Tottenham Preview: Madness Or Genius The Decisive Factor?

Yep, that’s the calm focus Arsene was demanding…

It is the obvious question ahead of the north London derby. Who is going to tame the man of the moment, the outstanding British player in this country right now? Who can stop him from winning this match single-handedly through his rare ability with the ball at his feet?

But enough about Jack Wilshere. I will get round to him in a short while.

– Alan Smith

Or to paraphrase Carly Simon, “You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you“, which if the media are to be believed – and we’ll come back to that in a minute – is what we are all thinking. For Gareth Bale, read Robin van Persie; the boot is on the other foot, reliance upon one player to turn matches around in the darkest moments. Arsenal are aware of his form and will no doubt have instructions to minimise the opportunities of shooting from range. They also have instructions to keep a clean sheet every game but they don’t do so well in listening to those either.

In truth, as much as this game might turn on a moment of genius, it is more likely to be resolved by a moment of madness.

The defeat by Bayern contained a rarity for Arsenal these days, a goal which was well executed. Most conceded by Arsenal are directly attributable to a mistake by someone; rarely the same player which makes resolving the issue harder for the manager and staff yet also easier. The focus is on collective concentration. Yesterday I highlighted the differences between the outlook of Villas-Boas and Wenger in terms of the outcome, the former believing passion and emotion will win, the latter in calm focus. It underlines the difference in approach; the home side need to get the crowd behind them, the visitors to take the sting and inexorably stifle the hope from them.

That sets the game perfectly for a direct approach from Arsenal on the break and is why I cannot see both Podolski and Giroud starting. However, that means Cazorla on the left and this has been noted as neutering his impact. The German is hardworking on the defensive side but dropping the Spaniard for this fixture is unthinkable. Ramsey offers more in the midfield battle as Arsenal seek to marginalise Dembele and Holtby, restricting their attacking instinct.

The best way for this is an early goal, such as against Villa. The interchanges between midfield and attack, driven by Wilshere and Cazorla, offer pause for thought whenever possession comes to those in red. The England international garners praise but not the gushing X-Factor sycophancy, a more measured respect. There was a spell recently when it seemed to be veering that way – when Brazil visited Wembley – but the maturity of his performance seemed to bring more appreciation of his abilities than the necessity to reduce him to a pop culture chattel, hawked around whichever bazaar the media see fit. I am sure that bandwagon will roll on at some point though.

Arsenal will no doubt accommodate Cazorla on the wing but who to occupy the central striking role? Both Giroud and Podolski have similar attributes, the Frenchman better in the air, the German better at general play but Arsenal need a traditional target man in some respects this afternoon, someone who can hold up the ball for others to join the attack giving Giroud the edge.

The line-up I expect to be fielded is:

Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal; Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Giroud, Cazorla

Results yesterday mean this is a must-not-lose game for Arsenal and Spurs. Victory for either will cast severe doubt over Champions League pretensions for next season. Defeat will not spell the end of them either. Both have tricky and difficult fixtures remaining, both will drop points between now and the final whistle of this campaign. Remember the claims made by Gary Cahill after defeat at Stamford Bridge, nine points being too much to peg back? Four Premier League games later, that belief looks hollow.

Elsewhere, spurious reports of a bid emanating from the Middle East are undone by “It is unlikely Usmanov will want to sell his shareholding, given his “dream” of taking control of Arsenal himself, but the Middle East consortium believes it will be able to work with the billionaire“. Of course, this consortium of unnamed individuals wants to take over the club but will no doubt be rebuffed without leaving a trace of their identity or proof of the money. Doubtless a counter-offer from Red & White, presented to the world as continuation of ownership, preserving the club for the fans except with more investment from self-sustaining model – so long as there is enough left over afterwards for the dividend – will emerge and claim to have the backing of fans, as much of a fairytale as the reports of the bid itself, along with the manifesto culled from the Twitter feed from protest groups.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

532 thoughts on “Tottenham Preview: Madness Or Genius The Decisive Factor?

  1. Does Anicoll recognise jokes? Or is that chip on the shoulder blinding him/her to what is some smouldering humour.

  2. Well if you don’t think you could do better Limes ……………………?

    Do you see the clever way I did that ?

  3. I see, now we can make silly stereotypical remarks about Arabs. Better and better–that’s even more clever than whatever you were getting at in @10:07.

  4. 2 points that the moonshine has made me post:

    1. Podolski is out best striker and NEEDS to be played way more than Giroud as he is also our most clinical finisher. For him not to start today in a match that we needed goals is pure rubbish. Theo and Podolski are our best chances of scoring period!

    2. I not only want Kroenke gone but I also want Fein back.

  5. Coo no lads

    Far too clever to me

    So just for a think as shit kinda chap like me

    Explain why Zinc and Limes recent comments are not just typical whingeing from miserable semi fans ?

  6. Semi fans.

    OK then Anicoll – let’s be kids. I’m a semi fan – of Arsenal FC – whereas you’re a fan of Arsene FC and care less about Arsenal than me. You don’t love Arsenal because you don’t care about the club being damaged, you just care about Arsene Wenger, that’s it for you. The rest of us loved Arsenal before Wenger came and we’ll love Arsenal after he leaves. Not you though, because Arsene is more important to you than Arsenal.

    Course that’s quite a large serving of bollocks, just like your child-minded ‘semi fan’ jibe. Feel free to drop your insecurities surrounding the issue of some of us holding different opinions on the club to you and by all means take apart any arguments we offer that are incorrect with your own opinions.

