tackling the league leaders on their own ground will be a whole different ball game.

"I think it is going to be a bad time to play us as well. For the neutrals it is going to be a very interesting battle," said Walcott, whose well-executed chip in stoppage-time helped seal victory against Cardiff after Nicklas Bendtner's 88th-minute goal had finally broken the visitors' determined resistance.

"The FA Cup is always special, for me, being English as well. I love the FA Cup.

"I can't call it. It is one of those games that is going to be very open.

"Tottenham, since their new (managerial) appointment, have done very well to be fair to them but, like I say, they won't want to play us.

"It is at the Emirates - we are trying to make our stadium into a fortress and we are starting to do that."

Arsenal beat Tottenham 1-0 at home in September and Walcott is relishing the prospect of another north London derby.

"Every time Tottenham come here or we go there, you want to put 100 per cent in and more if you can," the England forward said.

"These are massive games, the games everyone wants to be part of. We have got to be right up for Tottenham and I can't wait for that game at all."

Walcott feels togetherness has been key to Arsenal's progress this season.

"Everyone trusts each other and when you have that you are going to build on that and go from strength to strength," he said.

Walcott's goal against Cardiff was a fifth in as many appearances, the pacy forward now back to full fitness since his return to the side following an abductor muscle injury which needed minor surgery.

"I feel great," the 24-year-old said.

"I missed so many games since the start of the season it has been so frustrating, but I would rather that injury happened at the start than come the end or the middle of the season.

"I am just going from strength to strength. It is nice to be back and enjoying my football."

Bendtner suffered an ankle injury in the process of scoring on Wednesday, when Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall caught him trying to make a save at point-blank range, and is set for a scan to determine the extent of the ligament damage.

Lead frontman Olivier Giroud is also troubled by his own ankle problem but could return to face Spurs along with German playmaker Mesut Ozil, who has been out with a shoulder injury.

Fit-again German forward Lukas Podolski looked rusty against Cardiff when deployed in a central position but may well be given another chance against Spurs.

PA

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing