Arsenal vs Sp*rs – The North London Derby Preview

Morning fellow Gooners.

Tomorrow is a big big game and one that we are all looking forward to without a doubt. It’s the El Classico of North London – it’s Arsenal vs Sp*rs… this time round – we’re at the Emirates – this time round, we’re playing our full squad in the league – with three points at stake. Admittedly, our home form has not been great this season – with two defeats in just a few outings in the league – but what better way to change it than to  get one over our nearest and dearest rivals.

If we win on Saturday… we will go top of the league.

Nice hey? Beat Sp*rs and go top of the league. It’s been a week of Internationals, and as a result, we’ve had a few players popping over the lake to a few foreign countries and the lark. Clichy, Walcott, Sagna and Nasri didn’t have to go too far… Squillaci didn’t have to go anywhere… throw in 45 minutes for Robin, a bit longer for Maroune over in Northern Ireland and with the exception of Andrei, who played a 90 minute game, all of the team should be relatively relaxed and raring to go.

This is our biggest game of the season so far, well, at home, it definitely is.

Earlier in the season, we went to White Hart Lane and won 4-1. It was a magnificent game to watch, a marvel of football – and a key component to that victory was young Jack Wilshere – who is a doubt for the match, the player saying yesterday:

“Feeling better today, training tomorrow and hopefully selected for Saturday.”

And if Wilshere does recover in time, it’ll be boost – I’m sure he’ll be eager to show our local rivals what he’s made of – but if he doesn’t make it, then after Denilson second half performance against Everton, I’ll be happy for him to deputise – and the reason for Denilson good form is simply that his place in the team is not guaranteed and he has to fight for his spot. Which means every opportunity he gets to impress, he has to take it – and this is something that we’ve not really had at the Arsenal – competition for places – and I’m glad that Arsene has a dilemma of who to pick, three fit strikers is a first for Arsene.

And he’ll have to make that decision tomorrow – I’m sure Van Persie will be very keen to start the game tomorrow – but how do you leave out Maroune Chamakh, whose form has been the constant is our rise to 2nd in the table. Can he accommodate both? I’m not sure… well, I’m not sure in the 4-3-3… so, here’s my guesstimated lineup…


Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou – Clichy

Wilshere  – Song

Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin


With a bench of Szcznesy, Gibbs, Eboue, Denilson, Rosicky, Walcott and Van Persie

So, in my opinion, and surely based on Wednesday’s performances, Nasri will be selected ahead of Walcott, and Van Persie remaining on the bench – a bit controversial, but where can he play without dropping the front four? With Braga away on Tuesday, it could be a good time to re-introduce Van Persie to the starting line up – in a game that if we won – we’d be through to the next stages of the Champions League…

One of Sp*rs players stands out and that’s the one they are now calling Bale-inho… an over-reaction of sorts, but credit where it’s due, the young Welshman has done very well in recent games to raise his profile… The player marking him Saturday will be Bacary Sagna, and the Frenchman commented on Bale:

“He’s doing very well at the moment but don’t put pressure on him too early. He will learn a lot, he’s only 21 so he will improve a lot in the next few years. But, at the moment, he’s one of the most dangerous wingers.”

In fact, Sagna still remembers last season’s 2-1 defeat on route to the title – well, non title for us… and talks about getting revenge for the defeat:

“We have to win because we lost the last derby and if we want to be competitive, we have to take the three points. Of course everyone is ready, everyone is focused, everyone is motivated. Now we have to do it. We have to think about Saturday, but first we have to rest because everyone played for their national teams.”

Very true Bacary, very true!

And tomorrow we will see the return to the Emirates of former captain William Gallas – I’m sure he’ll come back to a major chorus of boos – he didn’t really do much for us except upset everyone and he didn’t really get on with anyone – well, he definitely didn’t get on with Nasri.

Interesting to see Sagna come out in support of Gallas:

“I’m not angry at him because he signed for our rivals. He was always very professional and he always gave everything [during his time here]. Football is football, I’m not furious against him. He needed to leave to play football and that is what he loves. Even if the newspapers were talking about him because of his behaviour, [that] was his hunger because he wanted to win so much. Maybe he expressed it in a bad way but it was not bad at all because he wanted us to win. I’ve kept in touch with him. On the pitch there is a war but off the pitch we are all friends.He deserves a good reception because during the time he played for Arsenal he always did well.”

