What’s Your Prediction for The North London Derby? Here’s Mine!

Tomorrow sees the Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur in what will prove to be an interesting battle. Arsenal are currently second in the Premier League while Tottenham are 3 points behind in fifth. Arsenal have won 9 and drawn 1 of their last 10 games, while Tottenham have won 4, drawn 4 and lost 2 of their last 10. So the in form team of the moment are Arsenal.

But despite Tottenham and their struggles, it’s easy to forget that they’re only 3 points behind us in the league.

Anything can happen in a derby, although Arsenal’s record at home against Tottenham as we all know, is excellent.

We always manage to score in North London Derbies and with Giroud, Sanchez, Özil, Walcott and even Oxlade-Chamberlain amongst the goals of late, we shouldn’t struggle for goals.

But as they say, there’s nothing worse than playing against a wounded animal and Tottenham are that at the moment. They had a disappointing defeat at “home” in the Champions League midweek, and only picked up 3 points from their last 4 league games. So expect them to sit deep and try and get us in the break – a tactic which is Arsenal’s achilles heel.

It’s just a fact that Tottenham over the last few seasons have developed into a very good team and have certainly improved from being the great pretenders to a side which has real aspirations of winning major honours. Even though we still finished above them in the Premier League last season, they were the ones pushing Leicester City the hardest last year.

Tottenham will be hell bent on making sure they don’t lose another game and hitting us on the break will be a dangerous tactic to face. Even though Arsenal have been flying recently I just can’t see Tottenham giving us any space in behind and they will be threat on the counter attack.

For me, they will suffocate Arsenal and the game will finish 1-1.

Why Chelsea Are Guaranteed To Beat Arsenal Today

Not counting the Community Shield (I don’t care what you say, you can’t call that a competitive fixture) our record against Chelsea is utterly atrocious.

We’ve been pretty consistent (and don’t we know it) over the last 12 seasons, always finishing around 3rd or 5th in the table. In that time though, Chelsea have enjoyed less stability, finishing between first and tenth.

Despite Chelsea going through some tough periods (last season in particular) we still couldn’t muster a win over them. We lost twice in the Premier League last season against Chelsea, 1-0 at home and then 2-0 away.

Our last 10 results against Chelsea are as follows:

Arsenal 0 – 1 Chelsea
Chelsea 2 – 0 Arsenal
Arsenal 0 – 0 Chelsea
Chelsea 2 – 0 Arsenal
Chelsea 6 – 0 Arsenal
Arsenal 0 – 0 Chelsea
Arsenal 0 – 2 Chelsea
Chelsea 2 – 1 Arsenal
Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea
Arsenal 0 – 0 Chelsea

To summarise – that’s 10 games, 0 wins, 3 draws and 7 defeats.

And if you want to put the goals scored and goals against in there as well, Arsenal have scored 2 goals and conceded 17. Giving us a goal difference of -15.

Can you believe that?!

The game previous to that brilliant 10 game run was in October 2011 when Arsenal visited Stamford Bridge. Robin van Persie made John Terry look like a clown and we ended up winning 5-3 which, looking back, is one of my all time favourite games. Partly because I knew for a fact that getting results against Chelsea (in the post-Mourinho era onwards) was near on impossible.

It’s not so much that Chelsea have a hoodoo over us, it’s just that they’re a better team than we are. Even last season when Chelsea were all over the place we still failed to win a single point against them – mentally, we’re scared of Chelsea.

We couldn’t cope with the years of Didier Drogba abusing us and now the bully is in the form of Diego Costa. For some reason, we just can’t handle it against big, strong strikers who have a bit of a mean streak. We’re far too “nice” when it comes to it and would rather cry and complain instead of getting stuck in and fighting in those 90 minutes.

And it doesn’t matter that they might be having a bit of a “wobble” at the moment and seem to concede goals left, right and centre. And that we’re firing on all cylinders and all of our players seem to be hitting top form.

Because just like the sky is blue, water is wet, Yaya Toure’s agent will open his big mouth and Santa will unload his hefty sack all over your living room on Christmas Day, some things are just certain.

And another one of those is Chelsea winning at The Emirates on Saturday.

Why Arsenal Will Lose To Liverpool At Anfield Tonight!

Arsenal travel to Liverpool tonight as the league leaders, 7 places above the Merseysiders and a massive 12 points ahead in the table.

So tonight is a forgone conclusion isn’t it?

For some reason I’m not confident at all tonight. Last season we played out a 2-2 draw at Anfield, and the season before that last 5-1. The season before that we won 2-0 at their ground with goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, and before that we won 2-1 with a dramatic last minute winner from Robin van Persie.

So our record isn’t terrible, bar the 5-1 hammering a couple of seasons ago.

It’s just that we seem to struggle at Anfield. Yes, Liverpool have injuries but so do we, and we generally struggle when we play against high-intensity teams. Arsenal have been sluggish recently with the packed fixture schedule and I just see a slow performance tonight which Liverpool will take advantage of.

In these type of games, with the intimidating atmosphere of the Liverpool crowd we seem to bottle it. Tonight won’t be about the talent each side can put on the pitch, but about who wants it more. And Arsenal – because of tiredness or whatever – haven’t been really putting in the fight recently.

