Arsenal v Spurs preview: Time for the gamebreakers to step up

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Arsenal v Spurs - Get excited!

Hello there!

Today is of course derby day with the visit of Tottenham to the Emirates Stadium. And while I might be half the world away from North London I have to admit this is the most excited I have been about an Arsenal v Tottenham game since I started writing this blog.

Part of the reason I’m so excited is because I think it could be a really good quality game, part of it because I’ll be watching it in a packed Pig ‘n’ Whistle pub with the rest of the Brisbane Arsenal supporters (get involved if you’re a local – 10.45pm Brisbane time) and another part because I really think we’re going to win. I don’t really believe in jinxes or any of that sort of rubbish so I’ll just come out and say that if the boys can play well today, there’s a great chance we will walk away with a two or three-goal win.

It’s been a while since we won a really big game and I have to say, given Spurs’ current position on the table and the nature of the rivalry between the two teams, this is a big game. The boys will need to put in a committed, confident and intelligent performance to win today and I really think we can do it.

Spurs captain and owner of world football’s blockiest head Robbie Keane came out in the week saying that he thought Tottenham had a better squad than Arsenal. Looking at the teams today though, it’s fair to say that his opinion is a load of bollocks and our squad is really quite good. Premier League winning material, even, unlike our opponents for today.

The goalkeeper issue aside (more on that in a second) and even taking injuries into account, the side we’re likely to put out today looks exceptionally strong. The first-choice back four that has played consistently well will form a solid base, a diverse midfield trio of Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby will provide strength, skill and creativity while the front three of Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie and (most likely) Emmanuel Eboue will create chances.

We have great balance, great options on the bench in Nicklas Bendtner (who says he will be the top scorer in the Premier League within five years – bless him!), Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri and Eduardo and several players that have the class to make the difference in what could be a very interesting derby game. I see Arshavin, Fabregas and van Persie as the game breakers in this team, the players who can create something out of nothing, while Song and Thomas Vermaelen – who plays his first game against Tottenham – are the two most important players when it comes to relishing the physical battle. I expect both to excel.

As I mentioned earlier the big concern at the moment remains the goalkeeper position. Lukasz Fabianski’s thigh injury sees him sidelined for three weeks and leaves the manager with a straight choice between Vito Mannone and Manuel Almunia. I probably don’t need to say again that I do hope he goes for Almunia, I think we need experience in a big game like this and Mannone’sĀ  shakiness against West Ham means he’s probably one error in a North London Derby short of a severe crisis in confidence. In saying that, if Wenger did go for Mannone I wouldn’t be overly worried. I just think the time is right for Almunia to get another shot and should the manager hand the chance to him I expect him to take it with both gloves.

We failed to beat Spurs in both games last season, drawing 0-0 at White Hart Lane and of course 4-4 in that fateful game at The Emirates. A strong result in this game will not only help exorcise the demons of last year’s game, but also give us three very impressive points and some serious momentum going forward. It’s not every week that you beat Liverpool and Spurs and if the lads can manage it I’m sure it will provide a significant psychological boost in the weeks ahead.

Before I go today I just want to make a shout out to “Andy Arse” and his 20 mates who are celebrating his stag night tonight in Belfast. The lads have promised to get me some photos so hopefully we’ll see some happy, drunken Arsenal fans celebrating not only Andy’s stag but a big win over Spurs. Enjoy yourself boys!

Right, that’s it. I’m off to have a couple of beers, place a couple of bets and head out to the pub to watch the game.

COME ON ARSENAL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have your say on Arsenal v Spurs by leaving a comment.


37 thoughts on “Arsenal v Spurs preview: Time for the gamebreakers to step up

  1. Good stuff Andy and I’m with you all the way regarding getting a good result . I really fancy a 3 – 0 . Lennon is out I believe so that’s a positive for us but the big guy is playing – Crouch – and he IS a real handfull . For sure Le Boss has a plan to keep him quiet. October’s collapse will surely still be fresh in the players heads and they’ll definitely want to put that to bed today .Come on you Gunners – give it to them – Up the Arse nal

  2. Andy it is no doubt that today’s game is a big one. On that note it will require a lot of fight foour boys.I would to remind us of our usual experience that in most cases when we start to draw it is always unending, I hope our guys will end this demons today!
    I also prefer Nasri to be put a head of Diaby because he has more stamminer and he is a play maker.
    I wish all the guns the best!

  3. andy,last season spurs survived,idont too attach any jinx tonight but we must win spurs and show them the difference in both the london teams and dissaproving keane’s slippery statement-come un arsenal!!!they got to keep quiet.

  4. I’d like to see Manone in goal.
    Then Sagna / Gallas / Vermaelen / Clichy

    Ramsey / Song / Fab

    Nasri / Arshavin

    Van P

    On the bench Almunia/ Gibbs/ Senderos/ Merida/ Eduardo and Bendtner

    That’s a strong team – but I expect AW will put Eboue and Diaby in.

