Arsene Wenger put up a stout defence of his Arsenal side heading into the weekend derby game.
“We have no fear, we are focused on nullifying their strengths and expressing ours. Tottenham are a good side but we have the quality to win the game.
“We don’t see ourselves as underdogs at all. I think the question about the balance of power in north London is a question we have to answer and the only way to answer is on the pitch. The comparison will be between the two performances on Saturday and we have a good opportunity to show we are strongest, so let’s do it.”
YES ARSENE LET’S DO IT
We are underdogs, of that there can be no doubt. Spurs players are better educated, have a more cohesive mindset and they work as an industrious unit.
Arsenal has more talent in their ranks, but talent without a vision or a plan simply doesn’t work in 2017. Wenger’s success was predicated on talent identification and superior fitness. When he lost his fitness edge, and other teams became smarter, we lost our advantage.
It’s interesting to hear Wenger say that he’s thinking about nullifying Spurs strengths because that at least indicates there’s some sort of plan brewing. Problem is, Poch will also have a plan and a team more capable of executing it for the full 90mins.
Arsenal had a strategy vs City that worked well for 18minutes, but then we lost a goal, focus went out the window and it was a mess for the rest of the game.
Spurs are going to come at us hard, they’re going to use their physical advantage to put us under pressure and I’d imagine they’ll have plans to exploit our weak mentality.
Arsene, I presume, will want to go toe-to-toe on the aggression front. I’d imagine we’ll see a lightning forward three, likely with Danny Welbeck sitting in the mix. Will he play Lacazette this time? It’d make sense, our most expensive signing ever put two on the scoresheet against Germany and buried a first time chance against City. The problem is you lose out on raw power, but you do have a player who is very cute at retrieving possession from the front.
Wenger also took on criticism of our soft underbelly. Not really by tackling it, but by deflecting it.
“That’s the kind of remarks I have got for 20 years”,
“I remember many people asked me [in the 2002-03 season] ‘will Pirès be tough enough to play in the derby?’ He’s the guy who scored more goals than anyone else in the derby.
“We have to agree what is tough and not tough. I believe players have to be efficient, I believe that counts the most. As a defender efficiency is to not make mistakes, as a striker it’s to put the ball in the net. Tough or not tough doesn’t matter.”
You can’t deny the truth in the comments. Being efficient is part of being a good player, but so too does having the guts to duke it out against the top 6 sides in the league. There’s no doubt we’ve not been tough over the past 5 years. Ozil is one of the most efficient players in the world, but where does that go in these major games? How are we so consistently nullified when it matters? How can you say toughness doesn’t matter at the highest level?
I think this game is going to be fascinating, and I think it’ll be far closer than you think. Spurs are good, they are getting better, but the transition is far from complete. We’re still more likely than not to take points from this game.
So let’s see what Wenger has ready for the scum down the road.