Belfast Telegraph

Defoe upbeat over derby prospects

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is confident his team can complete their first north London derby double in almost 20 years this weekend.

Spurs head to Arsenal on Sunday knowing a win would stretch their lead over the fourth-placed Gunners to 13 points with 12 matches of the Barclays Premier League season left. Harry Redknapp's side overcame their bitter rivals 2-1 at White Hart Lane in October, but they have not done the double over the Gunners in the league since the 1992-93 campaign.

Having lost just once in their last 15 games, the Tottenham squad are upbeat about their chances of claiming a telling victory, and Defoe told radio station LBC 97.3: "It's going to be a difficult game but I'm confident, obviously, with the way we're playing."

He added: "We've got a really strong squad now and everyone's playing well.

"Everyone's firing and team spirit is fantastic which I think is always important if you want to try to achieve something. We've got a great chance to go there and get three points."

Arsenal have been seen as the strongest team in north London for the best part of the last two decades but this year has seen the balance of power tip to White Hart Lane.

Tottenham's enterprising attacking play, and the excellent form of the likes of Scott Parker, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric have made them arguably the best team to watch in the top flight.

Arsenal, on the other hand, have experienced probably their worst season under Arsene Wenger's stewardship.

The Gunners' erratic form has left them vying with Chelsea for fourth place and they are almost certainly out of the Champions League following their humiliating 4-0 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 tie at AC Milan last week. For that reason, Defoe thinks three points will matter more to Arsenal than Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

"It means more to Arsenal than us obviously because of the way things have gone for them this season," he said. "I think it's been a lot of ups and downs, where at the beginning they didn't start too well, then they picked it up and then they've had a little blip again."

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