Arsenal v Tottenham preview
Spurs looking to record rare league double over Gunners
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs. Last Updated: February 24, 2012 3:20pm
Local bragging rights are once again up for grabs at the Emirates
One of the most anticipated Premier League fixtures of the season graces the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday lunchtime as Arsenal and Tottenham do battle with plenty at stake at the Emirates.
The rivalry between the two clubs has seldom been fiercer following a recent shift in power between the North London neighbours.
For so long it was Arsenal who claimed local bragging rights, however for the first time under Arsene Wenger's stewardship, it is the Gunners who find themselves in huge danger of not only finishing beneath Spurs, but also outside the top four.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have assumed the status of genuine title challengers under Harry Redknapp and currently sit in third place just seven points off top spot and 10 ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal.
With UEFA Champions League football all-but guaranteed for the Spurs faithful next season, their main focus now, it appears, is to keep hold of the man who has been integral to their success - England managerial target Redknapp.
Redknapp takes his side to the Emirates on the back of a nervy 0-0 draw with Stevenage in the fifth round of the FA Cup, but in league terms, in the aftermath of a 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle.
Arsenal were all-but condemned to a sixth successive trophyless season following a 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Sunderland last week - a result which came just days after a humiliating 4-0 first-leg loss at AC Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Gunners' league form has been more encouraging, though, with the race for fourth place serving as plenty of motivation in recent weeks.
Wenger's men have lost just twice at home in the league this season - Manchester United and Liverpool coming away victorious - and host Tottenham on the back of a 7-1 league hammering of Blackburn in their previous home league fixture.
Spurs will be hoping attacking duo Rafael van der Vaart and former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor come through late fitness tests to help their quest for a first Premier League double over Arsenal since 1993.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto underwent minor groin surgery last week, but is expected to play while Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe have also made full recoveries from recent injuries.
Arsenal will be sweating over the fitness of Wales captain Aaron Ramsey, who limped out of the side's 2-0 cup defeat at Sunderland, striker Marouane Chamakh (toe) and central defender Laurent Koscielny (knee).
Fellow defenders Per Mertesacker and Santos remain sidelined with ankle injuries, while Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby are also definite absentees.
Mike Dean has been appointed referee for Sunday's match, not a good omen for the Gunners, who have failed to win any of the last 11 league games with the Wirral official in charge.
Possible starting XI's
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Walcott, Van Persie.
Tottenham: Freidel; Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Modric, Bale, Lennon; Van der Vaart, Adebayor.
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