The big one is HERE. Arsenal take on Spurs in the battle for bragging rights in North London. Unbeaten in 18, this is a huge test for Emery. For Spurs, this match is really about whether they have the minerals to be championship fighters. They’ve started to perk up of late and they certainly put in a boss performance against Chelsea.
Much is riding on this from an optics perspective for Arsenal. Lose and the pattern of top 6 struggles will continue for Emery as it did for Wenger. Lose, and United will start to look a lot more difficult. Lose, and the klaxon of progress will start to sound a little meek.
So what are we looking out for?
For me, similar to the Liverpool game. Give us a performance that shows the fans that we’ve progressed. I want to see a strategy that’s interesting, that shows we had an extra few days on the training ground… one that exposes their weaknesses, or does something smart to nullify their strengths.
If the Chelsea game is anything to go by, they’re going to try and swamp JorXhaka in midfield. He’s the key to our game moving forward, and not just that, he doesn’t always perform well under immense pressure. This game is really will be a barometer for his improvement this year. He needs a barnstormer. He needs have a blinder if we’re to succeed.
Additionally, it’s going to be interesting to see what sort of Mesut shows up. Emery dropped him last week and, in my opinion, accidentally called him a pussy in the press. I think the real reason he dropped him was about preservation and the simple reality that he struggles with fitness. Last time he was rested he flew out the traps. Sure, it was against Leicester, but let’s not pretend they’re not a physical side. If he can’t raise it tomorrow, it really will say something about his future with Arsenal.
We’re going to need a fresh-legged performance from Torreira. The signing of the last 10 years in my opinion. Petit had an interesting take on the Uraguyan.
“Arsenal have been too glamorous in the past few years, and not dirty enough, but with Torreira, the dirt is coming back into the team.
“He is not the most talented player, but he is like a dog on the pitch, he is a leader and sets an example.
“He doesn’t impress you physically, but you can feel his breath on your neck, and his foot in your calf because he is there all the time, and that is the kind of player you need in a team.”
He’s going to need to be at his dog like best today. The concern is that he’s doing the job of two because Xhaka doesn’t have the mobility or physicality in midfield. Ideally, we’d have two Torriera’s, but such is life.
I also think there’s some interesting choices to be made going forward. Will we make sacrifices with our formation and go with one up front and rely on swift counters? Does he continue to have the best of both with both our forwards? Will Iwobi get the nod? Will he give Mikhi another run-out?
The great thing is this: We have no idea what Emery is going to try. But you can bet your bottom dollar it’s not going to be a case of ‘express yourself and hope.’ I think his comments about the game were spot on.
“At the moment, Tottenham is better than us in the table and better than us last year but in history Arsenal is better at other moments than Tottenham,”
I’d rather the conversation be about Arsenal being better now, versus the insecure retort of ‘we have a better history.’ Spurs are in a better moment than us, of that there is no doubt, the power is with them. That can be easily overturned, and a good place to start is now.
This is where the money is made. This is what cements legend amongst fans. This is what we live for.
Have a great day, see you in the comments! x
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