Before I start this preview, just thought I’d wish Dev a happy birthday! It was Word of Arsenals’s birthday a few days ago, but today it’s Dev. Hope you’ve had a stonking day, and tomorrow does not ruin it!
So, to tomorrow’s match.
The last couple of seasons or so have seen a slight downturn in our fortunes against Spurs, and as much as I hate to say this, it’s not surprising that we’re going in tomorrow as underdogs. Well, when I mean “underdogs”, that’s as far as the media and neutrals are concerned. In my own little warped, biased, Arsenal-till-I-die mind, losing tomorrow is definitely not acceptable in any way, under any circumstances. I don’t care if we’re down to nine men from the off, it’s just not acceptable. I don’t care that they’re ahead of us in the table and have been pretty much all season, a defeat just isn’t acceptable. They might have beaten us earlier this season at White Hart Lane, but like hell I’m going through THAT again. Even if we were bottom of the league and certainly relegated, and Spurs were top of the tree (like any of those would happen!), it still wouldn’t enter my mind to class us as underdogs. I did say warped mind, right?
Still though, I’m not terribly looking forward to tomorrow. Spurs have got a good team right now, and us? I’m not really sure what we have. We’ve got a world class payer in Robin who delivers the goods week in week out (and boy are we lucky he’s still fit!), but with the others, you just cannot tell what you’ll be getting. But we have been decimated by injuries (nothing new there!), and the team sort of picks itself, which is never a good thing, because you need competition. We’ve also had a few dodgy results of late, and confidence is surely low. We also had the curious case of Arshavin going on loan last night, almost out of the blue, leaving a depleted squad even more depleted. Pretty sure Arsene had his (valid?) reasons, but there’s just a general air of confusion around the club right now.
But nothing like winning a North London derby to get us back on track, eh? I was having a discussion on twitter yesterday with someone, about the importance of the NLD, and we concluded that unfortunately, the players don’t seem to get how important the derby is to us fans. Of course some players DO get it, but with the rate at which players switch clubs, the passion for clubs just isn’t there. I wish it wasn’t the case, but I surmise that we’ve probably got more players in the team who just don’t get the NLD than those who do. I just hope we have more than Spurs do! One player who gets it is Sagna, and he talked about it on Arsenal.com, stating that:
“Every game is important but the derby is the killer one. This is one of the biggest games of the season and we know we have to win it. It will give us even more power to move forward.”
“We play Tottenham, they are the enemy this weekend and we lost the first game [at White Hart Lane] and we want to bounce back from it. For the fans it is even more important because it is a derby and we can’t lose.”
The NLD isn’t just about points on the board, it’s about pride, although I guess both go hand in hand. We’ve taken it for granted in the past that we’d beat Spurs easily, but I’m pretty sure not many people are thinking the same this year. But random question, if you had the option of losing both NLDs in the season embarrassingly but winning the league in style, and losing out of 4th spot by some margin, but absolutely thrashing Spurs both times, what would you go for? Tough or easy one? I actually don’t know!
But well, as far as this season is concerned, neither is an option anyways, so yes please, I’ll quite like to remind them of how it used to be, thank you very much! I came across this stat somewhere, that Spurs have not done the double over us in the league since the 1992/1993 season. Please lads, I’d quite like to quote this stat again next season. Actually I won’t, because that would mean we’d lost the first NLD already, but you know what I mean!
There’s not that much hyping up you can do for the NLD, because the match pretty much hypes itself. We have had a relatively awful season, and other than sealing 4th (or 3rd!), and beating Milan 5-0 at the Emirates, there isn’t that much left in our season. Winning tomorrow will definitely go a long way in putting a bit of sunshine into our season and easing the pressure off Arsene, even just a little bit!
But as they say, the proof is in the pudding, so I guess we’ll find out tomorrow if we’ve really got a good chef!