Greetings Gooners. After our obliteration at the hands of Bayern Munich in midweek, we have the chance to prove we haven’t been deterred from our domestic title challenge when we host Tottenham tomorrow.
We’ll be seeking to secure our sixth consecutive Premier League victory by beating Spurs, so cup woes aside, we’re in great form. Our neighbours aren’t in bad nick themselves of course, sitting five points and four places adrift of us in sixth, and unbeaten in their last ten games in the league. So we’re in for a tough game, made all the more testing by our injury troubles at the moment.
I’m expecting Laurent Koscielny to be passed fit given Arsene Wenger gave him such a high percentage chance of doing so yesterday, as well as the fact he was part of full training earlier this morning if these pictures are anything to go by. Whether he comes in to replace Per Mertesacker or Gabriel is anybody’s guess, seeing as neither of them covered themselves in glory with their performances in Germany.
Elsewhere in the team, I think we’ll be unchanged purely because of the lack of options presently available to the boss. That would mean another start for Joel Campbell – his first-ever Premier League one at Emirates stadium – and hopefully he can perform more like he did at Swansea than he managed to against Bayern.
That goes for most of the team though, and against a Spurs side who have the youngest average age in the league at present, we’ll need to match their work-rate first and foremost, which should lead to our undeniably superior quality shining through.
The fixture itself needs no hyping of course, partly because Sky have been doing that for about a month now, but mainly because the two clubs and sets of fans like each other as much as Wayne Rooney does sticking to an athlete’s diet, which ensures the matches are always atmospheric and keenly contested.
The boss has obviously overseen his fair share of them over the years and has been discussing the north London derby with Arsenal Player, saying:
It’s a special game because it’s always special between the two north London clubs. It’s a game with a big importance in the table and psychologically it has a big meaning. It is always a special game and a game where you want to come out on top. I agree about the power, energy and electricity around the game. It’s more the feeling [that stays with you]. I remember when we won the championship there, and our last game in the League Cup was a frenetic game. But the energy, the intensity, the commitment, the happiness when you’re [winning] – that’s what remains with you.
Just very quickly, if I was to name a few of stand-out derby moments they would, in no particular order, be the title-winning game at White Hart Lane in 2004 and the two sublime goals we scored that day, Kanu’s flick and finish in what I think was a 3-1 midweek win in 1999, Thierry’s run from his own half at Highbury, Ian Wright twisting one way then the other, before crossing from the right to Dennis Bergkamp on the left, who took a glorious touch inside his marker before smashing it home, and of course, Tony Adams’ volley in the same game. (Get well soon Tony!)
To be honest, I, like I’m sure you, could go on all day so I’ll leave it there. Alright one more, Emmanuel Adebayor’s flick up and volley at the Lane – WHAT a goal that was, untainted by his subsequent career path, for me anyway. There’s soooo many to choose from dammit. Maybe I’ll dedicate a post to special moments against Spurs before the next derby when I have more time.
Right, hopefully that little trip down memory lane has got you up for the game, not that I’m sure you needed it, and we can add another Gunners victory over our shadow-dwellers to our memories at full-time tomorrow.
COME ON YOU ARSENAL!