This week’s JD Away Days is a special look at this weekend’s exciting derby double-header that see’s the two sides of North London face off just hours before the two big boys of Merseyside battle it out for pride of the city. Both games have more than just local pride at stake as all four of the sides involved look to have a big impact on the final third of the season, having underwhelmed so far. It’s going to be intense.
Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Arsenal – 12:45pm
By Car: A traitorous journey from the depths of North London to the other depths of North London will take you approximately 20 minutes by car, traffic permitting. The travelling Arsenal fans will need to get on to St Thomas’ road up to Seven Sisters road a whole three minutes away before joining High Road for the final approach to White Hart Lane. There are of course numerous back road routes that those who have faired this traitorous journey can advise upon but this is the safest and easiest.
By Rail: Making this journey by rail really is more confusing then the distance would suggest. Traveling fans will need to board the Great Eastern train from Drayton Park for one whole stop to Finsbury Park before changing for the London Underground’s Victoria Line for another stop to Seven Sisters before a two minute walk to the Seven Sisters Bus Station before boarding the 279 bus for the final 11 minutes of the journey to Tottenham’s home.
By Foot: Arguably the easiest means of transport for the traveling fans, this walk can take anything from 35 minutes to two hours. What is essentially one straight route on the A10 can be trivialized and elongated through a myriad of alternative off-roads and back streets. That’s really up to you however because the route is pretty laid out.
Last Time Out: These two bitter rivals faced each other at Arsenal’s home ground The Emirates Stadium back in September of 2014. Neither side claimed bragging rights on the day as the tie ended 1-1 after Arsenal’s Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain leveled things on 74 minutes after Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli had put Spurs ahead just shy of the hour mark. Not one of the more memorable North London derby and certainly not the blueprint we would hope or expect from Saturday’s tie.
This Time Around: Both sides go into tomorrow’s derby in hot form with Tottenham boasting a record of only two losses in their last 14, whilst Arsenal have won 12 of their last 15. With the exception of the expected absence of Alexis Sanchez, both sides seem to have their stars fit and ready for this huge tie. Tottenham’s Harry Kane is currently boasting a 20-goal season whilst Christian Eriksen has been one of the most potent and deadly players in the Premier League over the past few weeks and Arsenal, who have welcomed the recent return of long term absentees Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil will be hoping that the latter can build on his phenomenal two goals and two assists in his last two games, while most Arsenal eyes will be on the little Spaniard Santi Cazorla who has marshaled the Gunners midfield for most of the season.
Everton Vs. Liverpool – 5:30pm
By Car: Separated by a whopping 0.9miles, the travelling Liverpool fans have a staggering four-minute car journey from their home of Anfield to Everton’s Goodison Park. There’s only really one route as Stanley Park blocks any potential side route, unless you wanted an elongated drive. Once on Lake Street, a 56ft journey requires a sharp right onto Walton Breck Road followed by a slight left onto Spellow Lane before bringing the grueling journey to a head at the gates of Everton’s Goodison Park.
By Rail: As you may have guessed, there is no train route for this journey. Unless you’re happy leaving the city and performing the biggest U-turn of your life.
By Foot: The most picturesque and enjoyable route for this journey as well as the most logical is to walk. A lovely stroll through Stanley Park will take you approximately 15 minutes door to door but will certainly get your passions running high as you witness the blue side of Merseyside overtake the more comfortable red side the travelling fans will be used to.
Last Time Out: The last time the two Merseyside clubs met, the spoils were shared. Liverpool took the lead courtesy of a goal from the Kop’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ Steven Gerrard before having his goal cancelled out by a thunderous Phil Jagielka strike in the dying embers of the game which sank Liverpool hearts and sent the travelling Toffee’s into jubilant uproar. It was a close tie with a justified result at the end of play.
This Time Around: Saturday’s Merseyside derby is arguably more vital to both teams this time around than it has been in recent years. Liverpool are still unsettled and haven’t yet looked the type of established and confident side they were this time last season whilst Everton are enduring a somewhat torrid campaign under Roberto Martinez. Everton should come into the tie confident however after breaking their appalling eight match winless streak with victory over Crystal Palace last week whilst Liverpool are unbeaten in seven league games, winning five of their last six, teeing up a fantastic duel for form between the two. Everton could hand a debut to new signing Aaron Lennon whilst Liverpool are expected to be able to start Daniel Sturridge for the first time since August, having only had him available off the bench in that time. This looks set to be Seven Gerrard’s last Merseyside derby so it’s sure to be an emotional and fiery affair for all as Liverpool’s hero hopes to do all he can for his boyhood team before he jets off to L.A in May. This tie will be intense and crucial to both sides league finish’s, so expect the unexpected, or in the case of this derby, expect what you normally get.
Words By Ben Fawcett