  7. Gotta hold my hand up there, Coll. you got me. You’re really the clever, enigmatic one. I’m a miserable semi fan. But admitting it has really cheered me up, it is so therapeutic to finally be able to confess that. so much so that now I can be a somewhat happier semi-fan. Thanks!

  8. I can only feel a small but never the less significant swell then chaps

    Two sad arsed whingers from whatever dubious claim you have to support our club from wherever you are on the planet

    That you do not feel you could choose a better manager than Stan or Ivan

    Tell you what though lads if you have anything really clever original or insightful do pop it up 😉

    Obviously I’m only joking with the last quip

  9. Of course the top four is still doable.

    Chelsea and the Tots are still playing each other and also the Pool, Everton, the Mancs.

    A solid team on a good run would still fancy the chances in our position. 9 wins out of 10 would do the job.

    But we are not solid and not on a good run.

    Who believes that we’ll beat Swansea, West Brom, Fulham and Newcastle away?

    Do the players believe?

    Does the manager believe?

  10. Goodnight fellow Gooners, we will wake up tomorrow still loving our club but feeling a wee bit sadder.

  11. We didn’t outplay them at all.
    Having possession and doing nothing with it, isn’t outplaying somebody
    Allowing the opposition to glide through our defence(?) twice in 5 minutes isn’t out playing somebody
    We were outplayed and outsmarted.
    I suspect every team in the premier league knows that if they give us enough rope we will hang ourselves.

  12. Agree with that Phil, far too much emphasis on ball possession with us. yes we had more of the ball than them but we are v ineffectual. that does not make us a better team.

    I watched the game with Townsend, Curbishley and Adams. Adams was saying how we play a high line which is not bad, however there is a time when the back four is high and being attacked (both goals) when they need to retreat as a line and drop deep. They obviously do not practice enough or communicate as a unit. Noone believes that Bould could not sort this reoccuring mess out if given the chance. Craziness.

  13. Van Persie is the only player we have had in a long time who has the necessary skill to take a ball, beat his man and the composure to bang it in. Nobody else has come close including our current bunch. For the half a season that he always played for us we looked good and for the half he didn’t we suffered.

    That was the difference yesterday, despite being better than Tottenham in all other areas including brains and tactics. If there is a reason to bust the bank it would be the striker as without the man to put it in the net, with the amount of goals scored these days, you are sunk.

  14. The difference vP has made to ManUre is the title?

    Where would Barca be without Messi?

    We need to value this position more and then the Tippy Tappy football that Tony (Adams) teases us about has a point.

  15. I’m not saying Robbie Savage is a fantastic football analyst or anything, but I read his column on BBC this morning and thought he made some good points. He does have a bit of a love-in over Bale, but he’s Welsh so I guess I can understand that:

    In particular:

    “Tottenham were vulnerable too. I was looking at Theo Walcott’s body language in the first half and there were a number of occasions where he was just waiting for the same sort of ball that Bale and Lennon got on the end of to be played in for him.

    But Arsenal never found that pass, and instead it was Gylfi Sigurdsson who played the killer ball to Bale for the opening goal.”

    That’s because we are not looking for that chipped ball over the top at all. With Tottenham playing a similar high line to us they were very open to a ball behind them for Walcott to run on to, but we never looked for him. We carried the ball to the edge of their defence and tried to work our way through them. One of the few times we tried it was actually on the left when we scored and even then we were a bit fortunate. Ramsey decided not to cross the ball early, instead going back on himself and ended up very isolated (I was screaming at the screen for someone to help him). The free kick was a gift from nowhere because Ramsey looked like he was going nowhere.

    “When you defend with such a high defensive line like Arsenal did, then you have to stop the ball at source. If you are not doing that by putting pressure on the ball when the opposition are in possession, then you have to drop off and defend nearer to the edge of your own area – you don’t leave space behind for people to run into.”

    Seems fairly obvious to me, but we did it time after time.

  16. Sending players like that out in an Arsenal shirt. Manager will not allow anybody else to have an input into what goes on. Look at Steve Bould’s reactions after the goals? Do it go on….Then carry on fooling yourself.


  17. It’s interesting to observe the managers on the touch line.

    Very often during the game a manager will communicate with the players trying to make tactical changes.

    AVB was doing it yesterday.

    So do the Red Nose, Rafa or Manchini.

    Arsene, on the other hand, all the time seemed to rant at Steve Bold.

    I did not see him trying to get his message across to the team.

    Am I missing something?

  18. Wengers telling porkies again and deflecting as usual.
    They were the better team and deserved the win although it turns my stomach to say it.
    He says they had few chances and we owned the ball…well does that mean if theyd created 5 chances theyd have scored 5?
    Our goal was a deflection it wasnt going in until bale intervened, other than that I dont remember us troubling Lloris.
    I didnt see one Arsenal player perspiring or even with a dirty jersey. They finished the game pristine and some not even out of breath.
    We got what we deserved. Diddly.
    Will Stan and Wenger get what they deserve?

  19. @shambogunner

    “4th place will be very hard” “i cannot understand how we can loose agame like that”.

    There are no porkies over those statements. Tose are facts.

    Or do you want him to say that everything is ok?

  20. Poodle.
    He also said we were the better team, i didnt specify which he was lying about but will not be so vague in future. Obviously he doesnt lie about everything so you can find truths if you are looking for them. But he is constantly talking shit and expects us to swallow it because he does not respect the fans.
    Your obviously ok with alot of it and would rather turn a blind eye to it. Its fans like your good self that would see the club continue on its downturn waiting for some miraculous second coming.
    We have problems right now that have been coming for years and lots of us seen it coming and lots of us put our trust im Wenger.
    Well here we are.

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