AVB: Spurs can exploit Arsenal’s nervy defence

09:55 17 November 2012

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wire

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Andre Villas-Boas hopes Arsenal’s shaky defence will suffer from another bout of nerves in tomorrow’s north London derby.

Neither Tottenham nor Arsenal look as if they will challenge for the Premier League this season.

Tottenham have lost three successive games and sit seventh in the table, while their north London rivals have suffered their worst start to a campaign since 1982-83, when they amassed 14 points after 11 games.

The Gunners’ season has been blighted by defensive shortcomings. They won but still shipped five against Reading in the Capital One Cup, lost to Norwich recently and conceded three against Fulham last week - something that infuriated manager Arsene Wenger.

After the draw against the Cottagers Wenger said his defence looked “fragile”, and Tottenham manager Villas-Boas hopes the Gunners will have another off day at the back in tomorrow’s clash.

“You try (to exploit) those things,” Villas-Boas said.

“When we went to Man City we did that, but as soon as they equalised the environment turned.

“You can benefit from the buzz that’s around people. There’s always one more game for you to make the same mistakes.”

Spurs, of course, have not been immune from defensive lapses of their own this term.

Villas-Boas’ men have thrown points away in the last 15 minutes in four of their 11 matches - a problem which has caused the team to drop out of the reckoning for the Champions League places for now.

Yet there have been no collapses quite as spectacular as the one in last year’s thriller at the Emirates Stadium. Tottenham raced into the lead thanks to goals from Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor, but they wilted under pressure and went on to suffer a humiliating 5-2 defeat.

Villas-Boas does not want a repeat performance in tomorrow’s encounter.

“It’s a game where you can’t sleep. You have to be aware all the time,” he said.

“Hopefully we take the lesson.

“Obviously at 2-0 you thought that the game was going Tottenham’s way.

“If you get your focus right, you feel confident to hold onto a lead like that.

“We are a good attacking side but we concede a lot so we have to get better and to improve our goal difference.”

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