Sp*rs vs Arsenal Preview – Van Persie’s Return…

Morning All,

It’s been a week since our last game, but honestly, it feels like at least two. The Barcelona game feels like it happened in March rather than just 7 days ago, that’s how long it feels we’ve been without football. Last night, I watched the Chelsea vs Bolton game which finished 1-0 to Chelsea, and in all honesty, it was one of those games that Chelsea could have drawn – the amount of chances Bolton had – I mean really good chances – were in abundance and by the end of the game, Chelsea were lucky. But at the end of the day, they got the three points and that is our only concern.

I had a block of cheese and with 15 minutes to go, it looked like Bolton were the only team that were going to score and if they did, I promised to eat the whole block of cheese. My stomach is probably happy that they didn’t equalise, but I’m certainly not.

The table looks like this:

Chelsea, played 34, 77 points

Man United, played 34, 73 points

Arsenal, played 33, 71 points

It’s simple – a win against Sp*rs will put us three points behind Chelsea and more importantly, one point ahead of Man United. Finishing second for us will be better than finishing third as we currently lie. I haven’t given up hope of the title, it’s still mathematically very possible and will be until the last two games of the season if we can win our next three.

Team news ahead of tonight’s game sees Van Persie return to the squad after a very long absence through injury and it will be good to see him back in action. At first, most probably like most of you, I thought it was a little premature – having not had any practice matches / reserve games. But Arsene has assured us that Robin is ready, albeit for a substitute role.

Arsene was quite excited at Robin’s return and he said:

“You would have talked about him along with the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney, of that I am sure. Of course he is in that company. The biggest frustration is that he had started to compete as one of the best players in the world and suddenly he was out. The sadness was that we lost him very early in the season. Nobody knows what difference he might have made, but I’d have loved to have had him for the whole season. Overall, I don’t believe we have been unlucky this year. I believe the team has shown unbelievable mental strength and has shown it has made a big step forward and this team deserves a lot of credit. But it is great to have Robin back. You look at him in training and it’s like he’s never been away. He’s a very important player for this club. He’s very important for the confidence of our offensive power. He can give a final ball, score goals and is good on set-pieces. He will not start, so I don’t think he will be captain. But he is a leader because he has a football brain and is a football thinker. All his vibes are in the game. He is a winner and he has matured a lot in the last three or four years as well.”

That’s quite an accolade for Robin, but he is a bundle of talent and we’ve seen the exceptional skill he has in glimpses in the last year – but like Arsene, I have to say that I also thought he was “coming of age” and really turning into a talent before his injury earlier this season. Although he won’t start the game, he will be on the bench and will feature if the time is right – maybe for 15 minutes or so.

In other team news, Arsene also revealed that Alex Song is still out injured and William Gallas is still 3 weeks away.

The likely line up could well be:

Almunia

Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy

Denilson – Diaby

Walcott – Nasri – Rosicky

Bendtner

We’ll have Van Persie on the bench of course, most likely alongside the likes of Fabianski, Eboue, Silvestre, Traore, Merida and Eduardo…

Sp*rs will be without Palacios and although Ledley King is back, both Lennon and Kranjar are injured – the home team has just played 120 minutes of football on Sunday and we’ve had a week off. If there is ever a time to beat Sp*rs and ever a time to beat them with aplomb, the time is now.

Tonight is the time to leap frog United and put some pressure on Chelsea – oh yeah, and put Sp*rs to the sword in the meantime…

  • manoo

    its gonna be tough, but definately achievable- we need chelsea to drop 4 points in their last 4 games. I was hoping they would drop 2 today obviously but they still have to play sp*rs, stoke and pool. We shall see. Lets win our 4 remaining games. COME ON ARSENAL!!!!!!!!!

  • Francis

    @ Dev

    I’d replace walcott with eboue in the line up…key thing is not to concede an early goal…keeping it tight at the back and building up from there…for that reason eboue will most likely get the nod

    unless ofcourse arsene wants to make gareth bale think twice about bombing forward as he has been integral to sp*rs attacking play…the other deal is also reduce the number of crosses from bentley to crouch…that will mean diaby and co closing bentley down at every opportunity.

    i see walcott as an impact player coming in and stretching the opposing defense in the second half

  • ny

    As I said before Bale and Bently will be the biggest threats.If Eboue plays he should do some defensive work also. When ever he is deployed as right winger he goes to the Box and waits there as if he is a deadly finisher.His main attribute is to collect ball from deep and surge forward and he should be concentrating on that.

