Tottenham Preview: Springboard or Spiral?

It was the pivotal moment of last season, Bacary Sagna’s header hit the back of the net with Arsenal two goals and at that moment, thirteen points behind today’s visitors, Tottenham Hotspur. Four further goals and the combination of a relentless pursuit by Arsenal along with Harry Redknapp’s doomed bid to become England manager, buried their confidence in the coffin marked “Here Lies Another Attempt By Tottenham To Finish Above Arsenal“.

Neither side comes into the 255th meeting between the two sides in form but the repeated message is that form goes out of the window in these games. It doesn’t but never deride a football cliché. Which Arsenal will turn up? Who knows and frankly so long as it is a winning one, I don’t care. There is an element of bragging rights involved but more crucially, a season which started off in a promising manner has faltered and is danger of spiralling downwards. By equal measure, a win today might reinforce the belief in the squad, proving that the spirit which the manager asserted yesterday was so ‘tremendous’.

The manager bemoans international football and the usual gripes have emerged since the final whistles blew on Wednesday evening. Cazorla is tired, Giroud has returned with hamstring twang whilst Arteta is so hip it hurts. Well, the last obviously never went anywhere last week nor did the other players subjected to fitness tests yesterday. So the internationals weren’t actually that bad. With Villas-Boas reporting a similar level of injuries, this has all the hallmarks of an Under-21 fixture.

Arsène spoke of recent problems,

[Our attacking fluidity] has been there because in some games we had that very well at the start of the season. We lost it a little bit at Norwich, against Schalke at home where we were a bit flat and against Manchester United. Of course, then you wonder is it down to our potential. Is that down to the fact that we are just flat at the moment, physically? That’s what we want to show now; that maybe we have come through a difficult patch, physically.

Recent years have shown more than ever not to take his comments at face value since it would drive you to distraction to think that professional athletes are tired a quarter of the way through the season. I guess it’s easier that saying the complacency displayed at Carrow Road got its due reward and since then, well, we’ve been a bit rubbish and I don’t know why because they are training well.

He knows exactly what is wrong with them, why they are under-performing. Resolving those issues is a tougher job, something which the manager has experience of doing; delivery of those solutions swiftly can return the ship to the course it was steering prior to the trip to Norwich. Will it happen today? Proving that it will is difficult, the current run is not offering evidence of a quick return to winning ways. I guess that establishing two-goal leads offers the view that the attack is sorting itself out, the dropping of those leads supports the opposite; the Arsenal quandary. Winning today will not only keep the supporters happy but offer a genuine hope for the remainder of the season. There are crucial games ahead with tricky away games at Villa and Everton following the coming pair of home matches. Swift wins would make all the difference.

All of which adds to the intensity of the fixture. The changing nature of football, its globalisation, has altered bragging rights. Years ago, we could live for weeks or months on the back of a derby win. Years of differing fortunes have diminished that to an extent with more emphasis on results against title rivals. With such heights not being afforded Arsenal in recent years, the intensity of the match is returning; perhaps because Tottenham are considered a genuine rival for the top four. The fates and self-inflicted wounds denied them a place at Europe’s top table last season, surely something they will want to put right.

It’s a strange one for me this year, I don’t have any Spurs fans at work to banter with – a first for a number of years – but there has been no shortage of evidence of the meaning of the match for players; Lee Dixon told of how Adams & Co told the outsider what was expected through to Jack Wilshere’s DNA apparently having the Arsenal gene firmly embedded. Amy Lawrence captured the spirit of the occasion with the phrase, “seething and prolonged emnity“. Circumstances never undermine the local rivalry, even with the diminished status of the neighbours from Middlesex.

The team I expect Arsène to field is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere; Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

This is fifth time the two sides have met on 17th November, a win apiece and two draws in the previous four. Adding to Arsenal’s tally of 101 in this fixture would set the weekend up rather nicely.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

288 thoughts on “Tottenham Preview: Springboard or Spiral?

  1. A bit drunk at The Pig but very happy. Place was packed, great turnout. Now off for some breakfast and then some more beers and shoot some pool. ARSENALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  2. the blues from russia get beat while we beat the lillywhites from middlesex good day so far…..come on norwich

  3. Theo’s numbers over the past three seasons. He has made yet another massive improvement this year and it looks like he will easily best his numbers after just half a season.

