So here we are again – for the fourth time this season, Arsenal and Spurs will square off against each other, with the familiar build up focusing on our impressive record against the old enemy over the years.
Tonight is something different though, because Spurs go into the second leg of the Carling Cup semi as favourites, based on both the first leg draw, and the confirmation that Wenger will, for the most part, stick to the same youngsters that have brought us this far.
There are exceptions – with Toure in Ghana, Djourou already out, and now Senderos injured, Gallas steps in as the only remaining centre back, to partnered by one of Hoyte or Sagna, probably the former.
With Song also at the African Cup of Nations, and Diarra now departed, there are a couple of spaces for more experienced players, and Wenger has suggested that he’ll line the bench with game changing options, not a bad plan given that he may not field the first choice eleven in the FA Cup this weekend either.
I have to say I’ve been predicting we’d lose this one for a while. The recall of Gallas should at least make our defence less shaky – two weeks ago Spurs were waltzing through, but we’ll need to pose more of a threat going forward this time.
There are questions – can the kids prove themselves again? Are Spurs able to get past their mental block? Personally, I can see it going to extra time, but us getting edged out. Of course, Spurs would celebrate that like they’d won the league, but that just shows the gap between the clubs is as big as it has ever been.
Either way, it should be a fun tie, with the pressure and the expectation off their shoulders for once. A win would be utterly fantastic, but even an honourable defeat would be acceptable.
My heart says Walcott will answer his critics with a brace. My head says a 2-1 defeat.