    Rosicky is not in form.Eduardo will be a better option(VanPersi can later replace hime). Also I would like to see Nasri and Diaby swap their positions in the above lineup.

  • alex

    dont forget denilson last year was by stats the best intercepter in the primier league. he will be perfect for keeping modric quite, as he is not about strength.
    you would have to go with almunia, sagna, campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy.. Denilson, Diaby, Nasri.. Eboue, Eduardo, Bendtner

  • Yemi

    I go with whoever will deliver the goodies today.

    Almunia

    Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy

    Denilson – Diaby

    ebuoue – Nasri – edu/Vela/rosisky/(in order of preference)

    Bendtner

    With theo as a sub.

  • ny

    Tottenham

    ————-Gomes
    V. Corluka-M.Dawson-S.Bassong-B.AssouEkotto
    Bentley-T.Huddlestone-L.Modric-G.Bale
    ——–P.Crouch-J.Defoe—-

    If Redknapp goes a bit defensive they may go for 4-5-1 with Kaboul replacing Defoe and Modric in a more advanced role.

    Arsenal

    ————M.Almunia
    B.Sagna-Campbell-T.Vermaelen-G.Clichy
    ——Denílson——S.Nasri
    T.Walcott—–A.Diaby——Eboue
    ————N.Bendtner

    Diaby has good chance to get an advanced role.Also Eboue/walcott may be replaced by Rosicky/Eduardo.

    If you compare player by player both teams are equally built but which ever team puts in a good team performance will win.

  • devday

    @ ny:
    I’d have to agree with your chosen Sp*rs team – I think that’s the best they’ve got considering the injuries they have. We should definitely be able to beat them, I hope we’re fuelled up for it – that’s my only concern. The team who wants it more will win it…!

  • kodjo

    As said previously walcott will not start bcos wenger might want to keep things tight for the first 15 mins…at this point we are too far behind chelski & man utd in the goals aggregate to worry about the number of goals that we can score.

    i’m sure if you ask wenger a simple win will do for him …no frills !!!

  • vj

    i dot think eboue will start assou ekotto who probs will be left back has struggled against pace, he stads back a bit and doesnt really commit, start walcott and edddie/vela, if van persie is fit enough to start then start B52 up front with him standard defense. i hope crouch doesnt start though, i have a felling hes gonna score. Expect capello to be there tonight with coruch defoe walcott all likely to play some part in the game

  • Francis

    the thing with crouch is that he hangs out the the back post so clichy and sagna will have to be on the look out… as he almost always pushed defenders down with his arm to get leverage inspite of his height….

    key thing is to stop crosses coming his way as well as put him off balance..that’s easier said than done!!!

  • Francis

    any confirmation of the starting eleven?

  • Kuka

    @Francis:-Wenger hinted that he will name the starting line up after the last warm up. So I guess he wants to decide whether Van Persie starts or starts on the bench

  • vj

    eboue from walcott only change

  • Sam

    Can’t watch game 4 a change, but we’re down by 1.
    C’mon Arsenal.

  • Josiah

    now 2 shambolic defending

  • Kuka

    Its now official. We totally lack a plan B. Even at 2-nil, we cannot change our game plan?

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I wish we would have a fucking shot and stop tippy toeing around the area.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Rosicky has been poor so far.

  • Kuka

    quite a shame that van parsie comes in when we are 2-goals down….What a way to return from injury

  • max

    THICK MANAGER, CRAP PLAYERS, Sack this fool please

  • Josiah

    i wish van persie would have scored when he took it on his chest and volleyed it

  • max

    This is really the worst Arsenal team I ever have the absolute honor to witness. I absolutely hate Bendtner. I can’t describe how angry I am for us to have him as striker. Can’t play his teammate can’t play himself. Everytime he runs it makes me fuming mad. I don’t see how the goals are coming from this absolute shambles of a team. If this match is not the absolute testament that Wenger’s lost it and should be go back to Japan, I don’t know what is. Absolute joke. Did I mention I hate Bendtner? Oh and freaking Aluminia. My god, I can’t believe I’m stuck with so many muppets in this team. UNBELIEVABLE. Seriously, can’t Arsenal give me something to be happy about?

