When Jermain Defoe claimed on regional radio that this weekend's north London was a bigger game for Arsenal than for Tottenham Hotspur, it's unlikely he intended to do anything more than rile opposing supporters ahead of Sunday's summit meeting.

In fact, as well as handing Arsene Wenger an ideal subject for his pre-match pep talk, Defoe delivered the Gunners with some crushing home truths.

Tottenham, 10 points ahead with 13 league games remaining, would all but confirm a third placed birth with a second successive Emirates Stadium victory, thereby securing a finish above Arsenal for the first time in the Premier League for 17 years.

Along with it being the second time in three seasons that Tottenham Hotspur had qualified for the Champions League, it would be a significant step to closing the gap between the two sides.

Granted, it would take several years of dominance for Spurs to be considered the greater force, but given the talk already of Eden Hazard joining the club this summer, this season's finish could set in motion a succession of successful years. Wenger's frugality in the transfer window also suggests Spurs could pull away.

This weekend's result is in fact unlikely to prove pivotal in the race for north London supremacy in the current campaign. The Lillywhites are seemingly home and hosed, but victory for Arsenal would hand Redknapp's side a timely reminder that they're unprepared to go down without a fight.

The ideal scenario for Arsenal would be victory on Sunday, thus retaining their top four position and cutting the gap to Spurs to seven points. Amid the local tussle, Arsenal's priority of finishing in the top four shouldn't be forgotten.

Spurs are caught between two stools somewhat, seven points adrift of City, but 10 clear of Arsenal. Third place is all but there's, but until the end of the season they're there to be shot at. Frankly, they have little to gain, rather than local pride, on Sunday.

Hence the weekend's showdown holds more significant for the red half of north London, who can put their trials this campaign behind them with victory on home turf. Now that would rile opposing fans.

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