This is the game that we look for when the fixtures are announced, this is the game we’ve been doing an internal countdown to over the past couple of months, weeks and days. And here it is. Well, not quite. It’s on Sunday (14:05 ko). But you know what I mean.
The rebooted Arse, under Dick Emery, are apparently a different beast to that left quivering in the corner, afraid of its own shadow and unable to stand up for itself – except as a laughing stock – after the way it was denuded of all self-respect by Professor Wenger.
I’ve not seen them this season (paraphrasing Alex Higgins – why would I watch turds float?) but if you believe what you read then they’ve discovered a bite in midfield, a willingness to run for the cause and finally a way to make the most of all their attacking talents. I’ll believe it when I see it.
They apparently play with a high line and a press which must’ve been a real leap in the dark for the likes of Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Mustafi and Xhaka whose previous instruction set went along the lines of ‘flounder, concede, give up, repeat’.
There’s belief amongst those scoffing their hummus and chutneys in the corporate cake tin as well. People are both turning up and staying until the end! Whatever next. And the reason they’re staying beyond 70 minutes? Well, the Gooners have developed a habit of leaving it late. I may be wrong but I don’t think they’ve been in the lead at half-time in any of their league games thus far. All of Leicester, West Ham, Wolves, Liverpool and Man City (of course) have scored the first goal at the Haemorrhoids before being pegged back (apart from Abu Dhabi’s finest). Watford only conceded with an own goal in the 83rd minute.
So, what can we read in to this. That they’re vulnerable early on. (Genius!). One would imagine that with a centre-back pairing made up of two of Holding, Mustafi and Sokratis they’d be vulnerable for a lot longer than just early on, but Leno is a better keeper than Cech and Torreira has added some tenacity to the midfield.
Our two fine wins in a week followed on from four previous fine wins. We’re doing ok. Last Saturday’s brilliant performance was at the expense of a feckless Chelsea side of course but the win over Inter on Wednesday and over Palace and Wolves before then were all Poch personified performances. Skill, discipline and never give up!
The (midfield) diamond was on display at Selhurst and at Wembley at the weekend, and I suspect the manager will do his best to put it out again on Sunday. From his time in Spain he must know very well how Emery likes to shape his teams, it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with it; the high line though must be seen as meat and drink for Son and Dele to exploit surely?
We should expect Vertonghen to keep his place ahead of Foyth but three games in a week for Sissoko might be seen as too many given that we’re playing again on Wednesday and have Dier and Winks available. It’s anyone’s guess but a possible line-up is, Hugo, Aurier, Davies, Toby, Vertonghen, Dier, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane.
That should be enough to put them back in their box. Nobody’s favourite ref Mike Dean is the man in the middle. Expect some randomness.
Arsenal vs Spurs Betting Tips
Spurs have won just one of their last 25 away Premier League games against Arsenal (D10 L14), a 3-2 victory in November 2010. Spurs are 17/10 to get the win.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored in six of his seven Premier League appearances against Arsenal. Kane is 7/2 to score first.
Premier League matches between Arsenal and Tottenham have seen both teams find the net more often than any other fixture in the competition (34). Both teams to score is 4/9.
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