Football

North London derby a must win for both clubs

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Sherwood is feeling the pressure at Tottenham (©GettyImages)
Sherwood is feeling the pressure at Tottenham (©GettyImages).

The north London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday is now a hugely important game for both sides.

The Gunners need a victory in order to try and rejoin the title race as Chelsea threaten to pull away, and Spurs need a victory to continue to challenge for a top four finish and Champions League football next season.

Both sides struggled in midweek as Tottenham lost 3-1 at home to Benfica in the Europa League and Arsenal bowed out of the Champions League with defeat to Bayern Munich - although a draw in Munich was a good result for the Gunners.

Arsenal do have hopes of capturing the FA Cup as they are now firm favourites after progressing through to the semi-final stage. However, both Arsenal and Tottenham have found the going tough recently which is a far cry from the high early season expectations.

Tottenham spent a lot of money last summer on players such as Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Christian Eriksen but, as so often with foreign stars in their first season in the Premier League, they have found the pace hard to take at times.

Tottenham have taken some severe defeats at the hands of the top teams this season and against Benfica in midweek it was clear that any confidence they have left was draining out of them.

The transfer of Gareth Bale last summer was always going to leave a huge hole in their squad and the loss of Jermain Defoe to the MLS has seen the end of an era for a Spurs legend. Tottenham now need to regroup and focus on their remaining games to see if they can capture the fourth Champions league spot, but it is looking increasingly unlikely.

Like Tottenham, Arsenal spent big in the summer, with £42m on Mesut Ozil. Unfortunately the German is going through a dip in form just at the wrong time which has coincided with Arsenal's inconsistencies.

They have also suffered injuries to crucial members of their squad, like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. Ozil is also now facing a spell on the sidelines. Wenger, by not recruiting in the January transfer window, has attracted criticism and if the club's nine year wait for silverware continues he will feel the pressure even more.

In the next two weeks Arsenal not only face Spurs but also have tricky and possibly decisive games against Chelsea and Manchester City.

So Sunday will be one of the most important games for both sides in recent years. Both clubs will not want to end this season without achieving anything again.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Premier League
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