TOTTENHAM defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto insists his team will hammer the final nail into Arsenal’s faltering Premier League title bid when the bitter north London rivals collide tomorrow night.
Spurs have all the motivation they need to take maximum points, as a win would lift them level with fourth-placed Manchester City, their chief rivals for Champions League qualification.
But as an added incentive Harry Redknapp’s men could inflict further damage on the Gunners’ bid to catch leaders Manchester United, which suffered a severe blow in Sunday’s draw with Liverpool.
Arsenal could find themselves nine points behind by kick-off at White Hart Lane if United win tonight, and Assou-Ekotto believes Tottenham are primed to repeat their victory over their neighbours at Emirates Stadium earlier this season.
“It will be a massive game and when you see what we did at Arsenal, we know we can do the same at home,” said the full-back, part of the team who came from two goals down to beat the Gunners in November.
“We will have our supporters behind us and we believe we can beat any team at White Hart Lane.”
Spurs finished last season strongly to secure Champions League football for the first time in their history and, having sampled the big time, Assou-Ekotto believes they can do the same in the current run-in.
“We can do it,” he said. “City lost against Liverpool last time and teams will have problems at this time of the season. Anything is possible.”
United visit Newcastle tonight looking to take another huge step towards claiming an English record 19th top-flight title, although Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has not given up yet – provided his side can win tomorrow.
They make the short trip up the Seven Sisters Road still smarting from the setback against Liverpool, which saw Dirk Kuyt deny the Gunners a precious win with an improbable equaliser in the 12th minute of stoppage time.
“It is still possible for us to win the title, but we have to say we dropped two points and it’s terribly disappointing. We are all gutted,” said Szczesny.
“However, we still have to play Manchester United and they also have to play Chelsea. They will drop points. We believe we are good enough to win every game from now until the end of the season, so we believe we can do it.”
Szczesny believes facing Spurs could inspire the reaction Arsenal need. He added: “Tottenham is a very good game for us to come back from a big disappointment, and we owe it to the fans as well because they are obviously very disappointed about what happened. We owe them a result at White Hart Lane.”
Arsenal’s late collapse against Liverpool was their latest failure to win when it mattered most. However, the following teams give them a run for their money in the capitulation stakes.
After a disappointing few seasons, 2007 was set to be the year for Lancashire, led by Mark Chilton. Leading the County Championship First Division going into the final game, they lost against Surrey, in turn handing the title to Sussex.
Newcastle were 12 points clear in the Premier League in 1995/96 season and still top in late March but a 1-0 home loss to Manchester United and a famous 4-3 defeat by Liverpool saw Kevin Keegan’s side crumble and United take the title.
Needing one more victory to beat the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship series, the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez (above) imploded, becoming the first team to lose a best-of-seven series having led 3-0.