But I can understand why – the two boys are still mates – we all know how football works – you have friendships and when players leave your team, it doesn’t mean you’re no longer friends with them- unless you’re Adebayor, of course… but I have to say that Sagna is on his own there… I don’t think many fans will give Gallas a good reception!

Okay, there it is… Arsene will be giving his pre-match conference a little later today and we’ll hear a little about team news and his approach to the game… all that is left to say is… Come on you reds!!!!!!

  • Sam

    I’m pretty sure Sagna & RVP positive comments on Sp#rs is psychological warfare, and AW is behind it. There’s nothing like giving your stupid rivals some fake confidence.

  • Josiah

    Come on Arsenal!

  • syah

    cant wait to beat the shit out of the great pretender.

  • fredric

    You’d be hard pressed to find an Arsenal supporter who doesn’t believe that our team is better than Spurs. We just need to bear in mind that our perceived superiority means Jack. Every match starts 0-0 and every result has to be achieved. Even against them lot. We know that Arsenal are better, we know that we can outscore them, but this is Arsenal v Spurs and anything can happen.

    I am pretty confident. I am pretty confident that we will win, I am pretty confident that we can score twice and I am pretty confident that we will probably concede one. I’m also pretty confident that Arsenal are daft enough to give the likes of Bale and Ralph Fart enough space to score. So that means that we will probably win 2-1. Can it be that simple though?

    After starting the season scoring goals like confetti at home we have recently found it more troublesome. Is there a trend there, or just an anomaly? We don’t really know. Arsenal don’t often go long without goals and we’ve pulled off two highly admirable away wins at Wolves and Everton since the 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle. (Note how everyone in the media, northern or southern, is contractually obliged to brown-nose the Mags by calling them ‘New-CAstle’ and not ‘New-CARstle’). We should be perfectly capable of scoring against Spurs.

    The sliver of concern I have is that we often do not put teams away like we should and that could give Spurs an unnecessary cause for hope. There is a 10-15% chance for me that we may struggle to score, for whatever reasons and through whichever near-misses or gripes, and that they pull off a 1-0 pillage. I don’t want to contemplate it. I don’t want to give it breath by validating it. I’m just aware enough to know that the opposite of what you want or believe is feasible can sometimes be precisely what happens.

    As always in a north London derby, the relief and joy of a win will be considerable but a speck in the ocean in comparison to the horror of a defeat. It cannot be allowed. It cannot be tolerated. It must be put to the sword with a confident, commanding and clinical performance. Chins up. Heads high. No messing about. Three points.

  • devday

    Come on you reds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Vazy

    my word.. we started off so well! COME ON YOU REDS, GET AT LEAST ONE BACK!

  • Sam

    Perfect st half. I uv no words for 2nd half. F@ck!

  • tony

    We r jst a dictionary definition of inconsistency,dats y I’ll neva put my trust in Arsenal.Wenger let us dwn,I expect him to adjust to spurs chng of formation to 4 4 2 in d second half.

  • Goonerman

    At this moment in time this is the worse any arsenal fan will ever fill this season, for us to completely make a joke of them in the first half and cruise like we did and then to come out in the second half thinking the game was one was a complete joke. i dont care what people say tottenham were not good enough to win that game it took us to hand it to them on a plate and make complete fools of themselves.

    Wenger had a big desision to make today and that was wether he played djourou or koscielny, i wanted djourou to continue and i completley think that is what he should of done. honestly the first goal was comical how can a midget striker in defoe out JUMP our defender and win the ball in the air, i will guarntee you that it would not of happened if it was djourou going up against defo. finally i dont want to hear fabregas moaning about the team because it was his pathetic handball that gave them a penalty to gift them a platform to a win!

    im not angry with the loss im actually ashamed, if we cant keep focused and on the ball to keep a 2 goal lead against tottenham then we are cmpletley fucked!!

  • simba

    At this moment in time this is the worse any arsenal fan will ever fill this season, for us to completely make a joke of them in the first half and cruise like we did and then to come out in the second half thinking the game was one was a complete joke. i dont care what people say tottenham were not good enough to win that game it took us to hand it to them on a plate and make complete fools of themselves.

