In a North London derby which might have a huge say in both these teams’ destiny this season, Tottenham and their manager Harry Redknapp have been dealt a huge blow as they will be making the trip to the Emirates Stadium without key personnel.
Tottenham’s star performers this season, Emmanuel Adebayor and Luka Modric will be absent for the crunch clash on Sunday, after the duo were ruled out due to injury and illness.
Dutch playmaker Rafael van der Vaart and Brazilian holding midfielder Sandro are also huge doubts. Redknapp voiced his concerns ahead of the clash to the local media. He said, “Benoit had a small operation at the start of the week so he wasn’t available (yesterday),”
“He should be fit but we will have to see with Adebayor. He did his knee on Friday morning. He twisted it. We thought he might have opened his ligament up but it’s not too bad.
“Luka had an unbelievable temperature. He was really ill this week. That left us short. Ledley King was on the bench and he wasn’t fit.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s efforts of hanging on to midfield star Luka Modric may all end in vain this summer, as the Croatian is reportedly glad at snubbing the chance to go to Chelsea, and in turn wants a move to Manchester United.
Chelsea have been long term admirers of the midfield maestro, and the Blues lodged as many as three bids last summer, in a spectacular attempt to lure the club into selling him. On the other hand, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp reminded the importance of Modric in the side, and put pressure on club chairman Daniel Levy to reject all offers.
The chairman kept his word and rejected an audacious bid for Modric last summer; however, the 26-year old has expressed his desire to win trophies in the past, and could cost Spurs, who are attempting to build a top four side, dearly.
According to sources close to Modric, the player looks at the denied Chelsea move as a blessing in disguise, but reaffirmed his desire to win silverware.
Chelsea fans breathed a sigh of relief when Daniel Sturridge scored an equalizer in the second half of the FA Cup tie against Birmingham City this weekend and saved the cup journey for a replay, and the scorer has now assured that the squad remains united and committed to be successful.
Sturridge said, “I don’t think it is a defining week for the club but hopefully we don’t get in the same situation as against Birmingham where we have to come from behind,”
“We are all together as one and we are not a divided unit. We are a family and we’ve got a good unit going here and I think maybe we will see that in the next few games.”
Talking about their UEFA Champions League clash this week against Napoli, he continued, “They have some great individuals as well as a good team but we have the same and we are not going to worry about what they have got,” added the England international.
“We have to go out there with the attitude that they have got to worry about what we have got.
“I am certainly not worried about that and we are going out there with the state of mind that we can win the game and play some good football, maybe get some more opportunities and put them away.”
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has sung a heap of praise for his side’s £35 million acquisition Andy Carroll, after the striker scored against Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup and played out a man of the match performance.
Gerrard, who also featured in the tie, spoke about the importance of the win, and said, “It’s always nice to first of all get the win and then to win convincingly, In the end we went through the gears and got better and better as the 90 minutes went on and we deserved our goals.”
“The important thing was to focus on this game. The Carling Cup final was in our minds, because we have a massive game at Wembley next week, but we want to go to Wembley again in the FA Cup so today was just as important.”
“(Carroll) has been getting better and better in training and he was our man of the match today,”
“We believe that the more we play together, the more we’ll click. We’re all good players and good players like playing with other good players. We’re all on the same wavelength now.”
“Every goal feels good, but it couldn’t get any better today with the result as well and now we’re through to the next round.
“We haven’t played many games all together, but we’ve been playing well in training and we put it into the game today.”
Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are known admirers of French side Lille’s Eden Hazard, and are thought to be preparing a summer bid to sign the playmaker but it won’t be easy as Arsenal will have to fight the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona to land the 21-year old.
This tug-of-war is set to be more exciting as Arsene Wenger’s rival Harry Redknapp, manager of Tottenham, has also admitted liking the youngster.
Tottenham are currently comfortable at third place in the league table, and are 10 points from their nearest rivals, which happen to be Arsenal, and look certain to provide Hazard with Champions League football next season, if he decides to make White Hart Lane his next destination.
Redknapp too admitted the possibility of landing the Belgian next season, and spoke highly of Hazard. He said, “Hazard is a player that we have spoken about,”
“He is a player who is definitely on our list.
“We spoke about him a few weeks ago. We started talking about possibly getting him in then.”
Arsenal are struggling to hold onto the fourth and last European spot, as they tussle against Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle, and the Gunners are also set to end another season without any silverware, and it would not surprise many if Hazard chooses Tottenham over Arsenal, looking at the current scenario at the Emirates Stadium.
Former Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit has initiated an attack on the club’s current young squad, and believes that manager Arsene Wenger needs to show the door to the ones not crossing levels in terms of performance.
Petit, who was known for his partnership with French compatriot Patrick Viera in the heart of the Arsenal midfield, said, “We shouldn’t hesitate to talk about the end of the cycle. Regardless of age, we have to look seriously at certain players. Right now,
“Certain young players haven’t done enough to justify the confidence that Arsene has in them. Walcott – somehow he’s going to have to reach the next stage. It’s been years that he’s been at the same level.
“Ramsey, against Milan, I got the impression it was his (twin) brother on the pitch. In the way they behave, in their body language, we see they’re not there anymore.
“You have to send out a strong signal. You have to say to Arshavin, and to Rosicky: ‘Gentlemen, thank you, but goodbye’. And soon.
“What’s needed is five or six players of real stature, great experience. Players who are 27 – 30 years old at most.
“Players with technical qualities, obviously, but also strong character. A group of guys who refuse to accept defeat, who inspire confidence in the rest of the team.”