PREVIEW: Arsenal, Spurs brace for derby

Tottenham and Arsenal will be desperate to kickstart their stuttering Barclays Premier League campaigns with in Saturday's north London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

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Spurs have lost their last three league matches while their rivals are a place below them in eighth thanks in part to defeats against Norwich, Chelsea and Manchester United.

It has been 18 years since Tottenham finished above Arsenal in the table, but Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is determined to end that run.

"We have to (finish above Arsenal),'' Villas-Boas told reporters. "It is possible to bridge the gap. We are looking at trying to shorten the gap and not letting it grow.

"To play for fourth spot is difficult bearing in mind the competition you have to overcome. It's possible to bridge it.

"Arsenal have won trophies in recent times and they have qualified for the Champions League more often. That is where we want to be in the future. We're getting nearer.''

Mousa Dembele will be missing with a hip problem while Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker all have hamstring problems.

Villas-Boas continues to be without long-term absentees Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul.

Arsenal have slightly better news on the injury front with two key men potentially available for selection.

"(Wojciech) Szczesny (ankle), (Theo) Walcott (muscle), (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) Chamberlain (hip) - they all have a chance to be in the squad," manager Arsene Wenger told the Arsenal official website.

"Walcott came off against Fulham and will have a test tomorrow (Friday). So will Szczesny."

Bacary Sagna will also undergo tests on Friday, but long-term absentees Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby and Kieran Gibbs will miss the game, as will Gervinho.

At the other end of the table, the bottom two QPR and Southampton face-off at Loftus Road. There has been talk that the loser will sack their manager, but Saints chief Nigel Adkins does not believes that either he or Mark Hughes will be unemployed come Monday morning.

"I don't think it will have any relevance whatsoever for either manager," he said.

"I'll be perfectly honest because that is what you're going to build it up as because we've got two managers, two football clubs at the wrong end of the table.

"I am pretty sure, I am pretty confident that both managers will be in situ come on Monday."

Adkins boasts a near fully-fit squad for the trip to west London, with only Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow ruled out.

QPR midfielder Esteban Granero is under no illusions about how important the game will be for his side.

"We know this is going to be massive for us," the Spaniard told the club's official website. "We play at home against one of our rivals. We know the supporters are with us and they deserve more than we are giving to them.

"All we can do is continue training hard and give everything on the pitch on Saturday."

Reading have yet to win this season and host fourth-placed Everton, while Wigan make the short trip to Liverpool.

Champions Manchester City face Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium, Newcastle are at home to Swansea and in the late game Manchester United travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich.

Fulham take on Sunderland in Sunday's game and on Monday West Ham take on Stoke.

Saturday's Barclays Premier League Fixtures

Arsenal vs Tottenham

Walcott doubtful for Spurs clash

AVB determined to beat Arsenal

West Brom vs Chelsea

Cech: Clarke has done well with Baggies

Olsson: I enjoyed working with RDM

QPR vs Southampton

Hughes: I'm a part of QPR's future

Adkins receives Lambert backing

Reading vs Everton

McDermott hoping to get off the mark

Moyes expects quiet January for Toffees

Man City vs Aston Villa

Aguero: City are not doing badly

Lambert: Benteke happy at Villa

Liverpool vs Wigan

Rodgers downplays Martinez pressure

Martinez eyes top-10 finish for Wigan

Newcastle vs Swansea

Pardew hopeful Cisse will face Swansea

Laudrup predicts tough Magpies test

Norwich vs Man United

Rooney doubtful for Norwich, RVP fit

Hughton focused on Norwich, not United

Sunday's Barclays Premier League Fixture

Fulham vs Sunderland

Jol seeks Fulham defensive improvements

Meyler gunning for Sunderland spot

Monday's Barclays Premier League Fixture

West Ham vs Stoke

Diame: Hammers hard work paying off

Pulis: Stoke are proud of Shawcross



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