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Mar 1, 2013

Spurs and Arsenal issuing warning to fans

Tottenham and Arsenal are to warn their fans ahead of Sunday's North London derby that they will adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards abusive chanting.

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The corresponding fixture last season was marred by Arsenal fans targeting former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor with chants regarding the shooting of the Togo team-bus in 2010. Spurs supporters added to the hostility by abusing Bacary Sagna as he lay waiting for a stretcher after breaking a leg.

That match was followed by the two clubs taking the step of issuing a joint investigation to identify those responsible for the chants.

And in the build-up to the latest clash between the two sides, Spurs will use their in-house media, including the match-day programme, to issue reminders of the zero-tolerance approach. Anyone found guilty of offensive chanting could potentially face lifetime bans from football.

Following discussions with UEFA, Tottenham will also be taking the steps to appoint special security for the second leg of the side's Europa League fixture against Inter Milan at White Hart Lane this month.

This follows on from incidents in both Rome and Lyon this season that have seen Spurs fans subjected to suspected anti-Semitic attacks ahead of Europa League matches. The club will be holding further discussions with the Foreign Office and UEFA before the Milan fixture.

The immediate priority, however, is Sunday's derby, which could see Tottenham open up a seven-point gap ahead of Arsenal, as the two rivals fight it out for the Champions League qualification spots.

The Gunners have ran out 5-2 victors in the last two meetings between the sides and Abou Diaby, who is currently carrying a calf injury, believes this gives his team the psychological advantage going into Sunday's game.

"Of course because from the last game against them we took some lessons and we know them well," he told Arsenal's official website. "We know how to deal with them. It is more than a game. The atmosphere around the game means we all want to win, so that makes it very exciting. That is why I think there are so many goals."

Diaby added: "If you have a strong midfield, it is 90% you will win the game because it is the heart of the team.

"Tottenham have a new manager, with a new type of play and new philosophy and that has helped them a lot. They also have some very good players. All those elements make them really good at the moment.

"But it would be really important for us [to win at White Hart Lane] because we could get closer to them. It's vital for us."

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