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Men's Football Alderweireld: Arsenal clash is not about the Premier League

Tottenham 2-0 Newport County

TOTTENHAM beat Newport County 2-0 to secure a place in the next round of the FA cup, but attention immediately turns to tomorrow’s north London derby with Arsenal. 

Toby Alderweireld returned from injury to keep a clean sheet against Michael Flynn’s league two side in a comfortable win to progress to the fifth round to face Rochdale in the latter stages of a cup Spurs have their eye on. 

But this was the warm-up for the showdown with Arsene Wenger’s Gunners.

Tottenham sit four points above Arsenal in the table as the competition for top four heats up. Alderweireld has timed his comeback to perfection ready to get revenge on their rivals after losing to Arsenal at Ashburton Grove this season.

“This game is not about the Premier League, it’s about the north London derby, so we will be ready for it,” he said.

Victor Wanyama scored a memorable goal against Liverpool in last weekend’s 2-2 draw and the midfielder is relishing playing Arsenal. 
“We’ve had a good run, there is no pressure, we know we have an important game. We know the pitch [Wembley] very well now and we need to keep going and push.”

Alderweireld played alongside 20-year-old Juan Foyth in the heart of the defence and was impressed with the young central defenders display. 

Foyth has similarities to Alderweireld, he showed composure beyond his years and looked comfortable on the ball even when he was outnumbered by attackers. 

His attention to detail and possession would have caught the eye of Mauricio Pochettino who was desperate to sign him after his consistent performances for the Dutch youth team in the summer. 

Alderweireld said: “I’m a very happy person today. It’s been tough. You work hard to get back fit so, when you are actually fit again and play 90 minutes, it’s very good. 

“He [Foyth] has qualities. I had the fortune at my first games at Ajax [at his age] to play the ball and he’s confident with the ball, I think we both have that.”

Another player returning from a lengthy injury was Erik Lamela, who continued his return with an FA cup goal, his first since his comeback, to secure the win after a long 16-month absence with a tireless performance.

Tottenham’s spell of not winning at Wembley is well and truly over as the stadium starts to become more atmospheric and recognisable to the players, who face a big challenge on their hands tomorrow with Arsenal strengthening their squad in the transfer window.

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