  4. Springboard I am getting too old and our kamikaze defensive style is doing me no good. I long for the efficient arsenal, the days you just knew the win was almost a formality. I doubt if we are going to see such soon, for starters they don’t make em like they used too. The pires,Henry’s,bergkamps, old warriors like lauren n the fabled back line , so I guess it’s living on the edge till the end of the season

  5. The only problem I have with Theo is his little statements where he’s put pressure on the manager to play him in a different position – I don’t mind him saying it privately, but saying it publicly is a sort of manipulation, intentional or not. Outside that he’s been really professional and his stats this season can’t be argued with, perhaps he doesn’t fire all the time but on his day he’s unplayable and a key asset.

    Giroud keeps proving the doubters wrong, another great performance today and his work rate is incredible for the type of player he is – he’ll sacrifice his game for the good of the team, I love it.

    I thought Santi and Jack showed the signs of what in incredible midfield duo we could have for the next 5+ years, I can’t wait for them to build a strong relationship and fire on all cylinders – I think Giroud is really starting to understand his team mates more too, he’s anticipating play really well now.

    Don’t think we dominated anywhere near enough but I still think we would have won if they had kept 11 men on the pitch. Spurs did well and AVB made some great changes for the second half but the better team won.

  6. Runebreaker
    They do make them like they used to ,but they would cost 100 million if they came on the ,market and they want 400k pw

  7. it ain’t over till the fat lady sings..
    its been a good day so far.
    here’s to the Canaries making it aone to remember by winning this against the red mancs…
    0-0 @ end of 1st half

  8. Absolutely brilliant play today…and yes, i will chew all my posts against Giroud. But Walcott and Cazorla today were magnificent. happy to see Szczesny back in action, i don’t think the 2 goals were in any way his fault.

    Great game, great team.

    Lots of beer and happiness from Chile!

  9. aaargh. 1 on 1 with the keeper and the Norwich player goes closer to the corner flag than the goal. That should’ve been 2-0. Come on you yellow and green exotic birds!

  10. Heh. (And I can finally see comments here – double win.)

    Glad Olly is hitting his stride, we need him to crush his old mates on Wednesday. Also, Jack. Jack. Jack.

    We’ve got some interesting games coming up – Everton, Swansea, WBA – but goals being shared around is confidence-making in itself.


  11. People complaind when we lost 1-0 to Norwich, but they have to realise that it’s not the easiest place to go to. Even the second team of many doomers have failed to get anything but 0 points and they would’ve deserved to lose by a bigger margin.

  12. So the Manure also lose 1-0 at Carrow Road. Norwich this seasons giant killers?

    Puts the league into perspective, doesn’t it?

    What’s the league table like these days?

    I hear we have a shit striker and won’t make it, yet Giroud has more goals and assists than either Tevez or Aguerro this season. Shit he is indeed.

  13. No ones too big to fall this season…
    back to the question of the day YW,
    Tottenham Preview: Springboard or Spiral?

    definitely a SPRINGBOARD.

    Its all still there to play for…
    Purple Double hustle coming to a stadium near you…
    our team needs our support from now more than ever you believe?

  14. So ,the media declare Chelsea as champions,and Oops, Then United are champions and oops, I hope the anoint City next.

  15. Lots of cheer and a bottle of Chilean Cabernet up here Chile

    One of those nights I want to purr with satisfaction

  16. anicoll5
    November 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    One of those nights I want to purr with satisfaction

    lol you might have to pay for that sort of thing mate

  17. shit….hot Darius

    *nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Sayno more*


    An outstanding day. Lets see what the mighty Arsenal serve us up from here on out.

    Indeed the fierce competitiveness of the league and it’s glorious unpredictability have been reaffirmed emphatically today.

    I’m convinced a sustained confidence influx is all that is needed for this squad…no more for now. Lets hope that today has gone some way to providing that.

    We have lost to Norwich away, the Champions of Europe and Manchester united at Old Trafford in the league so far this term.

