Tottenham vs Arsenal: Richarlison back with rested Spurs for North London derby

Tottenham Hotspur’s two-week break has given forward Richarlison the chance to recover from injury, and the Brazilian is available for this weekend’s derby with Premier League leader Arsenal, manager Ange Postecoglou said on Friday.

Richarlison missed the last two games with a knee injury, and his return, along with Pedro Porro who went off injured in the 4-0 loss to Newcastle United, is good news after Destiny Udogie was ruled out for the rest of the season.

“Disappointing one for Destiny and ourselves. He’s had a good year. Just an unfortunate incident in training. He’s had the operation, which has gone well and he’ll be back in pre-season,” Postecoglou told a press conference. “Pedro and Richy have both trained all week so they’re available.”

Spurs has not played since that defeat at Newcastle, while Arsenal has had Champions League action along with a couple of league games in the intervening two weeks, and Postecoglou’s players are ready for action.

“It’s unusual to have no games at all, particularly when there is a fair bit of football happening,” Postecoglou said.

“We tried to use that time as well as possible. We have trained hard. The players, to be fair to them, have embraced that. But we are definitely looking forward to having a game, that is for sure,” he said.

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Postecoglou’s side faces two away trips to Chelsea and Liverpool after it hosts Arsenal on Sunday, and the manager sees these games as a good test as it is still battling for a Champions League place.

“Every time you are out there, is a chance to measure yourself. I have a fair idea of where we are at, what progress we have made and what progress we need to make,” he said.

“At this time of year you want to be playing for something and certainly the games we will be involved in will all have something in them, so we are looking forward to it,” he added.

The North London derby is a game in which Spurs fans will hope to see their side dent Arsenal’s title hopes, and the manager is well aware how much it means.

“It’s fair enough. I am not going to dictate how our fans feel and what they feel is important,” Postecoglou said.

“We understand the importance of the game and understand the importance of being at home in these kind of games to not let our biggest rival win in the biggest derby for us,” he said

Spurs is fifth in the standings on 60 points, six behind Aston Villa but with two games in hand. Arsenal has 77 points, one ahead of Manchester City, who has a game in hand.

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