Spurs: All The Pressure Is On Arsenal After Disastrous Summer

After years of messing it up, Spurs have had an incredibly successful summer and could, finally, be ready to end the culture of capitulation...
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In last year's corresponding fixture, Spurs faced an Arsenal team crowing with pride.  Having been astute in the transfer market, they had snapped up Olivier Giroud, Sani Cazorla and German international Lukas Podolski to make up for the loss of Robin van Persie. Nacho Monreal arrived to restabilise their defence and they managed to spend just £3m net on five new players - four 1st teamers and a reserve goalkeeper - whilst simultaneously clearing the decks of some poorer players, such as Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner, who went to Juventus on loan, and selling Alex Song and Carlos Vela for good prices.

Cazorla and Podolski had each scored in the 2-0 win over Liverpool on the opening weekend.  They then trounced Southampton 6-1, with Podolski netting again, and won a hard-earned point away at the Etohad.  Having pipped Spurs yet again for a place in the Champions League, they started strongly with a 2-0 win over Montpellier and, domestically, smashed Coventry 6-1 in the league cup. By contrast, Spurs had struggled to get going in the league and had lost their two best and most creative players, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart, to say nothing of the retirement of club icon and captain Ledley King.

On paper, the result at the Emirates was hardly up for debate.  All Spurs fans could do was hope for the best.

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Arsenal's strong start to the season wobbled - to the great joy of Spurs fans of course. Title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United and bankers for middle-table safety Norwich City and Fulham all beat the Gunners. Going into the game, Arsenal had only managed to sneak past Reading in the Capital One Cup after extra-time by the startling scoreline 7-5.  This was just the kind of thing to spark a glimmer of hope amongst Spurs fans; this could be it, this could be our year, the season we finally finish above the gobby Gunners and their whingeing manager, the season we get back to the Champions League.

How predictable was the capitulation? An opening goal from Arsenal reject Emmanuel Adebayor before he got himself sent off moments later and the home side ran riot, shattering Lilywhite hearts and romping 5-2, a microcosm of Tottenham's trajectory throughout the recent seasons. The dream was dead for another year already, we thought. That hope was buoyed with elation then punctured by shock and anger in just 90 minutes.

12 months on and we're back where we started. No one can deny that the form books favour Arsenal. But how things have changed; Arsenal haven't signed anyone of note - Sanogo and Flamini are hardly the marquee names their fans are crying out for. By contrast, Daniel Levy has waved his magic chequebook and spent over £110m on world-class stars, breaking the club transfer record three times in six weeks.

It's now Spurs with what looks like the advantage but we know we've been here before. They might only have 11 fit players but they seem to get results just when they need them; that's one of the reasons why we hate them. Spurs on the other hand have a long, colourful history of capitulation. When recalled, horror shows against the old enemy, Chelsea and both Manchester clubs still cause a furrowed brow and sweating palm. We must look back and wonder how players like Jason Dozzell and Mauricio Tarrico ever filled us with hope that we might usurp the Woolwich invaders.

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Yet that hope was just the same before the league wins in 2010-11, our 1st win over Arsenal in a decade capped by Danny Rose's gorgeous volley, and then our 1st win away in 17 years.  We shared the dream of getting these cocky nouveau riche neighbours before the 2008 Carling Cup semi-final at The Lane.  Jermaine Jenas, Steed Malbranque, Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon, oft-criticised, earned themselves hero status in one night.  Tomorrow, the latest crop of recruits could become heroes too, just as they instil us with hope tonight.

A win for Spurs will exorcise the misery of last year's twin defeats but best of all; all the pressure is on Arsenal.  If they away team falter, it's because the new stars haven't had time to gel.  If the home team fail to perform, they have just 24 hours to bring in the personnel to avoid a repeat later in the season.  Anything but a significant defeat, could be seen as a Tottenham win - although a win won't add our name to the Champions League draw just yet but it would give everyone the belief that we can do it this time.

There's only one thing more dangerous than a side hoping for the best and it's one believing they will be victorious.