By Chris Harris
They say the form book goes out of the window on derby day and that's probably just as well. After all, Arsenal have lost their last two games in the Premiership.
Tottenham fans will be crowing for years to come if Martin Jol's men become the first away team to win at Emirates Stadium. But much depends on which Spurs side turns up - the one which stunned Chelsea at White Hart Lane or the one which crumbled at Reading three weeks ago.
We spoke to James Callow of the Tottenham Journal ahead of Saturday's North London derby. Read on for his views on Spurs' inconsistency, the loss of Michael Carrick, the emergence of Tom Huddlestone and the tactics he expects Jol to deploy this weekend.
THE STORY SO FAR
"They have been inconsistent. The away form has been the main problem and they have had a couple of disappointing results at home. If they had avoided dropping points against Everton and Fulham at White Hart Lane they would be in a very strong position now. Peversely, Tottenham have played very well away from home in Europe and I suppose that is something Arsenal can relate too. Another reason for Tottenham's inconsistency is injuries. Key players like Ledley King and Aaron Lennon have been missing. Ninety per cent of the fans are very happy with Martin Jol. Some question him after a defeat but not many. He's a long way from having the kind of security that Arsène Wenger has but the fans are pretty loyal to him."
MAN OF THE MOMENT
"Lennon in particular is just so important to the team now. Steed Malbranque was injured for the first 10 weeks of the season so when Lennon was out Tottenham had no cover in that position. Teams have tried to work out how to play against him but he is still always dangerous and sometimes teams just have no answer."
"Dimitar Berbatov has been good but inconsistent. He struggled against supposedly lesser teams like Watford and Reading but he's likely to be completely focused against Arsenal. Didier Zokora is dangerous when he runs from midfield. He is known as a defensive midfielder but with Jermaine Jenas injured he has been playing alongside Tom Huddlestone and they decide when to sit and when to go forward."
"They missed Michael Carrick to start with and that's one reason why Jol bought Malbranque because he can pass the ball well. Zokora runs with the ball and tackles better than Carrick but he's a basic passer of the ball, he wins it and recycles possession like Gilberto does for Arsenal. For Spurs the emphasis switched from Carrick's creativity in the centre to the wide positions. They are still finding their feet with that change."
THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO
"I think Tom Huddlestone is as good as passer as Carrick. He's obviously a lot taller - six foot three - and he's about 16 stone which is big for a 19-year-old. He's not a leggy player like Patrick Vieira but has a huge build. He doesn't get around the pitch with great speed but Jol has compared his style to Franz Beckenbauer because he strolls around the pitch and moves the ball very accurately. In my opinion Huddlestone and Theo Walcott are the best players in the England Under-21 side, which isn't bad for a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old."
"I don't think Jol will play 4-5-1. He'll probably play Robbie Keane instead of Jermain Defoe because Keane can drop into midfield. For example, he dropped wide left when Spurs wanted to hold onto their lead against Chelsea when they beat them at White Hart Lane. Keane is more disciplined in that role than Defoe. The other positions Jol has to decide is who plays on the left and who plays alongside Zokora. It's Teemu Tainio or Malbranque for the wide role and Jenas or Huddlestone in the centre."
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"The fans will be quite confident but Arsenal losing in midweek won't have helped Spurs very much. I don't think they will play for a draw but if they get it I think they will be happy."
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 1 Dec 2006