The tie of the round pits Tim Sherwood’s resurgent Tottenham against league leaders Arsenal. The Gunners have been steely rather than spectacular in recent matches, but they are still the team to beat in the league, thanks to their newfound habit of grinding out ugly wins.
By contrast, Spurs are playing their most fluent football of the season under new boss Sherwood, with nine goals in their last four games a refreshing change from the stodgy fare served up under the departed Andre Villas-Boas. Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor look especially revitalised, and the north London derby has a habit of bringing out the best and worst in the mercurial Togolese striker, who has ten goals and a red card in this fixture.
Arsenal’s excellence in the league has somewhat diverted attention from the empty shelves in their trophy cabinet, but no-one at the club will need reminding that they are on an eight-year silverware drought. A win over their bitter rivals would increase confidence that they can end that run this season; a defeat would narrow their trophy options and intensify the pressure on their league title chase.
KICK OFF: Saturday, 5.45pm
LAST THREE MEETINGS:
Arsenal 1 (Giroud) Tottenham Hotspur 0, Premier League, September 2013
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Bale, Lennon) Arsenal 1 (Mertesacker), Premier League, March 2013
Arsenal 5 (Mertesacker, Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla, Walcott) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Adebayor, Bale), Premier League, November 2012
Arsenal have won their last three home games against Tottenham. Spurs last won at Arsenal with a 2-3 victory in 2010.
Arsenal won the last time these teams met in the FA Cup, triumphing 2-1 in the 2001 semi-final. Spurs’ last FA Cup win over their rivals also came in the semi-finals, 3-1 in 1991.
Arsenal haven’t scored in the first half of their last 4 matches.
Spurs have won their last 5 away games in all competitions.
The last three games between these sides at the Emirates have produced 15 goals and 2 red cards.
Arsenal to win: 1.8
Tottenham Hotspur to win: 3.9
TV: Live on ITV1 at 5.45pm. Highlights on ITV1 at 11.05pm.