If Liverpool run us off the park we’ll struggle. It’s not a game we can coast for large portions of the game and then nick a goal (like we’ve done against Sunderland, Newcastle and Bournemouth) – if we play like we have of late Liverpool will beat us.

It’s difficult when we’re suffering injuries to big players, I don’t deny that, but it seems to me we seem to struggle when we play on a wet, windy night which tonight will be. Our players are used to immaculate conditions so we do struggle when it’s a bit nippy out.

Hopefully my concerns are unfounded but remember the last time we went to Anfield being league leaders we ended up getting absolutely battered 5-1.

What’s your prediction for tonight? I can’t see it being anything else but a 2-1 win to Liverpool.

Why Liverpool Will Beat Arsenal Tomorrow Afternoon

The Arsenal v Liverpool game tomorrow is something I am looking forward to. As with all the big games, you can only be excited about them and the rivalry between Arsenal and Liverpool is still one of the great encounters. Sure, games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are special but I would put the game against Liverpool right up there in the footballing calendar.

Maybe it’s because one of my earliest childhood memories was watching the Liverpool v Arsenal game with my father and seeing that amazing goal from Michael Thomas in the final seconds. I was fortunate enough to briefly meet Michael Thomas a long time afterwards and remember how much of a nice guy he was. He signed an autograph for me and really couldn’t have been a nicer bloke. Along with watching Thomas the Tank Engine episodes and playing football in the park, that goal is one of the most memorable childhood recollections I have.

You can’t deny that Arsenal v Liverpool games aren’t special.

In recent times, our fortunes at Anfield have been very mixed. Last season we travelled to Liverpool and got absolutely slaughtered 5-1. The season before we won 2-0 with goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, and the season before that we won 2-1 when Robin Van Persie scored a dramatic winner with only minutes remaining.

In the last 6 encounters at Anfield, Arsenal have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1 – which all in all isn’t bad at all.

And one of the games we drew we completely threw away, which was the game Andrei Arshavin scored a phenomenal 4 goals – after only having 4 shots all game.

So onto tomorrow, and if you go on current performances then Arsenal are seemingly clear favourites.

But if you look at the last 10 Premier League games, this is how Arsenal and Liverpool have actually fared:

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As you can see from my very hi-tech and fancy graphic, both Arsenal and Liverpool have had mixed fortunes in the Premier League. I think the reason why people seem to think Arsenal are in better form is because of the last couple of weeks – we’ve managed to beat Borussia Dortmund and Galatasaray in the Champions League as well as beat Newcastle United convincingly at the weekend. Liverpool on the other hand drew to European minnows FC Basel and Ludo Razgd in the Champions League, and lost heavily to Manchester United in their last league game.

But if you just put domestic form into account, there’s hardly and real difference there.

So don’t think Liverpool will be a push over.

Another problem Arsenal have is Brendan Rodgers is under fire from the media and Liverpool supporters, and will be desperate to turn things around as soon as possible. Unfortunately for us, he would have learnt a harsh lesson from the Manchester United game and will be looking to get the fans back onside with a big win over Arsenal.

With our defensive problems, players like Sterling will be a big threat.

Liverpool’s players will still be hurting from the criticism that has been thrown their way and if anything you will probably see a very defensive Liverpool (even at Anfield) who will be looking to catch us on the break – and unfortunately that is probably our biggest weakness, conceding goals on the counter attack.

For Brendan Rodgers this would be a low risk tactic and something he will be looking favourably upon.

If Arsenal want to get anything from this game, they are going to have to be patient, controlled and make sure they don’t go throwing men forward.

I can see goals in this game but Arsenal need to ensure they don’t buckle under the pressure – especially as they have a record of conceding late goals and letting leads slip, like they did against Anderlecht and Swansea.

My heart says Arsenal will win 3-1, but my head says Liverpool will beat us 2-1.

My Bittersweet FA Cup Final Day

As Arsenal embark on looking to break the 9 year trophy hoodoo and as Arsene looks to bring in the first major trophy since moving to The Emirates, today is a bittersweet day for me.

We all know how massive today is, and while Arsenal are major favourites we still have the shock that was Wigan beating Manchester City to win last seasons FA Cup fresh in our minds.

Make no doubt about it, Arsenal will need to be on top of their game to bring home the cup tonight.

But while usually I’d be checking all the latest news and build up and obviously watching the match itself, I have to go to a wedding today…

Which means missing the whole thing entirely!

I’m not looking for sympathy, but being an Arsenal fan for over 27 years now I realise that today is a significant day in Arsenal’s history, a day much bigger than potentially winning a major trophy. If Arsenal can overcome Hull City, then it would represent something of a new era. After 8 seasons without a trophy, today could be the catalyst for bigger and greater things.

Of course, if Hull City pull off a shock then it could still be a significant day in our history, but for different reasons.

Obviously I’m clutching at straws here, but if you’re watching the game and fancy updating me on the latest scores and incidents during the match, then you can tweet me here:

Arsenal 4 Life Twitter

Bet this is the first time an Arsenal blog has asked for match updates isn’t it!

Anyway, I hope every Arsenal fan who is watching the game has a fantastic day and we all get what we want from the final.

All the best and COYG!