What a line. What an evocative notion that entails. The North London Derby. One of the biggest games in Europe, despite what you think about ‘Cockneys’, Londoners or Southerners.
As an Arsenal season ticket holder of 30 years what is surprising to me is that I am up for it more than ever. People say to me who would you rather beat, Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea or Tottenham?
For me there is only one answer: Tottenham Hotspur.
I have been to over 60 North London derbies in my time if you include cup ties. And in every one of them beating that lot from N17 meant a massive amount to me. Far more than beating United, the Scousers, or that lot from SW6. Our game on Sunday is no different.
The thing is this Sunday is relatively unique. Why? Well, how much have Tottenham spent? Who have they bought? Tottenham have signed Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue and Erik Lamela already this summer with Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen expected to arrive in the next few days: total spend: £100 million We have signed, er, Yaya Sanogo on a free from Ligue 2 Auxerre and, um, Mathew Flamini on a free. Total spend: £0 English pounds.
What to deduce from that? Well apart from criticism about the fact that there appears to be no coherent transfer strategy at Arsenal Football Club. Or the fact that Tottenham fans seem to be crowing ever more than ever about the fact that they believe they are the team that is in the ascendancy in North London. Or even the notion that they actually believe the fact.
For the thing is, from an Arsenal point of view, Tottenham spent £100 million quid last year on getting to within point one of Arsenal: after nineteen years of finishing below Arsenal - if you discount 1994/95 where they finished just above us, even if they didn’t reach a European Final as we did.
But so what? They still didn’t make the Champions League.
So, for all Arsenal fans moans, groans and twitter rants in less than 140 characters, here’s one: what if we beat Tottenham Hotspur FC this Sunday? How would you feel about that?
For me, for what it’s worth, if we beat Tottenham this Sunday that would be one of the best victories against them.
Not just because they have crowed about finishing above us for years – in August and went decidedly quiet by May; not just because they have been crowing about the fact that they have spent far more money this summer; nor the fact that they believe their squad is far better than ours; nor the fact that they believe that they believe their manager is better than ours – he isn’t. He isn’t for a lot of reasons. Not least because do you realise that AVB looks like Teen Wolf, sounds like a man who has a voice deeper than Barry White and speaks like a person who has been through Google translate whereby the verbs and adjectives are interchangeable.
Arsenal v Tottenham. It means a lot to a lot of people.
Not least because as an Arsenal fan if Tottenham lose this Sunday I will laugh my head off.
Follow Layth on twitter @laythy29