Spurs game the most important of the season

I made four conclusions from an Arsenal-free weekend of football. They were:

  1. John Terry is a deplorable sportsman.
  2. No matter how they try to change, Spurs will always be Spurs.
  3. Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez are wonderful footballers.
  4. Manchester United will not win the league this season.

I want to talk about the fourth conclusion today.

United’s draw with Blackburn means that Wednesday night’s game is the most important of Arsenal’s season.

It is the most difficult of our final five fixtures, against our fiercest rivals who will be furiously licking their wounds after a demoralising defeat to Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final.

They have a run of three tough fixtures in a row – against us, United and Chelsea – and know that a home fixture against our boys is probably the best chance to get three points.

With a Champions League spot up for grabs they will be well and truly up for it, even if they haven’t beaten us in the league for ten seasons.

Despite losing heavily to Barcelona in the Champions League an eight-day break will have allowed our boys to prepare both mentally and physically for this one.

With Chelsea likely to beat Bolton on Tuesday we are likely to go into the game six points and a hell of a lot of goal difference behind, so nothing other than a win will be acceptable.

Chelsea will not drop many points (if any) before the end of the season but we need to keep the pressure on if we are to capitalise on any slip-ups.

I believe we can win all of our last five games if we beat Spurs on Wednesday. Blackburn away will be difficult, as will Manchester City at home, yet I believe a derby win will give us a significant boost.

If we don’t I think we will fall away.

More derby day thoughts and team news in tomorrow’s post.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal v Spurs by leaving a comment.

,

35 Responses to “Spurs game the most important of the season”

  1. Gooner_aside
    April 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    You’re correct, Andrew – Conclusion 4 Became apparent this weekend. But we’ve all known 1 to 3 for years.

  2. Andrew Weber
    April 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    Heh heh, well said.

  3. Mithilesh
    April 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be totally weird that after we beat Spurs next, we would totally be supporting them for them against United and Chelsea…… It’s going to be very very weird.

  4. James Ndungi - Nairobi
    April 12, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Yes Andrew, No more slip-ups, we can not afford to lose this game. A win shall give us all the Tempo we need to propel us to the last game.

    Mithilesh, i agree its going to be weird to support a team that you have just beaten but we have no otherwise, but to ground them first and then take them by their hand. Thats what make football more facsinating.

  5. Mboka
    April 12, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Yes Andy, it was a good weekend for us although we didn’t play. Spurs will be a tough game considering we’ll be lacking creativity at the center of midfield. But they will have fatigue issue as well, especially in the second half after the 120 minutes on the weekend. They’ll also be short of belief after being knocked out by a relegated side.
    May Arsene use Merida as a sub on wednesday to inject some creativity when needed.

  6. D
    April 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    i think it is also very important for players like Vela to be used at this juncture, he is a player who i believe can strengthen our team, if strength is what we need after we have been left to our bare bones.

    Seriously, if we go into this game without a clear strategy and will to fight to the last man, it will be a sad day, coz it will be as good as ended for this season.

    Well, what happened to VP, is there any likelihood that he will feature in the Spurs game.

  7. maroune
    April 12, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    The Arsenal free weekend brought about a stress free one for the first time since we somehow got ourselves back involved in this bizarre title race. With our arses still sore from the Messi spanking, we sat down gingerly, put our Gooner feet up, and waited to see if there were any favours to be had… and enjoyed,

    Chelsea eventually sailed through their semi with Villa on the embarrassment of a pitch that Wembley, sadly, now is. John Terry dropped another little reminder of his character with a horrific tackle on his England colleague Milner. We knew simply being a ‘team mate’ of Terry holds little sway with ‘Mr Chelsea’. It seems his friendship extends beyond sleeping with the mother of your children, to threatening your career with a horrendous, reckless, high and pointless attack. Interesting to see how Milner greets Terry at the next England get together. How Mr Webb failed to send off the former England captain at Wembley, is disappointing, but no surprise. How he failed to award Villa a penalty further confirms the poor standards of officials in this country, as Webb heads to South Africa as an example of our finest.

