Three points a must for Arsenal on derby day

Good day to you all, wherever you may be in the world.

It’s the big derby match tonight between Arsenal and Tottenham and I’m getting pretty excited. I’ll speak about the Spurs game in a moment, but before then there’s a couple of interesting bits of news involving former Arsenal players to run through.

First up is the announcement that Tony Adams has been appointed as manager of Portsmouth. The ex-Arsenal captain has been promoted from assistant manager to the top job as a result of Harry Redknapp’s surprise move to Tottenham. I think I speak for every Arsenal supporter on the planet when I wish him the best of luck – except of course when he plays us and I will be wishing him the worst of luck. Sorry Tony.

Another ex-Arsenal man who has been in the news is Freddie Ljungberg. The Swedish midfielder, who left Arsenal for West Ham in 2007 before having his contract terminated, has agreed to join MLS club Seattle Sounders in a big money move. I’ve made no secret of the fact that Ljungberg is my all-time favourite Arsenal player – I used to love watching the (once) spiky Swede play – and as with Tony Adams I wish him all the best in his time in the US.

Moving onto the Arsenal-Spurs game now and our boys will host their bottom-of-the-table rivals at Emirates Stadium tonight in what is sure to be a fiery and tense affair. Spurs might be sitting last in the Premiership but the sacking of Juande Ramos and a first win of the season over Bolton on the weekend should see their players on something of a high when they play our boys. With a new manager at the helm the players will be keen to impress and Tottenham will be giving it absolutely everything to cause an upset.

Team news going into the game is positive. Bacary Sagna and Kolo Toure have both been passed as fully fit by the manager while Denilson will also return to the squad after overcoming some inflammation in his back. Their returns mean it is only Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky who remain unavailable, a huge turnaround in fortune from a few weeks ago when we had significant absentees, particularly in defence.

It will be interesting to see who Wenger starts in this match, given the return of two first-choice defenders and his comments about rotation and player impact off the bench. If I was in the manager’s shoes I would probably go for a similar team to the one that played so well against West Ham, except with Emmanuel Adebayor in for Nicklas Bendtner and Sagna in for Emmanuel Eboue. Mikael Silvestre deserves to keep his place alongside William Gallas at Toure’s expense while the same can be said about Alex Song in the centre of the park.

Although this is the team that I would play I can see the manager bringing in Abou Diaby for Samir Nasri, who has been a little quiet in his last two games, and perhaps playing an Adebayor-Bendtner combination up front. Although it wouldn’t be my personal choice the good thing is that the manager has options available too him and if things aren’t working he has even more options on the bench.

Both derby games last season were hard-fought, tight affairs which Arsenal were a little fortunate to win. In the away game at White Hart Lane they missed a couple of sitters before Cesc Fabregas and Adebayor scored wonder goals while in the home Arsenal relied on a penalty save by Manuel Almunia to pave the way for Bendtner’s winner. They were both great games and it was a wonderful feeling to grab six points from the pockets of our most hated rivals.

Despite Tottenham’s lowly standing on the table this will not be an easy game. Redknapp will be drilling into their heads the need to play with heart and desire and I expect them to come out very strong in the opening 20 minutes. As a result, our boys will need to get into rhythm early to whether the storm and bring the crowd into the match. Just as an aside, if you happen to be in that crowd tonight make sure you make a lot of noise. The team is depending on you and they deserve your full support.

So, nothing much else needs to be said except that it’s a huge game and three points will keep us near the top of the table. It’s a home game so a win is a must and I’m confident in the team and the manager to get the result they are looking for.

Come on Arsenal!

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



  1. Nice post,We should watch out 4 der russian guy who very good in d air.But there goalkeeper is d worst in d league and there defence also.Arsenal 3-0(nasri,v.p,walcott).Come on boys make ur fans proud.

  2. Very keen for this match. Hoping that Silvestre stays on in defence but really, the attacking structure doesn’t really matter haha. We’ll score, we always score. Just need to keep a watch out for Roman, the rest will sort itself out, 3-1.

  3. Another great post SF. I really enjoy reading this blog. Keep up the good work! I would support a Abou Diaby – Samir Nasri swap.

