Football: Arsene Wenger has challenged his Arsenal players to kickstart their season by beating arch-rivals Tottenham tomorrow.
The Gunners boss leads his side into the Ashburton Grove clash looking to dispel a recent dip in form that has seen them win just two of their last seven matches.
Spurs, meanwhile, are one position higher, three points off fourth spot after last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City, and Wenger is keen for his side to inflict their fourth loss in five.
“For some time, we were winning championships and Tottenham were not in the top four at all, so of course they have got closer in recent years, but fortunately we managed always to get above,” said Wenger.
“Tottenham have a good side every year and they are a team who are now fighting with us.
“It is important in the end to have consistency, and certainly the results in the two derbies can have a big influence as well on the qualifying spots for the Champions League.”
Last term’s clash at Ashburton Grove saw Arsenal run out 5-2 victors, a result that spurred them on to a third-place finish and Champions League football.
Wenger added: “Every London derby is important. We dropped some points recently and we want to come back in a more consistent way of results. That is why it is a good opportunity to do that tomorrow.”
Winger Theo Walcott, playmaker Mikel Arteta and striker Olivier Giroud are all doubts though goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could be back in the side for the first time since September after recovering from an ankle problem.
Meanwhile Steven Caulker admitted he was excited at the prospect of beating Arsenal in a Tottenham shirt for the first time tomorrow.
The 20-year-old said: “That’s what I have always wanted to do. Last year I beat Arsenal 3-2 when I was at Swansea. That was obviously a great moment and I hope we can do the same at the weekend.”
Spurs boss Villas-Boas revealed that Jermaine Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker — who all missed England’s game in Sweden with hamstring injuries — will be fit and may be involved.