Spurs host Arsenal on Sunday in a crucial game for the race for the Champions League berths. We find ourselves four points ahead of the Gooners going into the clash at the Lane and will be looking to extent the margin to seven.
We caught up with Kevin Whitcher, editor of Online Gooner ahead of the North London derby.
So what’s it been like watching Arsenal this season? There’ve been some ups (apart from the Adebayor Kamikaze game) to go alongside the well-publicised downs I presume?
Yes, there have been some ups, but in truth, not many. Isolated thumping wins, but for the most part, Arsenal make hard work of games they shouldn’t do, and have been exposed by the teams that they have illusions they are competing with for the major honours.
Arsene Wenger seems to be dividing opinion amongst Arsenal fans, there’ve even been reports of scuffles breaking out. What’s your take on him?
It’s all gone stale. A stubborn old man who won’t change his ways and has lost his mojo. Weak on tactics, weak on player recruitment, no longer a motivator, if he ever was one.
A lot has been written about Bale’s influence at Spurs recently but Jack Wilshere seems to be almost as central at the Emirates these days?
Certainly Jack is the heartbeat of the team, and one of the few players who you can regard as typical Arsenal. If we had eleven of him, we’d be walking the league. The captain on the field if not by name, then by nature.
And how about the new boy Monreal, is he fitting in well?
He seems to have adapted quickly, probably helped by playing in tandem with two other Spaniards on his side of the pitch. Looks a decent buy so far, but early days.
Any non-Welsh players in the Spurs side impressed you at all?
I think the younger defenders you have brought through could well serve Spurs very well both this season and over the long term. To be honest though, I haven’t had the time to watch too much football aside from Arsenal this season, so I am no expert on the current Spurs line-up.
Looking forward to Sunday?
Yes and no. Yes, because there will be drama and tension. No because the implications of defeat aren’t worth thinking about.
I see Sagna’s probably out, how is Jenkinson likely to do in his place?
If he doesn’t get a yellow card, I would be very surprised. As a genuine Gooner he will be pumped up for the derby, big time. So you will see whole-hearted commitment and possibly some recklessness. His heart still rules his head, due to his youth.
And finally a prediction for the game.
Derbies, eh? Anything can happen. I think both sides will score. If I were a betting man I’d say a home win, unless the Arsenal defence can develop some solidity overnight, which isn’t going to happen. However, I can’t give you the win before the game is played, so let’s say 2-2.
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