According to the Evening Standard, Tottenham Hotspur have finally been given a date of May 12 to face arch-rivals Arsenal in the north London derby, after it was rescheduled from its original date earlier in the year, write the Tothelaneandback.
January 16 was when the fixture was supposed to be played, but due to a request from the Gunners about postponing the match due to a shortage of first-team players, it was pushed to take place later in the season.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had spoken before the international break about the fixture, saying he was worried about when it would be held given how important the tie is and that the club has to speak to the authorities regarding the new date.
“Yes, because I don’t know and we are not going to be deciding and it’s going to be very important. That’s nothing to do with me. The club has to arrange those conversations.”
With the game now being played in the last month of the campaign, nearly ten days before the end of the season, the derby could turn out to decide the fate of either team in the context of who secures the Champions League play-off spot.
“I don’t forget this”
At the moment, the two north London clubs seem to be best placed to finish in fourth place. Spurs are currently occupying that position, while the Gunners sit in fifth place – although both teams are level on points. However, Arsenal have played one game less, which they could take advantage of in due course.
Lilywhites manager Antonio Conte knows exactly what is at stake, hitting out Arteta’s comments and saying that the Spaniard should remember that they pushed the game for their benefit before speaking out about what is unfair or not.
“I only want Arteta to remember the game postponed – Tottenham-Arsenal – if we speak about unfair. In general, I think my answer is enough. If someone wants to think about fair or unfair. We postponed the game, Tottenham-Arsenal if you remember. I don’t forget this. And it’s not right to speak about fair or unfair.”
The north London derby has always been a feisty affair, but given Conte’s recent comments, things seem to be heating up off the pitch well before the game has taken place. This rescheduled fixture will be played in the background of a controversial decision to allow Arsenal to push the game, and it is sure to make it a tense match when it takes place in May.
Add to this the fact that the Gunners humiliated Tottenham 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in the previous derby of the season, Conte will be looking for revenge as he looks to get back at Arteta and his men.
The Gunners’ loss last night against Crystal Palace has boosted our chances of securing fourth place over them, despite the fact that they have a game in hand. A win against them on May 12 will put us in the best possible position to finish the season strongly- we also boast of a goal difference as of now, with Spurs having a +15 GD as compared to Arsenal’s +10.
But until then, we need to showcase the same kind of intensity and energy as we did against Newcastle United on the weekend, where we romped to a 5-1 win. With the rescheduled north London derby being played at home, we can rely on our fans to back us with their voice to defeat our arch-nemesis.