As we approach this weekend’s derby, the mood is edgy both sides of North (cough) London. Once again we’re the team with the loftier lookout in the league, there’s little sign of the optimism we had prior to our last meeting in February though. But what about in the gooner camp? Are they nervous, confident, trepidacious or expectant? I pulled a friend from her eighties music time warp for long enough to pose a few queries ahead of Saturday’s big game.
Firstly, thank you for peeking over the barricades to answer a few questions. Cutting a long story short, what’s your view on Arsenal’s season so far?
For us Arsenal fans, the starts to our seasons are beginning to sound like a stuck record. Once again it’s been quite frustrating with the odd moments of brilliance. I’m beginning to understand how Spurs fans feel (apart from the brilliance bit of course). Our defence in the 90s and our attacking options in the 00’s were notorious. At times we played like we were not even on planet earth. All I do now is save a prayer, even when we go two goals up in a game. It’s quite frustrating at the moment, but let’s see how the new players settle in. In my view they need to be hungrier, like wolves (the animal not the football team).
Arsene Wenger – is it fair to say that the memory of his salad days has been eaten away?
It’s hard to admit it because he has brought the club so much over the years – trophies, premiership titles, a Champions League final, a new state of the art stadium – but those magic moments in Arsenal’s history have sadly dried up in recent years. We’ve all cried about it but tears are not enough. The look of love towards the manager has certainly been lost. We had some good times, some very good times, but that was then and this is now. Arsene and the board need to give the fans something tangible to cheer about. Last year it was Henry’s comeback against Leeds in the FA Cup. This year we’re in danger of it being Arsenal’s comeback against Reading in the Capital One Cup a few weeks ago. It’s not what we’ve come to expect as Arsenal fans, we are definitely impatient for more.
Wilshere’s return has been long awaited; Arsenal fans are viewing him as a bit of a lifeline? I’m sure he doesn’t need this pressure (on).
I must admit when Wilshere was first ruled out with injury, my initial thoughts were that I couldn’t stand losing him. Every little thing he did was magic. But after an incredibly long time out injured, I’m glad he’s finally back. It must have been so lonely for him. He’s a bit rusty and needs to get his match fitness back, but he seems to be Arsenal through and through. He’s pledged his future to us and who doesn’t believe a premiership player when they do that? He’s like a new signing. I predict he’ll have a cracking season for us after Christmas. I’m hoping he’s going to be our demolition man.
Cazorla looks a bit special. You seem to have struck gold there.
If there is one great thing that has happened to Arsenal this season, it is the arrival of Cazorla. In a big country full of many great football teams and many great players, he does look quite exciting. We need to give him a chance, but he’s like an excited terrier on that pitch – always eager and popping up where you least expect it. He’s been a bit quiet in recent games, so I hope he shows some of that early promise against Spurs on Saturday.
You will always believe in them I’m sure but Arsenal don’t seem quite so indestructible at the Emirates as they once were? Two defeats already this season.
You’re right. It’s a mad world. There were times that we were indestructible. Everybody wants to rule the world and there was a time when we very nearly did. But there has been a change. It’s partly to do with our peers acquiring quality players year on year who are hungry for success. Unfortunately a lot of the quality players they have acquired have come from Arsenal. The mentality of our top players seems to be not to work for the team to win things for the club, but to work and shine as an individual to get a move to a club that are going to be competing to win things. It’s sad to see the best players, especially our captains leave each year and that has got to affect the confidence of the team who remain. We need to start sowing the seeds of love again.
We go toe-to-toe on Saturday. It’s true to say that Spurs were head over heels after half an hour of our last encounter before it all went horribly wrong. What do you expect this time round?
Last season was a great game. I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. It seemed to be the turning point for both our seasons. This season I’m going to keep the faith. No more livin’ on a prayer and hoping for three points. I predict an exciting game, full of skill and mistakes, but I think Arsenal will win 3-1. I’m banking on Giroud and Walcott showing the sort of form they showed against Reading a few weeks ago – calm, collected, in total control and scoring when it matters. 3-1 for me. Hope it doesn’t rain though, that ball can be slippery when wet.
Many thanks, I’ll let you get back to you Sony Walkman now.