    Beautiful header by Mertesacker today. Thrilled for him to get his first Arsenal goal. He has been excellent so far this season. Great passion in the celebration. Always a rejuvinating sight for any gooner.

  18. Took a sebatical PG lol, very busy with work the last 3/4 weeks and had to opt out of the goonivere. Not a bad time to reconnect.

  19. It wasn’t so long ago – after the last international break in fact, when so called Arsenal fans, spewing fire and brimstone asked “what kind of title challenging team would lose to Norwich?”

    What’s the league table like lately?

  20. So the Norwich curse strikes again now let’s watch manure go through a wobbly 5 game run. Hopefully just like last season the win today will spurs us on.
    Giroud looks the real deal, he toys with defenders and wins almost every ariel challenge. He’s everything the media desperately want carol to be. Today he was just a beast!
    The other big man I like is mandzucic, I was amazed no one in the PL went for him. He is developing into a 40 mil 400k a week striker!

  21. “United opened the second half as they had the first, with Van Persie again losing his footing when played into a promising position inside the Norwich box.”

    From MSN Sport.

    Laugh, I did.


  22. Nothing like a good gloat. Theo needs to sort this contract thing out and press on. Today was just another reason why we (AFC) need to do our part to ensure his loyalty.

    All round good performance but the nervousness and concentration at the back needs addressing. It seems more psychological that any thing else as we have phenomenal defenders, IMO.

    Still, I’ll sleep well tonight!

  23. Dgob theo is more than likely going, the situation it appears has offers on the table and one suspects he has by the balls! He is doing his course no harm with the way he is playing too. Whenever wenger is asked you just get the feeling that he knows it’s over, there is weary resignation in his summation of Theo’s situation. If he were to sign it would have been sorted out by now, well I hope we keep him to the end of the season. Cashing for 8 million is nowhere near his contribution if his goals and assists get us 4th or above. Will be sad to see him go but we are used to this by now.

  24. All you can say really is: Norwich is really kicking ass this year. To have both Arsenal and Uniteds scalps under your belt before xmas???

    Seriousley if those player do nothing els this year atlest they have sunk two of britains biggest teams.
    You can only take your hat of…

    Also this was a much needed victory for the spirit. It atlest gave me the belife back. And belife and faith is after all the strongest human forces. if you belive enough, you can do the impossible

    Just now, this night, today i think we can win anything! atlest one cup is coming to Emirates this season. Thats my beliefe anyway….

    (and how do you spell beliefe? Im sure all my attempts to write it are wrong…)

  25. 9 point gap to the top. I remember us closing a 12 point gap in about 5 weeks, was it 2009? This is why talk of 4th place annoys me.

  26. would we have won the match, let alone 5 2 against spurs hadn’t adebayor gotten himself sent off..that match was clearly going against us till then, apart from the fact that we won againt spurs, there is nothing positive to take from that game..come next week (or the week after) and we will be dropping points against nobody’s.

  27. Apologies for not scrolling back enough, but I haven’t heard a thing about Vermaelen’s performance. Does that mean he did well this time?

  28. Sahil. That’s great news then. Hopefully playing his way out of a bad patch – maybe with a bit of coaching. From what I’ve seen of Bale’s goal though, defence remained a little bit scrappy in 2nd half. Still some things to tighten in that department.

  29. A few points that seemed to have been missed:

    Giroux’s contribution in defense at corners and other set pieces is being overlooked.

    When Santos came on he was superb. The through ball for Walcott was exquisite.

  30. Arshavin23

    You must have a very feeble mind. You can NEVER judge the outcome of a game by the performance of a team after just 20 minutes. Arsenal were poor during that period. However, are you implying that Spurs were really so much better than us with 11 on the pitch and would have remained so? Is Adebayor that good that he would have prevented a 5-2 drubbing?

    It is so easy to be negative.

    You sully the name of a great player. Change your name to something like ‘Feeble no1’ or ‘No balls no.1’ and f**k off to Le Grove….

  31. great win.. i agree with georgyaki… yes they were better the us when we both had 11 but hard to say it would have stayed like that all game.

  32. Is it just me or is there somebody else who feels that Cazorla seems to be more effective than Fabregas was?

    Who knows, but I like what I see.

