It’s a battle of the once had’s “against the never was’s, Arsenal v Spurs in the North London derby isn’t just three points, it’s not even about the bragging rights anymore, it’s about two sides making a statement to their managers and fans.
I’ve not seen the odds but I imagine that they are fairly even because neither team are what they were under Wenger and Pochettino and as the Arteta and Mourinho look forward to the battle, a loss isn’t something that either need or want.
Spurs were considered title contenders early on and Harry Rednapp told son Jamie exactly that on sky “People will think I’m mad” he said
Not quite but well on the way because Spurs have promised great things before but never lived up to the billing and it’s a similar story again, not that Arsenal have been any better.
The trio of Son, Kane and Bale is a handful in its own right and Spurs fans will be hoping that their striker is fit enough to plunder a Arsenal again, he usually does.
It will be extremely interesting how Arteta sets up his side but the midfield will need to be spot on. Partey could play a key role after showing a third of his repertoire in recent games and had he been a 100% since his arrival,
Arsenal’s season and chances in this match would improve greatly. Could Arteta put four across the middle with one of the front two dropping back in an emergency ?
It would make sense because the last time the sides met Arsenal were opened up like a cheap tin of skipjack tuna but the biggest problem was the right side which gave Spurs a lot of joy with Bellerin and Holding in position.
Arteta will have noted that surely and he may even be thinking of Chambers continuing in the role, arguably less attacking but more defence minded and probably more comfortable at playing out from the back.
Saka took a hammering against Olympiakos and although I’d love to see more of him, it would be wise to let him lick his wounds with the matches coming up thick and fast.
Pepe or Willian could take up the slot in his absence and the other big question is will Elneny return to the fold alongside Partey, Xhaka and Dmith Rowe or Odegaard in the number ten role.
Surely there’s no room for Ceballos who’s recent form has been nothing short of awful, contributing three goals in four games, all at the wrong end.
Unforced errors are costing Arsenal valuable points regularly and Arteta somehow has to stop the practice and in particular for the NLD because although Tottenham have had a dip in form they will twist the knife if given the opportunity.
This game could be an end to ender after a tight 20 minutes and the first goal will put some wind in the sails of whichever team scores it.
I’m not expecting a classic although that would be fantastic, but it’s unlikely to be but the usual intense, emotional blockbuster without the supporters cheering their team on, how could it be ?
It’s at times like this when the rows of supporters, especially at home are a key factor. Often referred to as the 12th man, one wonders if some games would have gone differently if had they been conducted in front of a capacity crowd.
Anfield is one of the most intimidating grounds and it’s hard to believe supporters wouldn’t have made a difference.
In fairness the atmosphere at the Emirates and White Hart lane is normally a fairly even split but fans will be glued to TV screens hoping for the best outcome and I’m going for a 2-1 win because not only do Arsenal have the ability to win this but Arteta will impress the importance of this fixture on his side.
The second half is key for me and as the clock ticks down the passion might edge towards dangerous levels. Let’s hope that it doesn’t get too feisty or we could find ourselves a man down with it all to do.
I’m looking forward to this but I just wish I could fast forward to the final score to enjoy that winning feeling against an overrated Spurs side and their peacock of a manager.
Arsenal Starting XI vs Tottenham:
Cedric, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney,
Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka,