The big football questions are all in north London
Published: October 6, 2011
OFF THE SHELF
with DAN CARRIER
BRAGGING rights belonged to Tottenham’s this week after goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker sealed a 2-1 home victory over rivals Arsenal on Sunday.
But the win has given boss Harry Redknapp a selection headache after van der Vaart – subbed on 63 minutes – said he doesn’t want to appear too regularly on the right wing.
The Dutchman started wide and his failure to track back left full-back Walker frequently on his own to deal with the dangers on his own. Van der Vaart said to reporters after the game that defending was not his strong point and that he hoped not to be picked on the flanks too often in the future.
With Aaron Lennon back in full training, Redknapp will have to ponder how to squeeze all his stars in to the starting line-up. Niko Kranjcar, who started the first three games, was not even among the subs against Arsenal at the weekend.
Next up for Spurs is high-flying Newcastle away, and Redknapp looks likely to play van der Vaart behind Emmanuel Adebayor.
Meanwhile, government sports minister Hugh Robertson has told Spurs to drop their judicial review over the decision to hand West Ham the Olympic Stadium.
Robertson accused Spurs of playing a game of brinksmanship and suggested they had no real intention of leaving White Hart Lane, but were trying to use it to garner public support for their plans.
IN THE GROVE
with STEVE BARNETT
FULL-BACK Bacary Sagna is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of three months after breaking his right leg in Sunday’s north London derby.
The Arsenal defender fell awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Benoit Assou-Ekotto during the 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.
Sagna had a successful operation on Monday, but isn’t expected back in a Gunners shirt until at least January.
“Bacary Sagna has undergone further assessment and investigations on his fractured right fibula with the club’s medical team and specialists,” read a statement released on Arsenal’s official website.
“As a result of these tests, Bacary has had surgery to stabilise the injury. The surgery went according to plan and the initial prognosis is that Bacary will be out of action for a minimum of three months.”
Reflecting on the defeat at Tottenham, Arsene Wenger said: “It is two steps forward and one step back. Our inconsistent form is down to a lack of confidence. We will come back because you could see again that there is a strong spirit in the team.
“I felt on Sunday that defensively we are becoming stronger, but we lost the ball from good positions in the final third.
“We are guilty because we did not do our job properly, we didn’t defend properly on the winning goal.”