You don’t need me to tell you how massive today’s North London Derby is.
A good performance and result will put us top of the league, for a few hours at least, until Chelsea visit Birmingham later on today.
But now is the time Arsenal need to go on a big run. Manchester United have stuttered recently, and they had the whole “will he won’t he leave” drama with Wayne Rooney. And Chelsea have also struggled in recent weeks, with the Ray Wilkins departure and with John Terry and Frank Lampard injured. And of course, Didier Drogba has been suffering with a bout of Malaria.
But the fact is these problems aren’t going to last forever. Lampard and Terry are reportedly back in action within a matter of weeks, and Manchester United won’t be struggling for much longer.
So the Winter period is going to be huge in determining whether we’re true title contenders or the great pretenders.
Today’s game with the old enemy is an interesting one and tough to call. It’s common knowledge that Spurs haven’t beaten any of the Top 4 clubs for 16 seasons, and most “experts” are fancying Arsenal to take all 3 points.
But Arsenal fans know it’s not always that straight-forward.
With their atrocious record, Spurs have absolutely nothing to lose. They can go for it and that is dangerous. And despite the fantastic character we’ve show away this season – we have the best away record in the league – we’ve grossly under-performed at home against West Brom and Newcastle, games that with all due respect we shouldn’t be losing at The Emirates.
The obvious threats are Van Der Vaart, Bale and Modric. A concern I have is that Djourou has been put on the bench, replaced by the returning Koscielny. Djourou has been fantastic this season and I was impressed with him against Wolves and Everton. I was actually at Goodison Park last weekend and he has that great ability to be in the right place at the right time. He intercepts so many balls which Koscielny hasn’t picked up yet. I am very disappointed he has been dropped, especially when he’s been playing so well. The defence as a whole looks more secure when he’s in the side.
On the plus side, Arsenal have to perform today. If the the motivation of being top of the table and playing against Spurs isn’t enough for the team to put in one hell of a performance then the fact is that we’re not a team that is capable of fighting for the Premier League Title.