Three reasons why Tottenham will beat Arsenal in the League Cup
Owen Fulda examines three reasons why Tottenham will win Wednesday's north London derby
There will be 36,000 people crammed inside White Hart Lane tomorrow when the latest incarnation of the north London derby kicks off. The vast majority will be cheering on the home side and when Tottenham supporters are in the mood, the atmosphere inside their ground is white hot. There’s no doubt the Harry Kane et al will feed off the energy created by their vociferous support and it should spur them on to a fast start. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will look to attack Arsenal and go a goal to the good early in order to crank the pressure up on the Gunners. Spurs eked out a win on Sunday without really getting out of second gear. Perhaps they were subconsciously saving themselves for this game which means bragging rights for the winners and more consternation for the losers. With neither side making a trailblazing start to the Premier League season, this Capitol One Cup game means probably more to both sets of fans than it does the players. Expect fireworks down at the Lane.
Expect Wenger to rest players
With Santi Cazorla and Gabriel Paulista suspended following their red cards in the defeat by Chelsea on Saturday, Arsene Wenger will have to make some enforced changes to his starting line-up. But it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise should he bring some back-up players into the team for a competition he has always regarded with a lesser degree of importance. World Cup winner Per Mertesacker is expected to replace Gabriel, but Francis Coquelin is unlikely to feature as is Chile star Alexis Sanchez who looks exhausted. This could play into Tottenham’s hands as they Pochetino will more than likely field his strongest side in front of their home fans. Arsenal have suffered back-to-back defeats and mustered just six goals in seven games this season so Wenger risks the wrath of the Gunners faithful should a questionable team selection backfire in a game of such high stakes. When Spurs beat Arsenal 5-1 in the same competition back in 2008 they released a DVD to commemorate the victory. With the two rivals more closely matched these days let’s hope there won’t be any need for a sequel.
Son’s form and the return of Eriksen
Could it be that Tottenham have found the man to partner Harry Kane up front? Son Heung-min’s two goals in the UEFA cup last week were followed up with another goal in his man-of-the-match performance in the win over Crystal Palace. He dovetailed nicely with the returning Christian Eriksen who brings a much needed creative dimension to Tottenham’s midfield, which had regressed in his absence. With Coquelin likely to be replaced by the ageing Mikel Arteta, Eriksen should find himself given enough space to pick passes and play incisive though-balls which Heung-min will latch on to using his abundant pace. The two sides haven’t met in the league cup since 2011 when Arsenal overcame their rivals 4-1 after extra-time. Neither manager will want the tie to go beyond the 90 minutes with their European commitments next week so we should expect a free-flowing game of attacking football. Here’s hoping.