    Brains and balls in alignment and we can own Thpurrth today. Give ’em a football lesson.

  5. Upgunners i think it will be a tough match but all i need from my boys is a solid winning and i will like arsharvin 2 score in todays match .teach them how to play football,learn them football lesson.

  6. Upgunners i think it will be a nice match but all i need from my boys is a solid winning and i will like arsharvin 2 score in todays match .teach them how to play football,learn them football lesson.

  7. wil be interesting to see the lineup today, id like to see us really go for it wit edu and nasri both starting as their counter attacking at speed wil be limited wit the loss of lennon and defoe…they may hav no outball and we cud really put the squeeze on them with so many attack minded players on the pitch….its a case of the beautiful pass and move game of ours vs the ‘lump it up to that beanpole and get the breaks’ of the spuds….only problem is were poor at defending those direct balls…c’mon arsenal,mash those spuds

  8. at first there seemed to be a real hangover of the last disappointment, I thought the Arsenal passing game was quite bad, and Spurs scent their chance, all seemed to be a bit inaccuarate despite of the defence, strange to watch and then out of nothing! van Persie managed the impossible goal, whereas before he couldn’t manage the more easier ones, and what the hell has come over Fabregas then? Incredible!
    So they have to show now that the can drive 2:0 home……… I am curious about that ā—

  9. just little surprise why?bendtner starting not eboue, hey maybe eduardo is just what we need, someone who score goals and gets pass players differently than others

  10. I think the gamebreakers stepped up? No.

    Brilliant atmosphere at the Brisbane Pig N Whistle tonight. Spurs had huge support but the first goal hurt them and the second absolutely shut them up. The Arsenal boys sang songs until their voices were hoarse and enjoyed every minute of a great win.

    Gallas was Man of the Match for me – did an amazing job on Crouch and lead by example.


  11. nice1 andy sounds like a you all had a great nite, gallas was outstanding in his tenacity and song once again was brilliant after a shaky start…every1 else just went about their business very wel but i hav to talk about diaby….how many more chances does he get,its unbelievable how he can dribble past players at times and then knock a 5yard pass straight to the opposition,hes the most frustratin player iv ever seen,for a big man hes so windy in the air and in the tackle its embarrassin at times and for the firsy 70 he was the worst player on the pitch,now lets be honest,he was…but then,after wenger and pat rice had screamed themselves hoarse for 10 mins to get him to revert to DM for the last 10mins i thought he was excellent,really,i just dont get this guy at all….at least with bendy and manu you know their tryin their best and may be limited but this guy truly is an enigma to me
    just a mention on almunias return,hadnt much to do and started shakily fumbling easy catches twice…mannone came in for alot of ridiculous stick last week for parrying a wel placed free kick into coles path,after diving full stretch to get there..this week almunia had one save to make and he exagerated it form bentleys free kick which he cuda stood and caught but elected to dive ‘upward’ and turn it over for a corner,this is why i dislike him so much…the bread and butter he makes look difficult and i can actually now see why some of you believe he is a good keeper…its laughable and if he keeps his place from now til may ul see us concede plenty….liability and like iv said before he wouldnt be third choice in any of the top sides

  12. reads the comments and sees no anonymous comments made. How funny. Perhaps it is because its after the game we have won already….. But hey. Its ok. Europa league awaits. It rests keeping spots warm for you, with the off( and yet not so distant) chance which you may turn up to be non contenders.

  13. laugh? i,m still laughing now what a bunch of muppets coming on our blog giving it large but its oh so quite now where are you dogbreath and king dick head from yesterday,s blog???? i love the arsenal, i tell you i really love the arsenal what a wonder goal from cesc i,m going to record it and watch it over and over again,ha,ha,ha,ha,ah.champions league your having a laugh!your a second rate, two bob,bunch of clowns.

  14. @ shambo, you are absolutely right i also felt that it was 10 against 11 men. i’m not sure what Diaby brings to the game anymore. Our big players came through today and thats the sort of performance we need in big games.

  15. I have been critical of him before but I have to say- this was one of Bendtner’s better ever performances before being subbed off. Still a couple of things he has to do better- he has to take a better shot than the one he took- but in general he flowed well within the game today

  16. @SHAMBO – beautiful
    @ICE – Disappeared after the draw?

    First of all cheers to a 3:0 win.
    They continued that winning streak and kept a clean sheet which was the aim of WENGER by the way. Kudos to the Carling cup boys….RAMSEY was King, B52 was excellent in tracking back defensively, Gibbs and co. did amazingly well. Only the right back was stuttering. When January comes, we DONT need to buy a DM. Said it at the beginning of the season and i’m still correct.
    RVP is seriously stepping up, this is what happens when you are quality and get played often…..I only have mixed feelings about EDUARDO not able to tie down a first team spot.

    This team is really shaping up with a fantastic captain steering them on. This team is playing MAGICAL football tutored by the legendary wizard WENGER. He is a real magician with these boys one must say.