  • Shawn

    we were pathetic in the first half, rosicky, nasri denilson all not good enough . . . van p looked fit enough to at least play 45 mins . . .

  • Sam

    The dream is dead. Let’s be happy be 3rd & look 4ward to next year. I’m just watching highlights, and hope AW will reinforce defence in summer. Fu#k!!!!

  • vj

    im sorry but i never want to see rosicky or eboue or silvestre ever play for arsenal again and im tempted never to watch a game when they do play. ebpue played bale on for the second and im sure tha those three were responsible for 90% of uselus lost possesion. all our extra time wasted with that silvestre ball. they are just not good enough to play the arsenal way. im saying goodbye to the premier league and if i was fabregas i would give an ultimatum to wenger to buy some decent cover centre backs since gallas always gets injured and campbell cant play more than one game a week. i woulf get a decent winger, another cover right back, and a new goalkeeper please, almunia fucks up againand we go one nill down i am sick annd tired of this village goalkeeping arsenal are just pissing me off now

  • fan

    Today we learn which team has a DEPENDABLE GK and which team has a SHAKY GK.

    For the summer, Wenger just make one singing and call it a day. We must improve more than one area.

    1 GK, 1 DEF, 1 MID, 1 ST.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @vj it was sagna playing Bale onside. RVP owned tottenham when he came on…man I am glad he is back.

  • zohaib

    i thought Diaby was the one losing all the possession and waiting pointlessly before passing it to a Tottenham player ! …
    it just wasnt our day today. we started off better yet they got the wonder goal. (i dont agree with the criticism of almunia. it just seems to happen with us far too often though. first bentley now rose !).
    we continued to fight and had all the possession but still wern’t creating anything in the first half. that was frustrating.
    second half we fall asleep and gift them a goal. unlucky to have vermaelen injured otherwise maybe in place of silvestre he would’ve prevented the goal.
    then we just knock it about as usual wasting time. instead of playing quick passes and penetrating through their defence. there was especially one time where spurs were open to a counter attack and we just lazed around, passed it sideways and backwards basically waiting for them to get back into position and organize their defence and only then attack them ! absolutely hopeless. no urgency no desire.
    season over ….
    after the barca defeat wenger said we definitely need to add something so hopefully that means we’re buying some players. we obviously need another centreback because gallas silvestre and campbell are pretty much at the end of their careers and quite possibly 2 if not all 3 of them will leave in the summer. djourou was improving but i think he’ll need another season to get back into the groove before he can be relied upon to be a first choice CB. and equally important is the problem of us not being deadly in the final third, which we need to address urgently.
    dont agree with the criticism of rosicky either. thought he played well. created a chance for bendtner even but bendtner scuffed it. weak links today were bendtner diaby silvestre. campbell was immense. almunia made some good saves. clichy was trying hard as usual. but we missed fabregas arshavin and song. and obviously vanpersie until he did come on.

  • Gooner4Life

    terriblt game but we will be back theres still hope yes its small but we gotta keep believing.

    born alone walk alone dia alone

    whats the arsenal equivalent to this

    born arsenal live arsenal die arsenal
    born a gooner live a gooner die a gooner

    (they both dont sound right does anyone no if theres a proper arsenal one??)

  • Toni

    Officially, the league is over. We were close…just but I don’t see us winning the league.

  • Yemi

    I watched some nigerian analysts on TV yesterday after the match and you could see the pain in them (Both were arsenal supporters)
    Their conclusions:

    If Your employee gives a report showing a loss continuously for 5 years and you check and find out that he has been using the same strategy, What do you do ? Encourage him to stay on the same path or try something else ?

    They also made another point. Arsenal cannot blame injuries for their woes. Why ? Injuries are part of a season, what matters is what is you plan for unforseen injuries ? You need backup players. If you are to play in 4 competitions every season, you need 25 Above average players. RVP gets injured then we no longer have a prolific striker. Gallas gets injured and all we get is Sol(In fairness he has been great in the games he has played) But we all know he can’t play when the fixtures come in thick.So where does that leave us? The verminatoer is injured, who deputises? Silvestre ? Pleaseeeee.

    It is also easier to defen against us now cos the attack from the right is non-existense, Arshavin has been a shadow of himself lately Why not play Vela ?

