Thierry Henry hopes derby can 'spark' Arsenal players

 

Thierry Henry has challenged his old Arsenal team-mates to kick-start their season with victory over arch-rivals Tottenham at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Frenchman has now returned to the United States to link up again with the New York Red Bulls following the end of his short loan spell back with the Gunners.

Henry's final match was the 4-0 defeat to AC Milan which left Arsenal's Champions League hopes in tatters before they then crashed out of the FA Cup at Sunderland - where Henry had netted a dramatic late winner in the Barclays Premier League the week before.

Arsene Wenger's men will be aiming to consolidate fourth place ahead of Chelsea, who host Bolton tomorrow, with what would be a morale-boosting victory over their fierce rivals, who by contrast are enjoying a fine season under Harry Redknapp.

Henry, though, feels a win on Sunday could be the start of a positive end to what has so far been a wayward campaign.

"For years we have been used to being on top of Tottenham, by a mile, and now it is the opposite. But this is the derby, which you don't want to lose, and we need those three points massively," Henry told Arsenal Player.

"Hopefully it will be the derby that can spark the players, the fans, everybody at Arsenal. We'll see.

"The league is going to be very difficult but the top four is in Arsenal's hands.

"They have the squad, there is a long way to go, they have to play Chelsea at home, Tottenham at home, Newcastle at home, Man City at home... it is not impossible."

Arsenal and Tottenham have issued a joint statement warning fans anti-social behaviour during Sunday's north London derby will not be tolerated.

Spurs' former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor is the biggest concern - he was the target of abuse during the first meeting between the sides at White Hart Lane in October.

The statement read: "A north London derby is always a special occasion and we hope this game will be remembered for both the action on the pitch as well as the positive support for both teams off it.

"All fans should be aware that breaches of ground regulations - including anti-social behaviour - will not be tolerated."

The Gunners may only be a place behind Tottenham in the league table - but there is a 10-point gap.

Defender Johan Djourou claims the Gunners need to forget about that and "go to war".

He told www.Arsenal.com: "When you play them, you forget the table; it is a battle and the best team will win.

"They are in great shape this season, they have been playing a lot better than before, but you have to forget about that and go to war.

"It is up to us to show that we are the kings of London."

Swiss international Djourou could again be asked to play at centre-back should Laurent Koscielny not have recovered from the knee problem which saw him hobble off in Milan and then miss the FA Cup tie at Sunderland.

Full-back Carl Jenkinson played for the first time since November for the reserves in midweek in their 5-0 win at Norwich, where Andrey Arshavin scored twice and South Korea forward Park Ju-young was also on target.

PA

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