    Wenger had a big desision to make today and that was wether he played djourou or koscielny, i wanted djourou to continue and i completley think that is what he should of done. honestly the first goal was comical how can a midget striker in defoe out JUMP our defender and win the ball in the air, i will guarntee you that it would not of happened if it was djourou going up against defo. finally i dont want to hear fabregas moaning about the team because it was his pathetic handball that gave them a penalty to gift them a platform to a win!

    im not angry with the loss im actually ashamed, if we cant keep focused and on the ball to keep a 2 goal lead against tottenham then we are cmpletley fucked!!

  • PHIL

    This result today just shows that we have learnt nothing in the last 5 seasons, despite all Wenger’s claims about our qualities and mental strength. All lies, just like Wenger’s management a lie.This is without doubt the most embarrassing defeat of Wenger’s era, and I struggle to find a worse one in my lifetime.This should be Wenger’s last game as Arsenal manager, and I call on him now to resign, this is not a knee jerk reaction, merely final recognition that time is up for this arrogant lying man.I felt really sorry for Thierry Henry. He was so passionate about beating Spuds, and on his DVD states just how much it means to him that he never lost to them in his time at Arsenal.Fast forward to now, and you’ve got c**ts like Sagna saying that ‘It doesn’t matter more if we beat Spuds’ during the week, and a second-rate team throwing away a two-goal lead as if it doesn’t really matter.Fans say that foreigners can’t understand the passion of a local rivalry, but TH14 (and his co-horts) proved that utterly wrong. We’ve just educated players from the Wenger academy the wrong way.I’d be very happy if AW resigned tonight, as we’ve been treading water for the past five (maybe six) years.The sad truth is we are seemingly powerless to do anything about it, and there are those who will make excuses and accept those given by Wenger himself.This reign will end eventually, though I fear by then we will be in an even far worse state than we are now.There are no words to express the pain, anger and disgust we are all feeling right now. But those feelings will count for nothing if the fans turn up again next week and sing Wenger’s name. He must be made to see how we feel, through banners and hear how we feel by calling for him to resign or by calling on the board to sack him

  • Goonerman

    @ simba
    why did u copy and paste my comment lol?

    Harry redkanpp actually thinks tottenham can win the title now! are you seriously smoking drugs!! i dont think we can win the title so they certainly have no chance!

  • fredric

    well why cant they> after our wankers cant perform to save their lives – BASTARDS..Should fucking sack that cunt of a manger – spineless git go out and buy some players

  • simba

    sorry i think im feeling like i could shoot wenget- cn u fucking believ it another loss at home

  • simba

    The warning signs were loud & clear last week. Not for the first time either. Two goals up, let complacency kick in & gift them a foothold back into the game & then find it impossible to switch back on again. Last week we got away with it… West Ham, Wigan away last season & the 4-4 scum game, to name but a few, we didn’t. In all those cases we didn’t learn a single fucking lesson.First half we were brilliant, pretty much to a man. Outclassed them all over the pitch. But you just knew we were gonna come out second half with the slippers on & they’d score first. Was just a question of whether we’d hold on from there. How can it be that blindingly obvious to a pub full of drunks still celebrating and yet the GIC cant see it?Not fucking good enough. What’s the point in throwing your water bottle all over the shop & your hands up in the air like a retarded village people when it’s too late? Where’s that passion & fervour when/where it’s needed in the changing room? How many times can we fall into the same self-imposed trap from winning positions before somebody somewhere gets the fucking message?!! Cos either he’s not telling them what needs to be said or he is but they aint listening. Either way he’s lost it. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me… fool yourself every couple of weeks, fuck the fuck off and take your fucking goldfish memory & your fucking mental strength with you!

