Arsenal want to defeat Spurs for a Merry Christmas

Due to their excellent game, Arsenal FC can celebrate Christmas at the top of the standings with a victory over north London rival Tottenham on Saturday (7:45 a.m. ET).

Indeed, the Gunners only have a one-point lead over Manchester United, which hosts Everton on Sunday (6 a.m. ET). But it beat Spurs 3-1 at White Hart Lane in the league in September and hasn't lost to them in eight years.

Last season, the two teams played four times - Arsenal won one of their Premier League games with the other a draw, and the Gunners eliminated Spurs after a two-legged semifinal in the League Cup.

Actually, that semifinal game will be repeated this season after both clubs won their quarter-finals this week while ending their games with 10 men.

Tottenham manager Juande Ramos said the 2-0 win over Manchester City on Tuesday was the best display he'd seen since taking charge on Oct. 29, particularly after it lost Didier Zakora, with a red card after 21 minutes.

"I think it's a positive result and sets us up for the rest of the season," Ramos said. "We had to work extra hard after being down to 10 men to make up for having that inferior number."

We must consider that Tottenham last beat Arsenal in November 1999 when it won 2-1 in the league.

Both teams also won tough Premier League matches last weekend - Spurs ended Portsmouth's unbeaten home record and 11-match undefeated streak with a 1-0 win and Arsenal downed Chelsea by the same margin.

Saturday's encounters mark a busy period for the Premier League, with clubs playing three games within eight days by the end of 2007.

On saturday, we will see these games: Aston Villa versus Manchester City; Fulham versus Wigan; Middlesbrough versus West Ham; Liverpool versus Portsmouth; Bolton versus Birmingham; and Reading versus Sunderland.

And on Sunday, we will enjoy Chelsea game at Blackburn and Newcastle clash with Derby.

It's good to say that Arsenal leads the standings with 40 points, followed by Manchester United with 39, Chelsea with 34, Manchester City with 33 and Liverpool, Everton and Portsmouth with 30.