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North London derby days are always that little bit extra special for Teemu Tainio, being a lifelong Spurs fan.

North London derby days are always that little bit extra special for Teemu Tainio, being a lifelong Spurs fan.And the Fin has the happy memory of beating Arsenal in a Champions League match with previous club Auxerre back in 2002.

He is yet to repeat the feat with his beloved Spurs, but Teemu is hoping victory at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday will provide some early Christmas cheer for all his fellow fans.

The 28-year-old said: “North London derbies are always exciting games. We’re yet to beat them during my time here, but I’ve already beaten them once before with Auxerre, so I know what it’s like!

“They’re always tough games and for the fans they’re massive because we haven’t beaten Arsenal in a while. It could be a very good Christmas present for the fans if we could beat them.

“The games are extra special for me because I was a Spurs fan growing up, and beating Arsenal with Auxerre is still a special memory for me. To do it again on Saturday would be very special, and a good Christmas present for us as well.”

Teemu is still buzzing from the heroic 2-0 Carling Cup quarter-final win over Manchester City on Tuesday and hopes we can carry this form into Saturday’s clash.

The Lapland-born midfielder was asked to fill in an unfamiliar right-back role after Didier Zokora’s early sending-off, but Teemu was just pleased to be involved.

He added: “It was only the second time I’ve ever played at right-back, but every game is the same. It went okay, but I was just happy to be playing. Maybe that gave me a bit of extra motivation.

“If you don’t win your cup games, you’re out, and we really wanted to go through against City, and now we’ve got Arsenal in the semis. Hopefully that result will give us a lot of confidence going into Saturday.”