North London rivals clash for glory

After a lacklustre start to the Premier League season, it's do-or-die for Arsenal as they visit Tottenham Hotspur. brings the latest.

Tottenham vs Arsenal Special

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker says he expects Sunday's game against local rivals Tottenham to be like no other derby he has played in.

Mertesacker has become a regular fixture at the heart of the Gunners defence since joining from Werder Bremen for £10million last month.

The centre-half said: "This is my first special game for Arsenal. A lot of people have been telling me about it, how massive it is, and what a special experience it is and I am looking forward to it.

"It is an especially important game for Arsenal and for me. There is nothing similar to it in Germany. You cannot compare Bremen against Hamburg because they are not quite in the same city, so the London derby is bigger."

On the other hand, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will be confident of his team's chances, having only lost one of six north London derby meetings in the league since taking over and he is confident about taking all three points this weekend.

"They'll be difficult to beat but we are a very good team as well so I fancy our chances against anybody," the 64-year-old said.

"I am confident in my own team. I just feel we have good players here.

"Scott Parker and Adebayor coming in have made a massive difference to us.

"Sandro coming back from his long-term injury gives us strength.

"He's a fantastic player so we look strong."

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Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will revert to his first-choice line-up for Sunday's north London derby, meaning Emmanuel Adebayor is in line to face his former club Arsenal at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp, who made 10 changes to his team for the Europa League win over Shamrock Rovers, will give Aaron Lennon a fitness test after he had to come off with a stiff groin last night.

William Gallas (calf), Michael Dawson (Achilles) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle) are out but Steven Pienaar is available to play his first game of the season after overcoming a groin problem.


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Arsenal will give late fitness tests to Theo Walcott (knee) and Gervinho (hamstring) before the game but central defender Laurent Koscielny (ankle) is out.

Johan Djourou (hamstring) also remains out but Yossi Benayoun (thigh) and Sebastien Squillaci both return to the squad after training this weekend.

Midfielders Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby plus defender Thomas Vermaelen continue their rehabilitation from ankle injuries.

Other North London derby must-reads

Tottenham vs Arsenal: Key Battles

Six of the best: Arsenal vs Tottenham

15 years of Wenger: An appreciation

Trophy hurt drives Wenger on

Wenger: I plan to make Arsenal best

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