It’s North London Derby eve. Spurs come to The Grove tomorrow to avenge the humiliation which kick started our season and decimated theirs. What a day. 2-0 down, only to come back and smash them by three. I was there. It was one of my favourite North London Derbies, if not purely for the fact the season culminated in Spurs sacking Harry Redknapp. Arguably the best thing to happen to Spurs in living memory.
Now they have a Mourninho pretender. AVB came to England off the back of a season unbeaten in Portugal to Chelsea. That was a terrible idea from the outset. He was humiliated by the senior players and ended up taking £13million and his P45. For some reason, Spurs thought it wise to invest in his managerial skills. So far, things haven’t looked good for them. I can’t gloat too much, it’s not like we’ve fared any better. Still, you know our manager at least has a track record of winning things… and getting 4th is modus operandi these days.
Still, it’s not about what went before, it’s about what’s ahead. This weekend, the game is a must win for both teams. A loss for either is undoubtedly going to signal calls for a change from both sets of fans.
So best make sure it isn’t a loss eh Arsene?
That’s the crazy thing about football. All this pressure our manager has heaped on himself because of bad decisions can be alleviated for 5 games if he spanks Spurs out of sight on Saturday. I think that will happen (maybe not a spanking). Arsene usually pulls something out the bag when he needs to. If we take Spurs apart, we’ll slowly add ‘new signings’ to the squad over the next few weeks… Rosicky, Gibbs, Chezzer… maybe Diaby for a brief stint. Form will improve, probably the whole way through January(so we don’t have to sign players)… then we’ll have a dip… but we’ll secure 4th.
Well, that’s my premonition of the season… and it all starts tomorrow, with a 3-1 win.
I’m not sure how we’ll line up, but my guess is we’ll have our three centre backs and Sagna (late fitness test) at the back. Midfield, we’ll have Jack, Arteta and Cazorla. Up top, I can’t see past Theo, Podolski and Giroud. I’d actually like to see Chamberlain as part of that front three. It feels like a game that could light the touch paper on his season. It could also be a game that suits Theo. The match will be open, it should be end to end and I hope the atmosphere is absolutely rocking. 1245 kick offs tend to be a bit quiet. If a North London Derby can’t shake the crowd into singing their hearts out, I don’t know what will.
I think the people that really need shaking up are the players. We can’t have a ‘jaded’ performance tomorrow. They need to show the crowd they give a damn about the game. We feed off energy. If there’s no energy from the players, it really is difficult to get motivated. Back in the day, Paddy used to gee the crowd up. We had performers all over the pitch. I’m hoping Jack can bring back some passion to that centre midfield. If he can slam into a tackle early on without getting a booking, it’ll set the tone for the afternoon. People question the character of the players we have at Arsenal. For me, I don’t think we lack characters. We just lack confidence at the moment. You can’t tell me Podolski, Cazorla, Jack, Vermaelen, Giroud and Arteta lack character. They don’t. They lack direction. It’s not coming from the management team… so the players have got to find it themselves. They’re not kids out there. There should be a element of self management. It’s not difficult to make sure everyone is picking up players in the box. It’s not difficult to shout for a ball. It’s not difficult to make sure you’re tracking a 31 year old smoker ghosting into the box.
If someone isn’t doing their job… shout at them. Footballers are like dogs. Sometimes shouting is the only way to get through to them. If they do something well, a pat on the head and a treat would be nice as well. Jokes aside, I never see verbal communication on the pitch with our players. When you’ve got the best in the world, that’s fine, when you’re struggling, a bit of talking never goes amiss.
Tomorrow is all about the team. If the boys fight for each other, there’s a chance. No moping allowed. We need a massive performance and we need to start putting some points on the board.
Right, that’s it for today. We’ll talk more tomorrow. Have a great Friday!