Arsenal vs Tottenham: 5 Things Spurs Should Look for in the North London Derby
This should be interesting.
Coming into the first North London Derby of the 2012-13 football season, neither club has been on their best form.
For Arsenal, a loss to Manchester United and a 3-3 draw with Fulham has them sitting back in eighth place in the league. Meanwhile, losses to Wigan and Manchester City have Tottenham one spot and one point ahead of their rivals.
Needless to say, both teams will be looking for a win in this heated encounter. However, both will also be looking for a few other good signs from their sides.
On the back of two disappointing performances in the league, what will Spurs be hoping to see from their squad on Saturday?
Here are five things that Andre Villas-Boas and Tottenham supporters should watch for at the Emirates.
Clint Dempsey Must Get Involved
As any Tottenham fan would let you know, American midfielder Clint Dempsey has not been great since coming to White Hart Lane in the summer. Game-winning tap-ins against Manchester United and Southampton not withstanding, Dempsey has really failed to get involved in matches, almost disappearing at many points.
However, due to a few key injuries and similarly poor performances of Gylfi Sigurdsson, I would expect Clint to find some playing time on Saturday.
A good performance would be fantastic for everyone, giving Spurs yet another offensive weapon while winning over some fans who are losing their patience for Dempsey.
On the other hand, another nondescript performance could have Dempsey starting from the bench for the foreseeable future.
Center of Defense Must Improve
Injuries to Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (which has forced Jan Vertonghen to shift to left-back) have left manager Andre Villas-Boas with no option but to start William Gallas and Steven Caulker in the center of the defense.
While the two have chipped in in the goal-scoring department, their play at the back hasn't been as solid as one would hope.
The two have been beaten far too easily through the middle, especially on runs by Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero last week.
Hopefully, this issue will be resolved going up against Arsenal's quick and capable attack.
Emmanuel Adebayor Get into the Match as Much as He Did Against City
Throughout his career, Emmanuel Adebayor's work ethic and attitude have been called into question by doubters. However, no one could question the big striker's dedication during last week's 2-1 loss to Manchester City.
Further, Adebayor got a match-winner for his country, Togo, in midweek and had a couple good matches against Arsenal last season.
With Jermain Defoe a doubt for Saturday's derby, Spurs will hope to see another good performance from the Togolese striker as he goes up against another former employer.
If he does well, Adebayor will get the type of playing time he has wanted and Spurs will have a pair of strikers on good form.
Kyle Naughton Puts in a Good 90 Minutes
With Kyle Walker doubtful for the derby thanks to a hamstring strain, Spurs seem to be heading into the first North London Derby of the season without both of their first-choice fullbacks.
On the left side, Jan Vertonghen has proved more than capable in filling in for Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Meanwhile, Kyle Naughton seems the logical replacement for Walker should he be unable to go.
If Naughton puts in a decent showing Saturday, it would be invaluable to Spurs, proving their depth at the back.
Don't Concede in the Final 10 Minutes!
I feel like I'm a broken record on this point, but I would really like to see Spurs improve their late-match defense.
Of the 16 league goals they have conceded this year, six have come in the final 10 minutes of the match. That's an incredible 37.5 percent of the goals coming in a window that comprises 11.1 percent of the match.
Whether it is because of tactical naivete as AVB pulls people back or fatigue caused by numerous injuries, this statistic is unacceptable.
A stand against Arsenal would be nice.
So there's what I think. What do you think?
Any thoughts on the derby? Anything I missed? Anything I was wrong about?
Let me know in the comments section below!
For the latest news in the world of football, follow me on Twitter.