    Nothing to be enjoyed in that game then, but no worries. Spurs would surely trample of potless Pompey in their semi and I’d rather Chelsea, the lesser of two evils, were waiting for them in the final…

    Saturday night brought El Classico and the chance to enjoy that rather talented little Argentinian chap terrorising someone else. If he could add some consistency to his game he could really go places. His 40th goal of the season put Barca ahead, from a sumptuous pass from stringpuller Xavi, who was at it again for their second, this time via Pedro. Poor Ronaldo. The attention craver would have been desperate to steal some shine from Messi. He failed, almost trying too hard.

    Another pointer from Saturday night was the expense Real Madrid went to last summer in trying to surpass Barca. With the passing of the season, it is crazy to again look at the figures spent on the likes of Alonso (£30m) and Benzema (£40m and sub) etc, etc. Real being made to look ordinary by their fierce rivals, and already out of Europe before our own exit, makes the notion of us competing with them on our limited budget and injury list most unlikely. There is no shame in our defeat.

    Onto Sunday. Anyone who saw big fat Sam basking in the company of Fergie at Aintree in the week would have held little hope of Rovers taking anything from United. Old Red face wouldn’t have had to wipe his own arse on that day. However, the loss of Rooney seems too much for a tired looking United to cope with, and the goalless draw could be the first turn of fortunes in our favour at the top of the table. A win on Wednesday will see us go clear in second place. You’d have all taken that at this stage of the season were it offered to you in August.

    The trip to the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road could see us facing a tired and deflated Spurs side, after the footballing gods smiled down on Pompey. Going into the game I gave little hope to Portsmouth causing an upset, the most I hoped for was extra time and tired legs. That was granted.

    Surely a win from the Championship side would be too much? No, granted. Dodgy Harry and the Twitch had led his former side to their current mess, handing out £80k per week contracts to Utaka and the likes. With that in mind, how about Spurs feeling unjust having had a goal wrongly ruled out? Granted. F**king hell, this footballing God fella was spoiling us. One last, last wish please. The tough tackling lad in the middle for spurs, we could do without him roughing up our boys next week, any chance he could miss the game? Yes? And a second goal to seal it for Pompey? Cherry on top and ta very much.

    One of the great things of many about following The Arsenal is the ability of Tottenham Hotspur to let their fans down when they least expect it.

    It was an enjoyable weekend without, and a profitable one. The stress will return on Wednesday night for sure, but The Arsenal will be recharged and focussed on the home run, with the footballing gods hopefully still smiling down.

  8. James Ndungi - Nairobi
    April 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    On John Terry, that guy is a hack, unforgiveable and all the horrible words that can describe his tackle on Milner.

    I desire for the day the Gooners shall beat Chelsea in the presence of John to make void his stupid statement of Boys meeeting the Men.

  9. SOBIN THE GOONER
    April 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Our guys can do it………..cmn ARSENAL

  10. billi
    April 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    I don’t want to criticise, but the sentence the most important game of the season……… I don’t know, I think I’ve read it before several times………………. :wink:

  11. rileshbumbhatt
    April 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    That a side can lose players of the likes of Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Arshavin and Ramsey, still compete with perhaps the greatest club side of our time (well, for 150 minutes at least) and be in with a shout at the title with only 5 games remaining, speaks wonders of the attacking depth in this Arsenal squad.

    Most teams would crumble at the loss of such talent in attack, but remarkably Arsenal can still field quality of the likes of Rosicky, Nasri, Diaby, Bendtner and Walcott.

    The question is, however, that marvelous as this attacking fortress is, has it been built on precarious foundations and is the Gunner’s crumbling defence in danger of undermining their potential greatness?

    A look at the league table reveals that although Arsenal lie third in the league, there are 5 other teams who can boast meaner defences, including arch rivals Tottenham.

    It’s often argued this is an inevitable pay-off for such attacking emphasis but we shouldn’t forget that not only have Chelsea and United shipped fewer goals this year they have also out-gunned the Gunners too. United have scored 2, and Chelsea 9 more goals than Arsenal.

