Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane insists Harry Redknapp's side have nothing to fear ahead of Saturday's North London derby against Arsenal, and that Spurs' squad is stronger than the Gunners' this season.
Spurs have made an impressive start to the campaign under former Portsmouth boss Redknapp, sitting fourth in the Premier League table - level with the Gunners - despite losing at home to Stoke City last time out.
Injury-time goals from both Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon rescued the unlikeliest of points for Tottenham in an pulsating 4-4 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last season.
And with the likes of Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko, David Bentley, Giovani dos Santos, Kyle Naughton, Alan Hutton, Luka Modric, Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate all currently struggling to get in the starting XI, Keane believes it is Spurs who have more strength in depth than their arch rivals.
“You look at the two squads and we’re definitely on a par,” he told the Evening Standard.
“In the last four or five years, Arsenal always managed to get ahead of us, but if you look now, it is even.
“It will be judged at the end of the season, but if you look at the bench we have, it is probably a little bit stronger than their bench.
And the Republic of Ireland goal-getter says the mindset of the club has changed since Redknapp took charge a year ago, with the club genuinely believing that they can achieve more than a Europa League place come the end of the campaign.
“The mentality around the club in previous seasons was that we would be happy to finish fifth, or qualify for the UEFA Cup, but there is a different feeling now. The players have the feeling that we want to get into the Champions League,” he said.
“You can take away Saturday’s game, because anything can happen in a North London derby, but we need to be judging ourselves against teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea over the season.
“It’s still early days, but we’re in the top four now, so it’s important we stay where we are. If we can get to Christmas still around there, we’d certainly have every chance.”comments