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Sol Campbell adds extra edge to Spurs v Arsenal encounter

PUBLISHED: 14:09 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:54 07 September 2010

IT MAY be six days away, but it is hard to ignore Tottenham s next league fixture – surely the most important north London derby for four years. Not since 2006, when Spurs and the Gunners were going head to head for the fourth and final Champions League s

IT MAY be six days away, but it is hard to ignore Tottenham's next league fixture - surely the most important north London derby for four years.

Not since 2006, when Spurs and the Gunners were going head to head for the fourth and final Champions League spot, have BOTH of the arch-rivals gone head to head with so much at stake.

Arsenal will have to sit and watch their title rivals' fortunes this weekend, and are likely to find themselves six points off the lead with five games remaining when they travel across north London to N17.

Meanwhile, Spurs' defeat at Sunderland has given Manchester City pole position in the race for the top four.

And, should Roberto Mancini's side beat Birmingham at home on Sunday, Tottenham will have a four-point gap to close, with Chelsea and Manchester United both looming on the horizon.

Victory for either side would be invaluable, and defeat is unthinkable.

Despite his own injury issues, Harry Redknapp will be buoyed by the fact that Arsenal will miss William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie.

The Gunners have coped without Van Persie since November, but Fabregas' broken leg is a hammer blow, especially coupled with the loss of Arshavin.

Yet it is arguably Gallas' absence which will have the greatest impact on proceedings next Wednesday - he is likely to be replaced by Sol Campbell.

It is scarcely believable that, having started his season in League Two with Notts County, the 35-year-old will take centre stage - back at White Hart Lane, in Arsenal colours, and probably as captain of the Gunners. It should be quite a night.

Ham&HighSport verdict:

Seven of the last nine league derbies at the Lane have ended in a draw, and another stalemate would probably be more beneficial for Spurs than for Arsenal.

That could well be the key and, if Tottenham refuse to over-commit, then the Gunners will have to force the issue - and that will give their hosts the chances to break and grab a famous victory.

Prediction: 1-1


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