    Barcelona are also blowing apart the conception that attacking flair must come at the cost of defensive frailty. They’ve played 2 fewer league games than Arsenal, yet scored 2 more goals whilst conceding 15 fewer goals as well as keeping clean sheets home and away against main rivals Real Madrid.

    However that said, the difference between Arsenal’s defensive record this year and that of their Premiership rivals is not all that great. League leaders Chelsea have conceded only 4 fewer goals after all and many of the goals Arsenal have conceded this year have come when games have already been sown up and Arsenal have switched off momentarily.

    What is of major concern, though, is that in Gallas, Campbell, Slyvestre and Senderos, 4 of the centre backs currently on Arsenal’s books find themselves out of contract at the end of the season.

    What’s more, this week Eboue’s future at the club has also been put in doubt with the club’s new found cult hero confessing ‘all players want to play week in, week out and I am no different’ and that’s before you consider the nightmare scenario that a club like Barcelona might have liked what they’ve seen in Vermaelen this year.

    At the season’s start Arsène might have felt he had the ageing centre back exodus covered with the young centre back Johan Djourou rewarding the manager’s faith in pre-season with some very impressive performances that suggested he’d be pushing hard for a first team place this year.

    But unfortunately Djourou then suffered a knee injury at the season’s start whilst away on international duty with Switzerland and is only now returning to full training. Arsène must now hope he’ll make the ‘full recovery’ that physio Colin Lewis predicts for him.

    Worryingly, other than Johan, there doesn’t look to be too much in the way of defensive talent coming through the ranks either.

    The greatest hopes perhaps lie with 19 year old central defender/defensive midfielder Havard Nordtveit who, after captaining the Reserves during his first season at the Club has gone on to gain valuable experience abroad with UD Salamanca, Lillestrom and is currently plying his trade at Nurnberg in the Bundesliga.

    But promising as the young Norwegan may be, he has still only started 12 of Nurnberg’s 29 fixtures so far. So expecting him to go straight into the Arsenal side is perhaps over ambitious.

    The same could probably be said of the Arsenal reserves’ other promising defensive midfield and right back options- Francis Coquelin, Craig Eastmond and Emanuelle Frimpong.

    After the defeat at the Nou Camp Arsène hinted that reinforcements are on their way “We have to add something, that is for sure, but we have some time to think about that.” and one can only imagine that a new centre back will be top of any list he may be composing , along with a right back too depending on how the Eboue situation develops.

    Defensive midfield might also be looked at, as it seems Arsenal have very few players able to fill the Song role when the Cameronian is out. Denilson has performed admirably but lacks the athletisism to track back the most explosive of attacking talents and to put Diaby in that role is a waste of his obvious attacking drive and ability and there are doubts that he possesses the necessary defensive instincts.

    However ironically, it is perhaps a change in the Arsenal attack that could bring most immediate solidity to the side.

    Watching Barcelona cast aside Arsenal and Real Madrid this week, you realise how much of their defensive work stems, not from their defensive line as such, but from the willingness of their attacking players to press hard and win the ball back high up the pitch.

    As undoubtedly talented as Eduardo and Arshavin are, neither really offer much defensive assistance to the left back position. For that reason I feel a player such as Sevilla’s Diego Perotti could be what Arsenal need. Perotti is like Nasri in his positivity when running with the ball, but bigger, faster and stronger and excellent at pressing and tracking back. (Have at look at this youtube link to see what I mean)

    Nevertheless if this Arsenal side is to reach its obvious potential, a successor to Gallas must be found, and soon. Because even if Arsène and most Arsenal fan’s hopes are realised and Gallas signs a contract extension. He isn’t getting any younger and sadly his injury concerns are growing.

  12. darragh
    April 12, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    Its going to be tough – someone needs to step up in the midfield and be a Fabregas. I’m super glad that we’ve had a heap of time to prepare. We need to win this – but I think the visit of City may be harder – they’re in super form at the moment.

