Arsenal: Spurs Can Only Dream Of Where We Are Right Now
I’d like to start this preview with the immortal words of John Lennon:
So this is Tottenham/
What have you done?/
Another year wasted/
And a new waste, begun/
A very merry derby/
Let’s all drink some beer/
We’ll all laugh at Tottenham/
Without any fear.
Good bloke, that Lennon.
So Arsenal come into this derby with a vague whiff of sepia toned nostalgia in the air. It seems Tottenham’s days of pestering us for fourth spot are over, and they seem to be comfortable now with their 5th to 7th place mediocrity. The cataclysmic loss of Bale has seriously derailed Tottenham from genuine threat to genuine sad humans. Watching them now feels like watching a 43 year old former lothario try and pull stunners down Oceana in Southend. He has that glint in his eye that lets on to his past ability, that occasional swagger that belies a gaping chasm between his ambition to pull the busty blonde sauntering around in the VIP section of Champions League football, to the insecure mother of two downing the bittersweet Apple Sourz of the Europa League.
Spurs can only dream of being where we are right now, in this vein of form, with this confidence.
Arsenal can smell that aromatic nostalgia because this is the first North London derby in years that we can face a Tottenham side who we are scared of anymore. This is the first derby since roughly our last Premiership title that we can go into confidently expecting a win. Not quite a formality, but expecting a win nonetheless.
Yes our fortunes in the League Cup were contrasting, but we played a 2nd placed Southampton side with a defence consisting of four members of the King’s College Choir and an attack featuring a collectively-bored left foot. We go into the game still unbeaten in the league and looking extremely dangerous in attack. The signs are all there for Welbeck and Özil to begin an illustrious partnership up front. As I have previously said, Welbeck will bring out the best in Özil, and the Aston Villa game was a ruthless example of how that could look in practice.
Throw in the constant harrying of Sanchez, and the bench with explosive players like the Ox and Rosicky who can threaten tired legs late on with more pressure and driving runs, and the game suddenly doesn’t look to appealing to an away side visiting Ashburton Grove. This on top of the fact that this particular away side haven’t won in their last three league games including a trouncing by an unconfident Liverpool side.
Obviously it’s never as clear cut as all that. Derbies always add an element of unpredictability to proceedings, and there have been countless times when Arsenal have thrown away a emphatic lead or been beaten against the run of play in these games (who can forget that 4-4 catastrophe a few years back?). That is the beauty of derbies, the feeling from the crowd and the tension implicit in the rivalry can lead to random mistakes or moments of genius. In reality though, there can only be one winner here.
Arsenal: two nil.