Ah, the smell of a North London derby.
Fear, that’s what’s wafting over from N5 and tugging at your nostrils. Fear. Harry. Dele. Eriksen. Winks. They’ve all got the sphincters twitching in the cafés and bistros of Maidstone, Guildford and Berkhamsted where the moaning Gooners argue the toss about Kronke and Uzmanov whilst dipping their biscotti in their Flat Lilywhites. Never mind what’s going on at the top is my advice, look away from the bank balance and have a look at the team. Xhaka, Coquelin, Iwobi, Monreal, Mustafi, Giroud, Holding, Mertesacker, Elneny, Walcott….comedy.
Yes, that’s right, even Winks. What wouldn’t the befuddled professor give for a youngster dedicated to the club who can twice hold off a midfield of Modric, Isco and Kroos without ever looking stretched?
As our manager Pochettino has never lost a league North London derby and whilst that run may come to an end one day it’d be disappointing if Saturday was that day. Partly because we have the stronger team and momentum, and partly because both Manchesters have fixtures that you would hesitate before describing as straightforward. City are at Leicester, Utd at home to Newcastle.
Whilst we have the inconvenience of the returning internationals to deal with in our planning for this game, we are also fortunate in that the Harrys and Dele have had time to get proper treatment on their various ailments. We also have an inconsequential Champions League game next week rather than a must-win which will mean Poch will not feel the need to keep players back. Alderweireld, Wanyama and of course Lamela are still out and we may still have problems in the nets with Lloris and Vorm struggling but with Rose and Dembélé back and hopefully Son, Vertonghen, Aurier and Sanchez back unharmed, we’re in reasonable shape.
It’s always better being us than them of course but at the moment our relative success makes it doubly sweet not being anything to do with that arsehole ridden, desperate, rootless, disunited, charmless, spent, hollow, dried out, corporate shell of a club. Look for the audio of the last few minutes of their recent AGM for an idea of what state they’re in.
Let’s smash ‘em, it’s all they deserve.
Mike Dean is the official in the middle.
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