  13. king gooner
    April 12, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    nasri well may do the fab role on wed-with denison & diaby covering the back four-eboue,bendy & another?walcott & sicknote to come on around 60mins when hopefully,spuddies legs are knackered-1-0 to the arsenal!!

  14. unchained
    April 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    I do not know if it is the most important game of the season. It is spurs. We normally beat them anyway. The challenge will be City.

  15. Tina Ochola
    April 13, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    I like the way the gunners are not being talked about in the papers,it’s like a 2 horse race btwn Chelsea and Mancs,i wish Bendtner and company would take this opportunity to silence the critics by winning the league!!!Yes we can!!!!

  16. flyin dutchman
    April 13, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    spurs will be at their hardest to beat but history is not on their side especially been embrass by a side(portsmouth) who are been relegated and none of the players coming close to the pedigree of spur’s players, since the team got this week off, includin manu draw and spurs shock loss we should take advangte and not lack in any department, pls let rvp been on the bench at least play for 15 minutes.Still have anger over players been just to fragile to play in epl.

  17. Ian
    April 13, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    These next few games are Nasri’s chance to shine. We need big games from Diaby and Dennilson too instead of the wishy-washy inconsistent crap they usually come up with. Yesterdays result was a disaster for spurs but I feel they will be more dangerous, a point to prove methinks? Considering injuries and some poor results earlier in the season we’re not doing too badly. I can’t see us winning the title as I agree with the consensus that its unlikely Chelsea will drop anymore points. Second spot and champions league qualification will do nicely for me lads!

  18. Arsesession
    April 13, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    Much will depend on who we can field for the match.

  19. Lil Weezy
    April 13, 2010 at 1:40 am #

    I believe we will come out victorious.. 120+ minutes of football is hard on any legs.. they will be slow and flat footed.. meanwhile we are as fresh as ever and always had a good record vs them White hart lane.

    So fear not as I can guarantee we will beat Spurs.. however Man City is the toughest of all fixtures left and without our first team… dropping points will be almost inevitable.. that will be the decisive game.. not the tired legged Spurs..

    I think you have this one wrong Andrew…
    A Top form Man City is our hurldle, not the no rested Spurs!

  20. GunnerBoss
    April 13, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    Why cant we get Villa?

  21. GunnerBoss
    April 13, 2010 at 3:46 am #

    What of Torres?

  22. BrianBee
    April 13, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    The reason the Spurs game is the most important is if we loose at White Hart Lane the result at City wont matter much coz if Chelski win we would be 6 points behind them, so guys lets eat them spuds. Whenever Song isnt playing our creative midfielders dnt perfom well, i wonder why!

  23. Nairobi Gooner
    April 13, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    Go Gunners beat them spuds! Then we can have the momentum to tackle Man City!

  24. Andrew Weber
    April 13, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    @ billi – Well spotted. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

    A lot of the time I’ve used the phrase “most important game of the season so far” or something similar and I suppose that is bound to happen as a season rolls on and the games get more important.

    I suppose when it’s all said and done every one of our last games will be the most important but as BrianBee said above, this is the most important because if we don’t get three points, the final four games are essentially rendered meaningless.

    Plus, it’s Spurs!

  25. dave m
    April 13, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    @ Andrew. Good post. We will show our true colours against Spurs. We were beaten in our last game by the best team in the world. Barca would have beaten any team on that night. AND, we gave them a scare. AND, we did it with half a team. Spurs on the other hand have shot their bolt. They had chances to be ahead of City but know they have blown it with these next three fixtures a bloody nightmare directly after this humiliating defeat. Also, I’m sure the Arsenal fans will remind them about it.

    Play up Arsenal, Arsenal play up!!!!!!

    LOL

  26. RGJ
    April 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Given our injuries I reckon every game will be equally dangerous. Spurs coing off the FA Cup defeat will be desperate to maintain their chase for 4th. Man City are on a roll right now and will be a threat, and Manure dropped points at Blackburn and we still have to go there. And last up Fulham who have reached the semis of the UEFA Cup or whatver it’s called now and are no mugs at all.

