by Giuseppe Muro
The draw for the Third Round of the Carling Cup paired Arsenal with their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal have enjoyed some great days at White Hart Lane down the years - but the last time the Gunners met Tottenham in this competition the hosts were victorious 5-1.
Can Arsène Wenger's side make up for that loss tonight? We spoke to Ben Pearce of the Tottenham Journal to get a Spurs perspective on the Third Round tie.
Spurs won the derby at the Lane last season and they won the last time the teams met in the Carling Cup at White Hart Lane a few years back - so they’ve got every reason to think they can win again. It’s an opportunity to win another derby but at the same time it’s the first time they’ve been in the Champions League this season so expectations in the Carling Cup maybe need to be slightly lower. They got to the final two years out of the last three and won it a few years back - that’s the club’s only silverware for a while.
THE ONES TO WATCH
Giovanni dos Santos was a big player at the World Cup and he’s quite young. Sandro is a new signing who arrived two weeks ago - he’s just started training with the Brazilian national team and was the Brazil Under-20 captain a couple of years back. He’s a central midfield player who likes to get forward. I haven’t seen much of him at all but we’re looking at someone in the mould of Wilson Palacios - maybe just better on the ball and slightly less defensive. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to English football. Steven Caulker might play, he’s a centre back who was on loan at Yeovil last season, he won their player of the year award and played virtually every league game in League One. He played 70 minutes in a reserve game last week so he could play.
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
The gap between Arsenal and Tottenham was probably exaggerated a couple of years ago when Spurs had such a bad start under Juande Ramos. Arsenal fans loved that. The season before that Tottenham were Arsenal’s nearest rivals to finish in the top four and were only a couple of points behind them on the last day of the season a few years back. Last season they never looked like they were going to overtake Arsenal but I think the gap has definitely closed and there’s only three points in it in the league at the moment. I think the fans can look forward to a tight race all season.
THE DERBY EFFECT
There’s never a quiet derby no matter how many first-team players are out on the pitch - it’s Tottenham against Arsenal so it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere and that’s obviously going to be a huge lift for whatever Spurs players are out there. I don’t think Arsène Wenger is going to send out a team that’s going to get whacked at Tottenham.