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Inside Lane: Can Spurs beat Arsenal on the way to FA Cup glory again?

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) slides in on Arsenal's Theo Walcott in September's north London derby Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) slides in on Arsenal's Theo Walcott in September's north London derby

By George Lacey
Saturday, January 4, 2014
9:30 AM

Tottenham blogger George Lacey looks forward to this evening’s mouthwatering FA Cup third round tie between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates.

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When the draw for the FA Cup third round was made on December 8, I for one began licking my lips at the thought of another pulsating north London derby.

The prospect of this tie at the Emirates looked a little less appealing as Spurs then appeared to spiral out of control, with Andre Villas-Boas departing after Liverpool thrashed us 5-0 at the Lane.

However, we have looked a more exciting proposition under Tim Sherwood, taking 10 points from a possible 12 in the Premier League – including that victory at Old Trafford - and there is more optimism among Spurs fans going into the derby than there was under Villas-Boas.

Both Spurs and Arsenal have a rich history in the FA Cup, with Arsenal winning the trophy on 10 occasions in comparison to Spurs’ eight – and there have been some historic matches between us along the way.

In April 1991, Paul Gascoigne scored one of the greatest FA Cup goals ever with a 30-yard free kick that screamed into the top right hand corner of David Seaman’s goal.

Sadly I was born six months too late to witness that 3-1 semi-final victory, but a signed picture of Gazza celebrating the goal sits proudly on my bedroom wall. Unfortunately, that was the last time Spurs won the FA Cup and, in my lifetime, I have only seen us lift the League Cup – twice.

Out of Spurs’ eight FA Cup wins, five of them have occurred when the year ends in the number one. However, there was little to smile about in 2001 when Arsenal gained revenge for that semi-final defeat 10 years earlier, beating us 2-1 in another semi-final at Old Trafford after Spurs had taken the lead through a certain Gary Doherty.

Some say the domestic cups have lost their glamour in recent years, but the FA Cup that is so synonymous with the English game still holds a place in my heart. Personally, I’d love nothing more than seeing Tottenham lift the world’s oldest domestic cup competition with the ‘Ossie’s Dream’ anthem ringing around Wembley among a sea of fans in blue and white.

This is a match that doesn’t need any extra intensity, but the fact that Arsenal have downsized our allocation from 9,000 to 5,186 – giving us less than the 15 per cent we should have had and denying lots of Tottenham fans the chance to attend and cheer on the away team – has only helped to stoke the fire.

There’s no doubt we face a tough test today, but Spurs fans can still dream of beating our arch-rivals on our way to FA Cup glory once again.

Follow me @GeorgeLacey_

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