Spurs’ Dutch master looking to eclipse Arsenal

PUBLISHED: 20:10 16 September 2010 | UPDATED: 09:14 17 September 2010

RAFAEL van der Vaart insists Spurs can dump arch-rivals Arsenal out of the Carling Cup – and then finish above the Gunners in the league.

The Gunners have dominated meetings between the two sides in recent seasons, but it was Spurs who emerged victorious in the last clash at the tail-end of last season, when Gareth Bale and Danny Rose sealed a 2-1 win which boosted their Champions League hopes and all but ended Arsenal’s title challenge.

After Tuesday’s Carling Cup clash at the Lane, the two north London sides meet again in the Premier League at the Emirates on November 20, with Van der Vaart confident Spurs have a squad more than capable of overhauling the Gunners.

“Can we finish above them? Why not,” said Van der Vaart.

“Arsenal have a great team also, a lot of great young players but I think our squad is not worse than Arsenal’s so I think we have a good chance to win against them.

“And not only win the game against them but also, over the whole season, we can aspire to beat them.”

The Dutch World Cup star added: “I’m looking forward to playing in the derby. I already spoke with Robin [Van Persie] and he said it is the greatest derby in the world.”

Van der Vaart is also eager to develop his understanding with Croatia international Luka Modric, who was injured in the draw with West Brom, and admitted he is willing to play anywhere across the midfield as Harry Redknapp tinkers with his side through the season.

Spurs’ midfield is already bristling with quality, with Tom Huddlestone at the peak of his form and further options coming from Modric, Niko Kranjcar, Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Wilson Palacios.

Competition for places promises to be fierce, but Van der Vaart believes that will only encourage improved performances as the games come thick and fast in the run up to Christmas.

“My best position is behind the striker,” he added. “I can play across the whole midfield but my favourite position is behind the striker, behind one or two.

“Competition for places doesn’t concern me. You always have to fight for your position and when you are playing good you have got to be in the starting XI. When not, you’re not.

“We’re going to play a lot of matches. We need everybody so it will be a great season but also a long season.

“He [Modric] is a great player. I always like to play with good footballers. He has a little bit of playing the Dutch way, good technique, he is fast and I think it is going to fit well.”

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