  4. Champagne Supernova | Oasis

    How many games have you lost at the Lane
    How many managers have u changed
    Where were you when we were winning Leagues

    Tottenham are in Freee Fall
    Faster Than a cannonball
    Where were you when we were invincible

    Some day you will find me
    Cheering on the red side
    in a brand new super Highhhhburyyyy
    in a brand new super Highhhhburyyyy in the skkyyyyy

  5. ok….its an other derby to come….though it’s woth the loosers…i expect the team to win,and specialy agree on your idea about silvestre. but i wish le boss will give chance to vela so that he can add some pace on the passion and the creativity that we have got. and in my opinnion those losers are on starving to bounce back, thus don’t be sure till the final whistle…..i mean it, this is the biggest moment for redknapp to get trust from the unlucky supporters……
    c ya

  6. C’mon Gunners, Vela and Wilshere to play some part in the game, Wilshere hasn’t been used much and always performs well, when better than the North London Derby. Expecting a win, although a tight game!! Almunia to kepp his form and Djourou to play aswel!

  7. Generally agree with you once again Spanish- Silvestre needs to partner Gallas in central defence. I’d opt for Diaby instead of Nasri; he’s more robust and you’re right it’ll be tough for the first 20 mins (at least). We’ll need all our character tonight, especially if they score first. I’d have to disagree about us being fortunate to get all 6 points off them last year. Granted we were lucky to win at Emirates, where they outplayed us for long periods, but we were by far the better team at The Lane. They had the better of the first 20 mins (when they scored) but we outclassed, outplayed and outfought them from then on. Frankly 3-1 flattered the buggers.
    Let’s hope for more of the same tonight!

  8. Its gonna be a tough game. The only thing i worry about is maybe there is too much pressure. They know they cant afford to drop any more points, and they also know this game is a must win for the fans. So today we will see how well the lads handle a lot of pressure. I think this is a game Theo could really use his pace to torture their horrible defenders. We cant let Tottenham hang around either, with their new manager, the longer they are in the game the harder it will be to break them down. We cant allow them any confidence. I’m hoping we can really embarrass the spuds for the 5-1 thrashing of our young guns.

  9. Good god I just took a dagger to the heart… I cant believe what just happened… STUPID absolutely STUPID… Players just gave up before it was over… Wenger butter let them hear it…

  10. I cannot believe that ending too the match. It seems our boys just lost their heads a little bit. Some calm passing was all that was required to run it out but we went for the killer 5th goal. Aargh!

  11. @ Demetrio – I’ll admit Almunia didn’t have a good game and made a mistake and a half, but that doesn’t make him shit. Every keeper parries a ball now and then and most keepers would have been beaten by the audacity of Bentley’s first. A tough game from Manuel though, no doubt. And the rest of them.

  12. One of the most entertaining derbys between the two teams in many years. This game is perfect example of what its wrong with Arsenal. There is no killer instinct in this team at all. They get a lead and were scoring at will on tottenahm but instead of keeping it up they let them relax and get back in it. Wenger needs to be on their asses when they play like that but its his style of play.

    Watching Almunia today, im my opinion is whats wrong with out defence. I really am starting to doubt it its the back line as much as it is Almunia. Chelsea are far from perfect at the back too. But the difference between the two is this. Chelsea know that if they make a mistake they have one of the best keepers in the world to back them up so they are much more relaxed. Our defence just never looks that relaxed and in my opinion its because they know that if they make a mistake more times then not its a goal. We will not win the league until Wenger spends some cash on a world class goalkeeper.

    This team.. i dunno who long it will take this team to learn that you have to play 90mins!! Not until the first 4 goals, but the whole game. The attitude after the 4th goal was piss. They were passing backwards, getting too cute on the ball which lead to the 3rd tottenham goal. It is ridiculous and Wenger is the only one to blame because it is he that needs to teach them, because apparently they still haven’t learned, to play 90 mins!!

  13. Very bad. Feeling humialiated and gutted. Spurs had 4 chances in the game and they scored 4 times. They did nothing good except that. They were ready to take a hammering but I don’t know how the boys screwed it up. For me this result is worse than the 5-1 defeat last season. Simply good attacking and poor defending. Substitutions didn’t help at in the game.

    Only positives: RVP looks like he is back at his best. 3 assists and a goal. Of course he deserved more than a disappointing draw. Clichy was outstanding before that howler. Inexperience was the main reason the players could not hold to a healty lead.

    Almunia: I can’t believe he had such a bad game when being in a good form. He might not is to be blamed for the goals conceded but class goalkeepers could have stopped two goals we conceded today. He was so nervous after conceding the first goal. Movement and reaction ability is nowhere near good goalkeepers. He was proving he can be a good keeper but today really disappointed with him.

    Why the hell players were trying to score the fifth goal? Having a good game with 4 goals scored is good enough against any positions. Todays game proved that we don’t have enough experience to win the league.

    Eargerly waiting for Wenger’s comments and reaction. He has to find a way to resolve our defensive horrors and weal mentality among many players.