  • adanan

    what a joke!how can we go from absolutely dominating one half to complete self destruction in the second?watching us in the first half I would have said no team in the league could have lived with us,never mind bloody Tottenham!second half were shocking.what was bales goal all about?a hoof over the top and our defence all taken out in one go.the second was an even bigger farce.why the hell couldn’t cesc just head the thing.we should have been out of sight by then.what kind of striker is chamakh?what is his problem.twice he was played clean through and he had no intention of going for rate is all well and good and being able to put it in from 3 yards but if he is going to lead the line he needs to have a proper strikers instinct.sure enough if we give away enough stupid free kicks then the opposition will score because we cant defend and thats exactly what happened.we’ll be winning nothing unless we buy some players with spines and balls.getting beat to 2 newly promoted teams and spurs at home.way to let chelsea off the hook fellas.what did wenger say yesterday…’best squad ive ever had….we are men now!’ thats an insult to the invincibles
    Wenger, once again you manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How many times do I have to say this. WE CAN’T DEFEND THE BALL IN THE AIR. It’s not rocket science SIX ******* YEARS same problem. So what does Wenger do? He drops Djourou our best defender in the past 2 games and brings back that useless **** Koscielny. He can’t head the ball no matter which end of the pitch he’s at, how did he miss that sitter. Useless Wenger, you bottled it, complacency and arrogance, your speciality.
    i just cant believe what ive just witnessed… arsene wenger should resign! what a crappy defence! that showed every one whos claiming that wenger is a genius- that he’s nothing but a cheap old imposter who ran out of magic! i say again, thank you arsene for the invincibles time, and good bye! the most loser-full team in the premier league gave us a lesson today. just press arsenal, send high balls throw the center, and throw yourself every time an arsenal player is next to you so you could get a FK and that’s it! that’s what chelskea, west brom, and now after 17 years the spuds! until mr wenger wont resign, or atleast buys one decent high center back, a new keeper and another DM were doomed. i just can’t believe how many chances weve had! chamakh is a player who can play in the highest level and RVP is rusted, were nothing but idiots! can you even imagine what would have happend if man utd or chelskea had the same amount of chances? they’d probably win 6,7,8-0. thats it im done with this team, this is the lowest it could get! losing to the spuds 3-2 after we were in a 2-0 lead? if wenger a tiny bit of respect, he should leave!

  • bayo

    Did arsene ask fabregas to put his hands up or would he teach kolscieny how to jump against a midget.

    The same fabregas was marking kaboul and he could not do a simple JOB but he knows how to go to BARCA.


  • Sam

    Let’s not blow things out of pro proportion! We lost, it’s not the end of the world. Gunners were superb in first half, and things went down hill in second half.
    Chelsea lost too, so little harm was done by this loss.
    Please don’t start bringing everyone down just because things didn’t go our way.

  • funty

    All Wenger haters: Please review the season. We are still in november. We are 5 points off the TOP of the table which is never disastrous [especially in this year’s league]. We are first in our group in the Champions League, still in the FA Cup, we are in the quarterfinal of the Carling Cup. I don’t know why we are jumping to conclusions. I can understand the situation of each and everyone of you. This was a derby game and we MUST have won it. But that is the way it goes sometimes. I can understand the bitterness of the disappointment and I am disappointed too. We must NEVER forget that the ‘INVINCIBLE’ season happened during WENGER’S era. Wenger had a significant hand in that. No matter what you people say, Wenger played a significant part and was instrumental in that. And now, when he is rebuilding the team, we as fans must support the team and we need to have patience. Yes, I know that when we have not won anything for five long years, it hurts. But we need to show that we are fans of arsenal. I can still see a GREAT time ahead of us RIGHT is THIS VERY SEASON. I read above that what would have happened if chelsea of man utd had the lead, I wonder what would have happened to that comment if we had gone on to win it 4-0. Well, even MAN UTD threw away a 2-0 lead at home. The fact of the matter is, it just happens sometimes. Even Barcelona lost to a promoted team. Nobody is perfect ! I do understand the fact that it was a shocking loss to our biggest rival, but calls for the sacking of Wenger are absolutely foolish.

  • Berth

    Hey folks – I know its hard to take and that no team has actually won the league loosing 6 matches. Truth be told this season could be ours but its still hard to see how – today the attack was efficient; collective defending was okay but we still conceded. Am not saying we are shit or not; what I just want is just assurance in defence at home matches – I feel Wenger should be pairing Djourou and Squillci at home till we get our home confidence back or Vermelean (seems like an excuse though).

    TBH, I don’t know what the problem is – maybe we should ask the players or blame the god of soccer for us being unlucky – we have players with belief am sure but we desperately need assurance in defence which we can only have with Vermelean.

    One more note though – Our team is one of the best in England and one of the best in Europe – so taking about buying players or sacking Wenger is a bit misplaced. What we need now is just to analyse the home games carefully and find a solution to that, we really have to otherwise we are f***d.