    What’s the news on Song? Is he out for sure against Spuds? He’s a huge loss.

    My team would be Almunia, Sagna, Campbell, Vermeulen, Clichy, Diaby, Song (or Denilson), Nasri, Eboue, Bendtner and Merida (think he deserves a chance). Rosicky just doesn’t do enough for me and Eduardo is not th esame player and Walcott is crap except for the last 20 mins or so when defences are getting tired. 2-1 to the Gooners!!!

  27. dave m
    April 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Quote from today’s Guardian football podcast:

    “Harry Redknapp hasn’t lost a semi this dramatically since he saw Iain Dowie in the shower.”

  28. dave m
    April 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    And another funny thing ….

    Carlos Vela who missed out on the Barcelona clash after losing his passport, was forced to train on his own this week while the other players had time off by way of punishment and will have to sweat on his return to the squad for Spurs.

    “Yes Mr. Wenger. No Mr. Wenger. I forgot my homework Mr. Wenger”.

  29. Steve-O
    April 13, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    I think you’ve got to approach it one match at a time. If we win this one, next week’s will be the most important match of the season and so on. I still reckon 85 points will be just enough so we still need to win each game to have a decent chance. I agree, Man U are out of it now (snigger).
    The wind will be knocked out of Spurs sails after last weekend and the Gunners have to put the boot on their neck early and keep it there. We need a convincing win, not a shaky 1-0 at the death.
    I wonder if we’ve seen the last of Silvestre. I don’t think his contract will be renewed somehow. I’m still bitterly dissapointed he started against Barca – Eboue would have been a better option from the start.

  30. Steve-O
    April 13, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Oh, I forgot to mention Mr Terry. He’s a total disgrace and a national embarrasment. England would be better off leaving him at home when they go to South Africa because he’s just going to do a repeat of that tackle and be shown a red at the knockout stage of the tournament.

  31. shambogunner
    April 14, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    RvP fit to play tomorrow night!!!!!and iv just seen an interview with AW sayin if he wasnt sharp and fit he wudnt be selected in the squad….great boost.
    am apprehensive bout our chances of 3 pts tomor nite….no cesc,gallas,arsha or song is a huge blow away to your mortal enemy, you can say spurs are playing out their season being so far off city but wot greater motivation is there for them than to put our silverware hopes to bed for the season?????bobble head harry will hav them right up for it….then theyl lie down for utd and chelsea…..but heres hopin we can snatch a victory…..obviously there will hav to be big performances from nasri,diaby and denilson…..if their lethargic,cumbersome and lacklustre alter egos are on the field then wel be going home empty handed…..time for them to stand up…wel that was actually a week ago in spain but lets give them a second chance……once again for us to win tomor nite nasri,deni and diaby must show some determination and will to win…..now you understand my apprehension.

  32. phil
    April 14, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    if little jack wilshere does it for us tonight against chelsea and scores 15 goals we could go top of the league.awooga!

  33. shambogunner
    April 14, 2010 at 6:32 am #

    my god you hav to wonder about these prem league officials not 1 but 2 handballs by drogba and then knacker terry and no pens awarded…..fear generated by a biased tabloid nation….you wudnt dare send terry off or give a pen wud you?????disgrace….shudnt even be allowed play in the world cup hes a pikey!

  34. dave m
    April 14, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    Agreed. Two clear penalties! But money talks I’m afraid. Bolton didn’t have the rub of the green tonight. The ref was out to make sure Chelsea got the three they wanted. I hope the ref tomorrow night is being paid the same amount from Arsenal although I doubt it.

    I hope Van Persie comes on to win it!!!!

  35. Ianinja
    April 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Roar!!…Destroy spurs, don’t cock up now Arsenal

Leave a Reply

COMMENTS POLICY

1. Think before you write.

2. Be tolerant.

3. Stay relevant.

4. If in doubt, remember Bertrand.