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

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before