  • Kodjo

    I agree with you Berth…stacking the team with new players is not the answer…its more of a mental thing than anything else…there were key moments in the game which we did not take adv of..

    1. Chamakh had a clear sight of goal just b4 half time and he blew it…he again had a similar opportunity at the start of the 2nd half and instead of being direct and
    going for goal he pulled the ball back. We needed a 3rd goal to kill the game off…but we were not focussed enough. Those key moments i believe influenced Wenger’s decision to replace Chamakh with RVP.

    We neeeded someone who understood the mentality needed to play in the derby…..i am not slagging Chamakh, i just think he came up short during certain key moments of the game. Brilliant goal though!!!

    2. I hate it but same elementary mistakes by Clichy for spurs 1st goal …Sagna was hesitant maybe bcos he was already on a yellow, Kos just didnt do anything when tracking back … 3 of our back 4 bottled routine defending….

    more so i don’t think the central defenders should have gone upfront for that free kick…too early in the game …to do that ..we could have passed our way forward.

    3. The refs decision to award ‘that’ foul in the build up was incorrect….Song won the ball fair and square but i will not dwell on it.

    4. I noticed toward the end of the 1st half when we hard spurs on the ropes we started to ease off and wnger rightly rounded on clichy, arshavin and cesc for slowing it down when we could have been more direct.

    5. Cesc better learn not lift his arm/elbow…its not the 1st time he’s done that…nearly cost us a penalty in last seasons game witth l’pool at the emirates

  • Kodjo

    Folks, as painful as the defeat is let’s be circumspect…if there is anyone to blame its the entire team…you’d expect some leadership during the tough moments but no one took up the mantle….

    Next game please!!!!!!

  • Bonathan

    Unreal. this could without a shadow of a doubt been our year this season. still could be, but my word, we should be absolutely flying. Three home defeats, two to newly promoted teams and this one, 2-0 up and cruising at half time. Why do we do it against spurs though?? are our memories really that short. Hasn’t this happened before against them not long ago. We knew they were gonna make a fight of it.

    lost for words. i really thought we had learned from our previous experiences, but we haven’t unfortunately. crazy thing is, we are still in with a good chance of winning the league. Only by winning it can we forget this result. there’s no doubt, it could have been our year. Still could be, but definitely could have been. You have to question the mentality of the team. Did we think the match was won? did we think newcastle and west brom would roll over and give us three points? i find it very worrying that we haven’t learned from 5 years of similar things. i really thought we were made of sterner stuff now.

    i was a bit disappointed that koscielny walked right back in the team after djourou had put in some solid performances i must say that.

  • Bonathan

    that isn’t me blaming Kos for everything. But looking at the starting line up before the game, that was my thinking, and well, obviously after watching it, i’m left wondering why again.

  • Berth

    I am left wandering why. Why, why, why folks. No one should be slating Chamackh for not at least making effort for being played through. being 2 goals ahead is enough for a team to win a match; if it gets worse why not defend and counter.

  • goonerman

    I know its a bad bad bad result and there is no excuses for the team becuase they were shocking in the second half i still cant believe we come out of the second half as if it was wrapped up, we out of everytime should know a game is not won untill the whistle is blown.

    To tottenham and each goal they scored was through a stupid mistake from us instead of beautiful football from them, goal 1 come from clichy being out jumped by a midget, goal 2 was from fabregas doing the most inexperienced thing he has done in years and the third was shabby defending, as bad as we were we didnt deserve to lose that match i think on our second half performance a draw would have probably been fair.

    our mental issues with keeping leads and a whole load of other things that seem to ruin our seasons i actually think could be seriously helped by investing in a couple of english players, i know our players are miles ahead of english in terms of skill but in terms of mentality and grit i think they are ahead of our frenhc and certain other foreigners! for example if jack wilshere was on that pitch alongside a defender like gary cahill and another midfielder like scott parker we would not of lost that match becuase they would rather die on that pitch before they lose such a big game! i just think wenger needs to look at that side of the english players.

    Lastly djourou after two away games where he played like a man possesed determined to stay in that starting lineup was dumped as soon and koscielny a man who in his last game was sent off and we lost walks straight back into the team, i really rate djourou and i think he has a bit of that mental attitude i talk about in english players so wenger needs to think about giving him his place back because he done nothing to deserve being benched!