  33. I agree with Bob,and Cesc was on the bench last night for Barca.
    We should give them 20 mill and have the lad back.

    Arshavin23,change your name you twat.Having him linked to a prick like you turns my stomach.Its bad enough to be so depressingly negative,but in his name?

  34. RK

    I thought the defence generally had a good game. When they scored their first there were those around me moaning that the BFG hadn’t tracked Defoe’s run, but having seen the replay a few times it looked like they had tried to play him offside and Sagna wasn’t up with events and played him on – happens sometimes. For their second goal I think we just switched off a bit and allowed them to cut straight through our midfield unopposed. We were 4-1 up at the time so maybe a little disappointing, but understandable.


    You are not wrong, Giroud’s work at set pieces is very impressive and his general work with knock downs and holding the ball up is fantastic. I’m glad we are playing more to his abilities, I don’t think I have seen us fire so many crosses into the box for a long time. Still need to give the wingers a few more options sometimes, a run to the near post as well as somebody in the centre. With the number of players we can have lined up just outside the box with a good shot as well, the goals will really fly in.

    We need to keep the pressure on at Villa next week, as a quick look at the fixture list suggests the teams around us should all be expecting three points.

    A win against Montpellier in the CL should see us over the line there as well.

  35. I have seen that video of Santi trying to drive his (posh) car out of the car park, surrounded by fans singing ‘Ohhh Santi Cazorla’. Very nice, but can’t we think of something more personalized? He was brilliant last night (yeah sorry it was past midnight).

  36. I’m watching the game again this morning. Arsenal were becoming dominant for around five minutes before Adebayor was sent off. They were really looking promising….I doubt that he was the difference….

  37. its a concern dukey..

    girouds a great striker..a proper striker..we all knew this from the beginning and we all new he needed service and theos giving him it..

  38. Zaragoza probably not a great team, given the state of La Liga, but Barca website today hailing Puyol, Messi and Song as their ‘standout’ players of the match.

  39. And for any other doubters or feeble minded negative t**ts, we went 2-0 down last time and came back to win 5-2.

    And, Wilshere was way off the pace….when he starts firing on all cylinders he WILL offer a similar drive as Diaby…

    And when Gibbs is back expect more of the quality we saw against Liverpool, ManShitty….

    And to those to whom this applies….f**k off with your negativity….

  40. the red card was the difference..
    it was the momentum swinger, cazorla didnt touch the ball until they went down to 10 men..

    have to make it count though..

    we did..

    we had shitty pants in the second half though..switched off and gave them too much space..if bale passes to defoe instead of shooting it could have been so much different but fortunately that didnt happen and we wrapped it up..

  41. Boy am I f**king angry this morning after reading that shit from that feeble f**kwit shaming the name of Arshavin…..

  42. JJ

    You still depressed I see. You CANNOT interpret limited passages of play they way you do. I’m sure that if we were not 4-1 ahead we would have been far more careful and shut Bale down sooner. Most teams are guilty of complacency when that far ahead….I still hope they can become more ruthless and cut that out….but spare me the negative shit…

  43. People harping on about the red card changing the game, of course it did but it is part of the game. They were one nil up and had a great chance to go two up, but last season they were two up and still lost by the same margin.
    Hopefully this win will give us an upturn and we go on a run. In the last few games we have lacked balance and there is frailty that is evident where we inevitably concede avoidable goals or lack maturity to control games when we are in front.
    I think the midfield would be greatly enhanced with a robust pacy defensive midfielder. Arteta has done a great job but with his skill he would be better deployed higher up the pitch. I suspect we’re theo to leave we could see carzola more on the wings with diaby if he ever gets fit in the middle with jack and arteta.
    January will be interesting, top of my list would fellaini but he would be way out of our price range.

  44. It’s funny how you can watch something one time and get a totally wrong understanding, JJ. Spurs were not even close to being as dominant as we think. After the Ade goal there was one Lennon shot on goal, that’s it. They got a spurt after 9 minutes and at about 15 minutes we were starting to dominate the match. One way traffic actually. Ade was sent off around 17 minutes.

    Yes the red gave us an advantage but we were on the front foot at that point.

    In other words it is bulls that we were dominated for the first 20 minutes, total bulls actually.

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