  14. @ Demetrio – The third Tottenham goal came from a slip by Clichy, simple as that. It wasn’t cuteness, just a mistake.

    The big problem was that our guys did not do the right things to kill the game off with a minute or two left. We went for a fifth and were absolutely punished. Shots were flying in from all over the place and I think you’re being too harsh on Almunia. As I said, he made mistakes and didn’t have the best game but some of the shots fired at him were quite unbelievable.

  15. What did he do before the slip?!?
    It was a simple pass all he had to make. You kick the ball to a guy wearin the same color jersey. Simple as that. That was happening all over the field and by the time the were “going for the 5th goal” it was already too late. After the 4th is when tehy shoulda really turned it on, but they didnt and they never do. they make too many back passes and stil stand on the ball as Clichy did insted of the one-2 touch passes that really opened up Tottenham

  16. @ Demetrio – Always value your opinions and I’d love to keep chatting but I’ve gotta go! Should be some interesting chat as the day progresses though.


  17. @ Demetrio:

    Good points made. Almunia is the main problem with our defense. He has good reflection ability but he cannot react quickly. At bthe begining of this season I confessed that with Almunia in goal we will win nothing ever. Good goalkeepers perform under pressure but Almunia cannot take any pressure. Champions league final proved that he cannot be the first choice at Arsenal but Wenger ignored that. At Arsenal we need keeper who can produce world-class saves. Most of the game Arsenal keepers has to stop only few shots. So we need quality.

    Spurs were too lucky today though. Inexperience and horrors also hepled them.

  18. wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf thats about it really ade is shit rvp looked like hes getting better and denilson back in the squad? And i still think bentlys a wanker.

  19. The problem is the mentality… We need a hard man on our team… A Gattuso type player or even a CB like Terry that will get in the oppositions face every once in a while… After the Clichy mess up I could see that the players were all just trying to kill the l=clock and get out of there… We gotta have someone who will step up in that situation and make sure nothing happens… In BBall thats the role of a great point guard… I am absolutely gutted right now…

    Also I hate defensive substitutions. Always have always will…

  20. @ramugunner – Yes and thats been my point to Spanish. Almunia is just not good enough. I really doubt our defenders are comfortable with him as him and Gallas have have many “discussions”. If our defenders do not have total belief in Almunia they will not be able to just relax and play. Almunia would be a great back up, im not sayin he is a horrible keeper. But if we are to really push for a trophy for the title or the CL we need a world calls keeper and he just doesnt fit that. And you make a point i didnt even think to make, that his reaction time is just not good enough.

    I can take a 4-4 draw if they played 90 mins the way they played when they scored the 3rd-4th goals. But when after they think the game is over they just piss around, thats is what i cannot stand. Another thing is that this is not the first time they’ve done this. I would think they would have learned.. ESP AFTER HULL that the game last 90 mins and if you do not have a killer instinct in this league you will lose.

  21. Good read from Gunnerblog:

    Just in and Thoroughly unimpressed. I am going to say a couple of things. The first, concerns our keeper. Someone on this blog the other week, laughably claimed that Manuel ‘Fawlty’ Almunia was as good as Buffon and possibly better than Casillas. I hope that person hides under a rock for the foreseeable future. Almunia was shambolic tonight.

    Another point: I said this before and will say it again. Isn’t it funny how these ‘wondergoals’ keep flying past Manuel Almunia week in, week out eh? First it was Geovanni. Then it was Leadbitter. Then now today, bottom-of-the-table Spuds are scoring wondergoals against us. Instead of people spewing the tired old shite about these so-called ‘wondergoals’ I wish some people would wake up: No. Team. Has. Ever. Won. The. League. Without. An. International. Keeper.

    Almunia’s positioning for the goal for starters is shocking. He had more than enough time to adjust his feet from that far out. Then, he goes for the ball with the wrong hand. Just like the James McFadden free-kick last season. Then, after just 3 minutes, Gareth Bale is bearing down on the near-post and he actually Moves Away from his near-post (what the fuck??). A simple cross is swung in and instead of catching, he is punching it out back into a dangerous area.

    After the Fenerbache game he was being lauded. I said that the time to judge Almunia is not in a training match, where Arsenal are strolling it 5-2. It is in the big matches. And so far, in every single big match Manuel Almunia has Ever played for Arsenal, he has made a major gaffe. Shall I name a few? Ronaldo’s 2 goals at Highbury in 2005. Ronaldo’s goal at the Emirates last season. Anfield in the Champions League last season at fault for two goals. Last season letting Berbatov’s near-post drive slip through his hands. I was watching this game with my mate and his wife, who knows nothing about football. Yet even she remarked ‘the Arsenal goalie looks nervous’. I was right behind the goal when that shot went it and, believe me, his positioning was abysmal. A top keeper is never ever beaten from that far out, full stop. His saving grace was that he happened to be facing a keeper even worse than he is, in Gomes.
    And then to top it all off, Almunia then gifts Darren Bent the most ridiculously soft of goals.