    Finally, DIABY needs to be a subst. player now NASRI is back.

  17. what a day, brilliant. first 40 minutes was a bit nervous but wat about the 1-2 knock out combination, fabs goal was aaaaaaamazin it happened so quick they were still showin the highlight of rvps goal.

    the defence had a good game too they kept little crouchy tucked firmly in their pocket.

    Has anyone seen the adebayor interview were he syas he appologized to robin and then goes on to compare himslf to obama. that guy is delusional.

    Happy halloween from belfast

  18. @radads,rooiseun and gunnerboss,
    cheers dudes and where the hell hav you all been lately???and icehammers completely gone off the radar…iv been comin in ere every day tryin to get some chat goin and every1s been quiet lately…is dat wot happens when wer winning????
    wot do you 3 and momoney think of our goalkeepin situation

  19. Well well well.

    Clearly Almunia being back is a positive. A clean sheet, some good saves and a fairly dominant patrol of the goalkeeping area. Sorry Shambogunner, I cannot agree with you – Almunia didnt fumble ‘easy’ catches, not that they seemed overly hard, still they were confident saves. Note how Almunia dealt with the Bentley free kick – last week, Mannone parried that exact same free kick into the path of Cole.

    It is a shame to see so much Almunia bashing going on – he is the clear number one at the moment, and Mannone is clearly no. 3. The constant undermining of Almunia doesn’t actually help the Arsenal cause. We cannot get any new goalkeepers in at the moment, so what is the purpose of undermining our goalkeeper? None.

    Great match otherwise! Should have been 4 or 5 nil.

  20. @shambogunner – fair enough that you have a pathological dislike of Almunia but you can’t fault the man when he’s done nothing wrong. He conceded no goals and looked secure all game. That’s what a keeper’s supposed to do. Come on.

    As for my own hate target, Dopey Diaby, I also said to myself, out loud, in the first half, ‘We’re playing with ten men.” because he was COMPLETELY USELESS. Why oh why, AW, when Ramsey is kicking his heels on the bench?

    Aside from that of course – BRILLIANT GUNNERS! All round top performance from everyone else in an Arsenal shirt – including the supporters.
    M O M – a difficult one for me – but I think Vermaelan.

  21. Great win and clean sheet. The first 40 minutes both payed to stand still. No clue where we were going until VP’s brilliance. Captain fantastic had a blinder for the second goal dribbling past Palacios (the crown jewel), no less.

    @Hey Nonny Mouse, I completely agree with you about Diaby. This is not even about how he is consistently playing bad, but what puzzles me the most is why Wenger keep playing him the full 90. Do you think Wenger is giving him all the opportunity to prove himself this year, before he finally cut him lose at the end? I’m hoping something is coming out of it, otherwise I don’t see any logic to this madness. This guy can’t dribble, can’t pass, can’t head the ball, can’t tackle. I’m speechless! How do the players on the bench really feel about that?

    One matter I think all of you overlooked was the glaring misses by Edwardo. Does he still have the hangover from his diving incident? May be he needs a few run of games to get his sharpness and confidence back. After the first 40min of standoff, it could have easily been 6-0. And that is exactly what Keane and Redknap deserve for their luck of judgment.

  22. @SHAMBO – I agree completely with you on the goal keepers. U should know that ur always spot on with that. But, I felt ALMUNIA should at least have started the 2:2 draw game. I guess ANDY was spot on with that one.

  23. @nonny mouse,
    before the season started i made a conscious decision to not critisise any of our players for the sake of it,havin seen some of the unwarranted stick that diaby,eboue,song and nic wud come in for…there is nothin personal wit almunia hes loyal and a fine professional,maybe the best at the club….but he simply isnt the standard we need and NO he does not instil confidence in the team,i can go back to so many times he has been at fault in games…yesterday was his first clean sheet dis season and they had two shots….darragh how you cud compare the mannone save last week to almunias is disturbing…west hams free went over the wall to the unguarded side of the goal where he made a great reaction save and was unlucky,bentleys free yesterday went to the side he was standing and was straight at him…there were no need for the theatrical dive,had ledley king buried a header from the corner ud be sayin different today no doubt,or maybe u just dont see these things
    if a team has 5 shots on our goal almunia wil concede twice, his shots to saves is appalling but alot of you seem to think becos he makes these ‘photo friendly’ diving saves when a standing catch would hav sufficed that hes a worthy no 1…wel hes not and it would be much more beneficial to us to hav either of the younger lads in there where they hav a chance to learn their trade…them makin mistakes is acceptable because they will learn..almunias around long enough now and still makes some terrible and COSTLY errors…..
    CL final-atrocious rookie near post errors
    liverpool last year keane goal,rooted to his line after ridiculous punt upfield by carragher
    manu game…a simple call and diaby doesnt even go near it
    man city game they had 6 shots on target
    for cryin out loud,ul all bitch about him in march…im just doin it in advance

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