    To the game yesterday, RVP came on and you saw what a quality (above average player) can do in a team. All through the game, nobody, absolutely nobody had been attacking the 18yrd box albeit the 6yrd. AL the runs of walcott were usless cos when the cross came in, there is noone to attack. Same happened to clichy and that was why he took that shot that hit the side netting. A Midfield of diaby, rosisky, nasri and denilson is too simililar. All playing forward, no one in the holding role.

    Then why the hell cant sombody just take a shot from outside the 18yrd box? denilson had the chance, diaby and the list goes on and on, but noone taking chances apart from 1 or 2 wild chances taken by rosisky

    I hope we don’t get into a liverpool situation where were have a bunch of average players. Come to think of it, If we were to put all our players up for sale, How many of them do you think will get top clubs in the mould of maybe man u, chelsea, barca, madrid, inter ? and will also get starting shirts? I can count just too few (Cesc, RVP, Arshavin and Clichy) That shows the quality of the team.

    Talikng about spending and making money and the club being run well and balanced. Madrid bought CR7 for 80million and guess what ? They made 100million from sale of jersies in madrid ALONE, selling over 1million replica jersies. Top player, top business.

    I can go on and on but it all boils down to another trophyless season.

    On a scary very scary note,i took a Look at the logs, we are just 9 points ahead of City, The have a game in hand and we still play them. That means even the 3rd spot is not home and dry for us yet. If they win the game in hand, beat us and maybe beat manu, We are suddenly level on points. We therefore need to decisively take out wigan which wont be easy cos the are battling the drop…….

    Were is the season ending for us?

    And City have lost the least number of games. It is the number of draws that put them where they are.

    No team has lost 7 games and won the league.

    The game also shows we are just a little bit above average this term. Lost to chelsea, man u, tot away, drew evrton at home, lost to barca……

    I need to get back to work and see what happens in the transfer window.
    And maybe tot’ham can do us a fovor against chelsea. But are we in a position to take advantage ? Nope ….

  • goonerman

    YET AGAIN!!!! People are going a but crazy over one loss which ends the slim slim chance we had of winning the league! Tuesday chelsea played bolton and actually played pretty poor BUT they got away with 2 stonewall penalties and won the game. it wasnt because of grit or spirit it was pure LUCK that they won that game.

    Yesterday we played spurs and in the first ten minutes and youth player smashes ina goal he will never score again and he will probably end up back in the championship in a couple of years, vermaelen goes of injured, 3 weeks injured out by the way his season is over so we are left with silvestre and campbell in defence which is not bad back up its becuase gallas,vermaelen,doujouru and song are all out injured so we had no other choice and finally robin van persie comes on and shows us that if he was fit half the time as rooney this season we WOULD of won the league at spurs tonight and not lost it, OH and he made gomes pull off 3 amazing saves!

    AND yemi why can we not blame injuries for runing our season???? I think we have more than a right to do that becuase it is a freak amount of them we have had this could of been the team that played last night and somehow i dont think it would of been the same scoreline:

    Almunia
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Song – Diaby
    Arshavin – Fabregas – Nasri
    Van persie

    Once vermaelen went off we had 6 first choice players missing from the team and all 6 were pretty much our best players, that is a joke!

    i do agree with yemi that even though the title is a no go that we still have to watch our backs and try and cement 3rd place.

  • zohaib

    goonerman – how many times in the last 5 years have we said ‘injuries caused us the title’ ?! i seem to remember far too often. every year in fact. so if we’re going to say that, every year, why even play ? if we’re not going to win the title because of injuries next year, we might as well go on vacation in advance …. the air travel should be cheaper that way :P

    if anything, injuries for the past 5 seasons should have taught us what we need to do in such a case. our backup is not strong enough to cover for first team players challenging for the title. it needs to be said that we do seem to have rotten luck with injuries. not only are one or two players out but as much as 4 or 5 at a time. its really ridiculous but the job of a manager is to prepare for such cases, SPECIALLY if its been happening for 5 years continuously !
    but here the problem is maybe financial. we probably don’t have money to buy the necessary players. that trend may be changing (Arshavin). hopefully we’ll get some proper players in the summer.

    it is certainly commendable that we’ve been fighting for the title even with our injuries but lets not forget how many times we’ve barely managed to win a match, score goals in the last 10 mins, thrown winnable matches away – manutd, mancity etc etc., and lets not forget that this season chelsea and manutd have dropped far too many points themselves, which have made it look like we’ve done something miraculous. we’ve played better than last season. there have been some major improvements – song, nasri, ramsey, vermaelen, eboue, gallas, bendtner, denilson, traore, gibbs and even fabregas and vanpersie. its good to see rosicky and eduardo back. and there is surely more to come from walcott, vela, arshavin, and diaby. they’re the ones that need to make a step up now and be more consistent. but silvestre needs to be replaced and if we’re going to rely so much on a 3rd choice striker then we’ve got to get somebody a LITTLE quicker than bendtner to finish off half chances in the box.
    we’ve got a decent squad provided they’re all fit. but they rarely ever are. so we need to come up with a plan B. and i’ve got to disagree with wenger. he says bendtner is our plan B. i say bullshit. he’s good in the air but hardly ever is in the box when a cross comes in. that needs to be sorted. and i’ve been saying that for a couple of seasons now.
    i noticed in the barca game sagna was moved to CB and silvestre replaced. so today, instead of bringing on silvestre for vermaelen. i think wenger should’ve had the vision to bring on walcott instead and move eboue at RB and done the same with moving sagna to CB. he would definitely have been better than silvestre. and i thought it was quite a silly move to bring off denilson who was miles better than the useless diaby. tottenham play chelsea at the weekend, and theres the manchester derby as well. had we won this game we might’ve been much closer to the top provided chelsea and manutd both lost at the weekend, which is very possible. but we lack the maturity to realize opportunity. and we pay the price.
    maybe some things need to change next season. i certainly wish wenger stays for a long long time. but he needs to rediscover himself. one of the things i’d want to see is walcott playing centrally. and us finding someone for RM. maybe also changing formation when required and not playing 4 – 3 – 3 in every single game. trick is to adapt to each situation. we specially need to learn when to run into the opponents half – the final third. and how to create space b/w the lines of their defence and midfield. we’re too naive when it comes to that and we’re not good enough not only with our backup players but also first team players. there is room for improvement. barca showed us ! sideways passing and slow movement and passing will not make us a threat and get the us the goals. this needs to be rectified otherwise stop talking about winning the title.

  • zohaib

    in addition, if we don’t get the big players we need and the other top teams spend money and get them, we can say goodbye to fighting for the title – 1 because they’ll be better teams than this season, 2 – we’ll always have our insane injury problems. maybe the only things going for us will be – 1 tottenham, mancity, aston villa and everton being more of a threat to manutd and chelsea, and 2 – we actually play well and consistently for the whole season and not make silly errors and gift goals away and be wasteful in attack – highly doubt it.

  • Yemi

    @ Yemi:
    AND yemi why can we not blame injuries for runing our season???? I think we have more than a right to do that becuase it is a freak amount of them we have had this could of been the team that played last night and somehow i dont think it would of been the same scoreline:

    That is exactly my point. The replacements we have at our disposal are not yet there. Who did for Verm ? for gallas ? For arshavin? Injuries are part of a season. When you lose a player, you should have replacements that are above average.
    We all thought a chelsea without drog will suffer, but anelka delivered, We all thought they will suffer without essien, But they didnt.
    Man u are suffering the loss of rooney cos berbertov is not the kind of player to fit in the role united player( has a low work ethic)
    Imagine if we have song out and there is a melo to replace him !! or we have a gallas out and there is a hangeland to replace him, or a verm out and we have a smalling to replace him !!!
    It is high time we stop ” Wanting to sign player” and actually signing them

    Now dont get me wrong. I mean only what we need.

  • Yemi

    @ zohaib:
    @ Yemi:
    AND yemi why can we not blame injuries for runing our season???? I think we have more than a right to do that becuase it is a freak amount of them we have had this could of been the team that played last night and somehow i dont think it would of been the same scoreline:

    That is exactly my point. The replacements we have at our disposal are not yet there. Who did for Verm ? for gallas ? For arshavin? Injuries are part of a season. When you lose a player, you should have replacements that are above average.
    We all thought a chelsea without drog will suffer, but anelka delivered, We all thought they will suffer without essien, But they didnt.
    Man u are suffering the loss of rooney cos berbertov is not the kind of player to fit in the role united player( has a low work ethic)
    Imagine if we have song out and there is a melo to replace him !! or we have a gallas out and there is a hangeland to replace him, or a verm out and we have a smalling to replace him !!!
    It is high time we stop ” Wanting to sign player” and actually signing them

    Now dont get me wrong. I mean only what we need.