    Then my other problem with Wenger: the lack of discipline in this team. Tell me this: being 4-2 up, at home, against the team bottom of the league with 86 minute gone, would you expect Chelski or ManYoo to fuck that up? Really?

    Our defence is an absolute disaster and it was clear we were always going to be found out – just a matter of when, as opposed to if. Does everyone remember the mistake Gael Clichy made at Birmingham last season that began to unravel our season? Well what happened tonight then? Why is Gael Clichy still fucking about near his own area and attempting to beat a man that late on?

    When the 4-3 goal went in, here is the other question: where is our leadership on the pitch? How hard is it, you have a corner and you are 4-3 up, just keep the fucking ball! Why did Fabregas punt the ball in? And why did Fabregas attempt to thread a through-ball to Adebayor, who was off-side, when all he needed to do was keep the ball? Where was Denilson to put in a tackle on Modric when the shit hit the fan? Why has Arsene Wenger neglected our defence so badly that we have now fallen even further behind the other top teams? Why is there such arrogance and delusion amongst some of our fans? Most of you were saying ‘walkover’ and ‘easy’.

    I think it’s time people realized that we are nothing special at all. We are a top 5 team, that play magnificent football but that do not possess the consistency, defensive solidity, tactics or discipline to win the big prizes. Worst Arsenal I have ever seen – that’s 30 years plus of following this team.

    But then again, you have the centre of midfield. Spuds have players just as tiny as ours – yet, their players pressed us all over the pitch, Modric included. Even Jenas was snapping away. Denilson? Hands in pockets, leaving Huddlestone and Bentley all thye time in the world. It took him 20 minues to put in his first proper tackle. By that time of course, we were already a goal down. He is a very promising player Denilson but it is like playing with 3 men in midfield instead of 4 at times.

    That is the problem. Our players, fans and team think they are much better than they actually are. After that nonsense tonight, shame on absolutely every single one of them, and every deluded fan who think we’re so good that we did not need to but defenders this summer, or a holding midfielder. Disgraceful, shocking.

    And as for Wenger’s ridiculous ‘tactical’ substitutions? When will Wenger learn to make a subsitution? He takes off Samir Nasri, (who can keep possession), Theo Walcott (who provides an outlet) and brings on Abou Diaby, who made the first foul, that led to the Spud free-kick, that in turn led to their corner, and it was Song who was trotting back, who lost the first header (just like in Fenerbache) that leads to that equalizer.

    I have always defended our boss but I said after the summer that what he did with not signing a defender was near on suicidal. If he wants the fans to perform better at matches, then perhaps his team should start performing better. The defending is worse than a nursery team, it is disgraceful. And then he insults my intelligence by claiming that, in the whole of Europe, there were no better holding midfielders available that are better than Song….and that there were no defenders better than Silvestre.

    Leave off. Until Wenger realizes we are being left behind, until he signs a Flamini replacement, until he gets a dominant centre-back, his stubborness and short-sightedness is going to cost Arsenal. Wenger needs to re-evaluate just what he thinks he can achieve with this side. I personally, cannot see it.

    Before I go, just to make sure I am not over-stating the situation or going overboard: Arsenal have failed to beat the side bottom of the league. Before facing us tonight, the Spuds had been incapable of hitting a barn door. So the question is: when was the last time the Spuds went to one of Old Trafford, the Fridge, Anfield or even Goodison and Villa Park, and scored FOUR goals away from home? Against top 8 opponents?

    I will repeat: it is a complete Disgrace. Arsene Wenger needs to sit down and explain to the fans just what he was thinking when he vested his faith in Song, Diaby and Denilson to cover for defence and midfield this summer. He also needs to explain if fans pay the highest ticket prices in world football to witness – yes great matches – but League 2 standard defending.

    Winning is important. Especially when you have not won anything for approaching 4 years. Wenger never gave himself the best chance of being successful with the resources he had and I am truly hacked off about this.

    I also think it’s time people stopped wanking over mediocre players because they perform admirably in the one-off game. Song was apparently superb post-Upton Park. Yet he still managed to harm the team in the less than 10 minutes he was on. Ditto Diaby.

    I have said it a million times but it bears repeating: there is No discipline at Arsenal FC. None whatsoever. If anyone thinks that Mourinho or Ferguson would ever have tolerated standards like that – permitting comfortable leads to slip, at home, to the team bottom of the league then you are sorely mistaken.

