Once upon a time there was a club in Woolwich. For reasons known only to God and Sir Henry Norris, it moved close to the Tottenham Marshes and the home of a handsome club with a chicken on its crest. And to add insult to injury, soon after the chicken-crest club and the heroes of this story were wrongly consigned to the second flight to the benefit of the Woolwich club. The interloper club parlayed that injustice and swiftly developed into a powerhouse club, and a hatred was born, forged by treachery, fed by animosity, and swiftly galvanized into one of the biggest and most heated rivalries in all of English football.
Tonight, amends can be made.
Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal in the latest and perhaps most important North London Derby in the 107 year history between the two clubs. Tottenham are second in the table, three points behind Leicester City, and three more points above their heated rivals. Win, and Spurs open a six point gap on the Gunners and immediately make themselves the favorites (even with Leicester!) to win the Premier League.
Michael Caley sums it up the best with his fancy stats:
Here's my North London Derby projection. It's kind of a big deal!— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) March 4, 2016
Full preview coming shortly... pic.twitter.com/jjvwXn27vA
Tottenham are hoping to have midfield destroyer Mousa Dembele back for this match at White Hart Lane. He's been out with a groin injury since the FA Cup loss to Crystal Palace, but if he's ready to go he immediately solidifies Spurs' midfield. Don't expect any more rotation for this one: It's Arsenal. Damn the torpedoes. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min, Erik Lamela, and Dele Alli will all start today.
Arsenal, by contrast, are banged up, and will start with David Ospina in goal and Gabriel Paulista in central defense after injuries to Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny. Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey will anchor the midfield with Meszut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez behind Olivier Giroud.
All this we know.
The implications of this match are enormous. The Premier League title is tantalizingly within grasp with ten matches to go. Both clubs know it. Both clubs want it. Only one will have it. Don't expect either club to play for a draw: they're in it to win.
OH BABY. STRAP IN, CHUCKLEHEADS, IT'S TIME FOR THE DERBY. COYS!!
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, March 5, 2016, 12:45 p.m. (UK), 7:45 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, North London, UK
Official: Michael Oliver
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), BT Sport (UK), TSN (Canada), Fox Sports 4 (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA), BT Sport Live Streaming (UK)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also BBC Radio London and TalkSport
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