North London Derby: In The Spirit Of Things

A funny thing happened on the way to the North London Derby. Tottenham with 23 goals in the Premier League became a team which has more goals in it than Arsenal, whose paltry 28 goals pales by comparison. As you can guess, I’m not much of a fan of stats which are really just an opinion in disguise.

That’s not to say we don’t have to be wary of Tottenham’s front-line especially with Mustafi’s tendency to dive into tackles in and around the penalty area. Crazy moments from a crazy guy!

This morning The Times announced that Tottenham’s season ticket holders will go into a ballot for a ‘VIP tour’ of the toilet bowl. The ‘lucky’ winners are then to be charged £1 to “facilitate testing of the ticketing systems”. Which is essentially Daniel Levy looking to make money every which way he can.

There is, according to the report, confusion over which game will open the new stadium. The two choices are baffling: Manchester United and Arsenal. Name the two clubs whose fans are likeliest to wreck the new stadium…

The only thing funnier in this morning’s papers was news that Chelsea have 39 players on loan. FIFA’s new regulations come into force in 2020-21, meaning no club can loan above eight players each season. Which means Chelsea’s business model is shot to pieces. £150 net profit on youth player sales is a huge hole to fill. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer club.

Anyway, back to tomorrow. The match is being billed as the first real test we’ve faced in the last 18 matches. Which is news to Liverpool whose recent visit to the Emirates was the big test in the unbeaten run.

Special Effects

This is the NLD so there’s an extra edge. Players will tell you they know it’s a big game but I wonder how much of that is platitudes, telling the fans what they want to hear? Do they really know it’s a match which will wreck some people’s weekends? That Monday, instead of being a day of universal joy, will become filled with dread?

Do they heck as like. You can’t possibly grasp it unless you’ve lived it. You think you can but you can’t. Fifty years ago or more, they did. Players lived in the community, worked in it, owned businesses in it. There was a genuine interaction on a daily basis. Their neighbours would be the Glums; players saw first-hand the misery they caused.

The game changed with money becoming more prevalent. It’s not the players’ fault they are no longer in touch with the constituents; that’s the nature of the beast. That’s just the way that it is.

So, how will tomorrow affect you?

Much is being made of the friendship between Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs boss said they are very good friends, always talking about football.

So, no pushing, shoving, or skulking away without shaking hands in some “two-bob” manner? Which is a pity. Shoving or hysteria on the touchline adds a spark to the game. It’s one of those things beyond goals or glaring errors you remember.

Fouls, too. I recall Charlie Nicholas being dumped over an advertising hoarding in an NLD thirty-odd years ago as readily as him leaving Paul Miller face down on the turf in front of the North Bank as the ball trickled behind him. Or Graham Roberts cannoning a penalty against the top of the bar in front of the jeering Arsenal fans in 1985.

It’s Not Big And It’s Not Clever

The sanitisation of football, the cleansing of the product, dims these moments. That’s not right, to be honest; they should be celebrated, not just in a derby. A little needle makes for a less antiseptic environment. There’s a line though. If it ends in an ‘ism’ or ‘phobia’, you’ve gone too far; wind your neck in.

’til Tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “North London Derby: In The Spirit Of Things

  1. Not enough good aggro and passion in the modern game. Not much character at all, when you think about it.

  2. I do feel that Emery brings some passion to the match and that his tone on the sidelines seems to have affected the attitude and spirit of the team. The only match I was genuinely unhappy with was Wolves at home from that perspective.

    Emery may not have experienced an NLD but he will really not want to lose his first one. I think the team will be up for it like they were v Pool. However a draw at home to them wouldn’t really show progress so I hope they can muster a win.

  3. Hopefully, Wenger gets the job there, and sends him back to us. Life is full of surprises.

    Like in photo 2 from Arsenal training shoot on website. Can only imagine Jenks telling Kosh that they are both in the back 3 for Sunday. “Merd alors “

  4. Well, today’s the day!

    Whilst I might be tempted to watch from behind the couch, I think we have a very good chance of taking 3 points, the press and sp^rs are way too much up their own arses on this one imo.

    Based on the lack of creativity we saw in the last EPL game, Ozil simply has to play.

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