Just five days after suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of their fiercest rivals, Arsenal reserves have the chance for instant revenge when they take on their Spurs counterparts again tonight.
That defeat at Underhill continued what has been a miserable start to 2009 for Neil Banfield’s side, who are yet to win this year and haven’t scored since the 2-2 draw with Stoke on January 21st.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are in top form and victory tonight would see them close the gap on leaders Aston Villa at the top of the Reserve League South to just five points.
Arsenal are determined to stop that happening and Banfield makes three changes from the side which succumbed to Spurs last week. Wojciech Szczesny, who was an un-used substitute for the first-team in the 4-1 victory over Wigan on Saturday, replaces James Shea in goal, whilst French duo Francis Coquelin and Gilles Sunu are restored in place of Fran Mérida and Amaury Bischoff, who trained with the first-team today ahead of tomorrow’s game with Villarreal. Jack Wilshere (ankle) is still in light training, whilst Luke Freeman and Benik Afobe make the bench after their terrific run of form for the under-18s recently. Defender Rhema Obed also earns his first Reserve call-up as a substitute.
subs: Freeman, Evina, Obed, Afobe, Shea.
Without the creative Mérida, the Gunners may adopt a more defensive approach, although when they do create chances, Sanchez Watt is far more likely to work harder to win the ball than Amaury Bischoff did last week.
Tottenham name an incredibly strong side for this fixture. As well as Ben Alnwick, Alan Hutton, Gilberto and Ricardo Rocha, who all featured last week, former Gunners David Bentley and Jamie O’Hara are both in the squad, along with Manchester United loanee Frazier Campbell and Welsh international left-back Gareth Bale. Pascal Chimbonda and John Bostock are also in the squad.
The Gunners will be hoping for their first win of the calendar year as they look to end a dissapointing campaign on a high.