Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe in confident mood ahead of north London derby
Wednesday 22 February 2012
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is confident his team can complete their first north London derby double in almost 20 years this weekend.
Spurs head to Arsenal on Sunday knowing a win would stretch their lead over the fourth-placed Gunners to 13 points with 12 matches of the Barclays Premier League season left.
Harry Redknapp's side overcame their bitter rivals 2-1 at White Hart Lane in October, but they have not done the double over the Gunners in the league since the 1992-93 campaign.
Having lost just once in their last 15 games, the Tottenham squad are upbeat about their chances of claiming a telling victory, according to Defoe.
"It's going to be a difficult game but I'm confident, obviously, with the way we're playing," Defoe told radio station LBC 97.3.
"We've got a really strong squad now and everyone's playing well.
"Everyone's firing and team spirit is fantastic which I think is always important if you want to try to achieve something.
"We've got a great chance to go there and get three points."
Arsenal have been seen as the strongest team in north London for the best part of the last two decades but this year has seen the balance of power tip to White Hart Lane.
Tottenham's enterprising attacking play, and the excellent form of the likes of Scott Parker, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric have made them arguably the best team to watch in the top flight.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have experienced probably their worst season under Arsene Wenger's stewardship.
The Gunners' erratic form has left them vying with Chelsea for fourth place and they are almost certainly out of the Champions League following their humiliating 4-0 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 tie at AC Milan last week.
For that reason, Defoe thinks three points will matter more to Arsenal than Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.
"It means more to Arsenal than us obviously because of the way things have gone for them this season," he said.
"I think it's been a lot of ups and downs, where at the beginning they didn't start too well, then they picked it up and then they've had a little blip again."
Arsenal controlled large parts of the reverse fixture at the start of the season and would have come away with a point had it not been for Kyle Walker's wonder strike 17 minutes from time.
Defoe is therefore worried about taking Sunday's opponents lightly despite their recent poor form.
"I've always said they're a good team," he added.
"You can't write Arsenal off. In football it's always the next game, you can change it in the next one. And I think, playing against us, it'll be a different Arsenal from what people have seen over the last few weeks."
Defoe has scored just once in 14 north London derby appearances and is likely to be on the bench for Sunday's game.
Emmanuel Adebayor missed last weekend's FA Cup fifth-round draw at Stevenage after twisting his knee in training but is expected to be fit for what promises to be a hostile return to his old club.
He is likely to be partnered up front by Rafael van der Vaart, who is in full training after recovering from a calf injury that has kept him out of the last three games.
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