    So to summarize: we were arrogant at home to Hull and were punished. We were arrogant at Sunderland and the over-cautious and almost lost. We were arrogant and our fans were giving it ‘Oles’ after 85 minutes, thinking it was won. Perhaps if Arsenal were as good as Barca or United, then they could simply keep the ball for 3 minutes without conceding idiotic possession.

    But you can’t do that with Diaby, Denilson, Song and Eboue. You cannot defend with Silvestre in central defence.

    Sickening. After losing to those lot 5-1 last time round one would have thought the players would have showed enough pride in themselves to teach them a lesson. Instead Fabregas was informing us that the Arsenal Ladies would possibly get a point off the Spuds.

    Well by my reckoning, that makes the Arsenal ladies team about as competent as ours.

  22. Arsenal have conceded the most wondergoals in this season. Culprits: Our keeper and CDM.

  23. Wenger’s comments: He said he is angry. With himself?
    He also said players will learn from tonight. Wtf? We have had games like today’s many times but the players never learned. Why?

    Arsenal threw it all away at the Emirates this evening. They were minutes away from a good victory and three points but their staunch refusal to waste time in the corner flag, together with their seemingly arrogant play, got the better of them and this allowed Tottenham Hotspur to attack and peg the Gunners back.

    An epic Premier League north London derby ended 4-4, but Arsene Wenger was not a happy man.

    “Well I am angry,” he told Sky Sports.

    “I believe we produced an outstanding game and got the minimum result. We wanted to win and we were a level above Tottenham but we didn’t get the three points,” he said.

    On how they allowed Spurs back into the game, with only a few minutes left of added time, Wenger continued: “We didn’t keep the ball. We were there for the taking. We should have had a negative passing game but instead we exposed ourselves by trying to go five or six up.”

    “It was naivety,” Wenger declared. “The team has outstanding potential. They learn from moments like that tonight.

    “It is damaging but it was that kind of derby and in football it sometimes happens. Tottenham were very well rewarded for their shots on targets and their goals,” he concluded.

  24. I’m a lifelong Arsenal supporter. Right. No excuses. We have plenty of defenders, midfield players and forwards. Wenger does not need to buy any new players because we lack players in cetrtain positions. Why did we throw it away against Spurs tonight? Because we’re simply not good enough to win any silverware this season. Any team that has a 2 goal lead, TWICE, and still ends up drawing the fixture, has got some deep problems. I am FURIOUS. When Clichy slipped and Spurs scored to make it 4-3, my mind went back to the Birmingham match last season. Clichy was the one who carelessly gave away THAT penalty and we all know how Arsenal’s season turned out after that fixture. I feel sickened by our poor defending, lack of cehesiveness and concentration. I have been a staunch supporter of Almunia up until now. Tonight, I think he’s been absolutely RUBBISH and he wasn’t the only one.

  25. Wenger is just stupid. Period. He is STUPID. Denilson for example should not have been playing. Song has had a good run of games why was he on the bench. They coulda use his size in midfield and he has shown some brilliant tacking when he was starting. Denilson just does not cut it yet. Once again he takes off RVP when it is clearly obvious that its ADE that is a little tired. Another why the hell wont he put in VELA!!?? Tottenham are a Micky mouse club. They are a league championship level club. Vela would be in wonderlanf playing this shit club as he does when he plays in the Carling cup. Why with 20 mins left and the lad starting to just get a little comfortable does he not get off his ass and push the lads to keep going. Its ridiculous sometimes. And i agree with ramugunner that all he ever says is they will learn from it. Well Wenger apparently they arent learning because this is the second time when the lads just got comfortable and then ended up throwing away the game.

  26. its funny cause they havent learnt from last season either…
    u know what else is funny…all u arsenal guys were saying u were gonna smash spurs…..arrogance of wenger runs through to the fans.

    wont be winning anything when you are letting in 4 goals in one game…

  27. where could we look for a capable keeper? Ochoa from Mexico? He is young and talented… Kameni is solid but not exactly what we are looking for… What about Frey from Fiorentina?

  28. @ MoMoney – Frey is BRILLANT. I would love for him to come to Arsenal.

    @ Ronaldo7 – Actually….. The game against that micky mouse club called Tottenham was so easy out lads took it too easy at the end. If there is anything to be learned its they need to play 90 mins and put a team like tottenham under pressure because we could have scored all night. By the way.. were is Man U in the table?? Man City will smash you guys like they did last season. And Liverpool will do the double over you trash ass team too.

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