I’ve taken a break from the PL after the events of the last Arsenal match, so I feel a little out of it. I missed the subsequent VAR controversies in the ManU, Spurs, Liverpool and probably other games too. Chaos seems to be a feature of the Premier League.
A derby game can very quickly descend into chaos too. All the planning in the world, all the control that you train to exercise on the game can come to nothing once the game kicks off. All blood and thunder with the crowd roaring. Of course there will be no crowd right now. It might reduce the chaos, but who knows?
Spurs seem in chaos too. Apparently some of their fans are not happy with ownership and upper management and plan to fly planes with banners telling the world this. They figure the North London Derby is the best time to do it, and who am I to tell them otherwise. Go for it. Let the chicken atop the stadium come home to roost.
Strange words by the managers
What’s strange is that Mourinho hasn’t been crowing much before this fixture. I haven’t watched it but I suspect his complimentary words about Arteta, how he knew him at Barcelona, and now calls him ‘Mister’ were meant as mind games.
Arteta on his part kept complimenting Mourinho. Saying he’s still ‘absolutely’ world class, has a clear idea in how he wants his side to play, knows how to be successful and will likely be again in the future. He didn’t stop there either. He was full of praise for Harry Kane, and that Spurs have come quite far and really close to trophies. I have no idea if this was ‘kidology’. I sort of doubt it. Not that it matters much. Arteta did point out that mind games are not much of a factor in success. But if, like me, you were looking to get yourself pumped up for the NLD, then this did just the opposite.
Arteta also praised the referees and was completely understanding for how tough a job they do, and said he never doubts their intentions. A bit of a walkback from his tone after the game. But that’s to be expected, I suppose.
I’m still learning to decode Mikel Arteta’s words. The question he was asked about Michael Oliver was interesting though. Apparently he had ended up costing Spurs points and could he try to subconsciously make up for it?
St. Totteringham’s Day is at stake
Our points gap to 4th or even 5th is probably too big to make up. But we’ve got to keep trying to win every game. Sheffield United’s win over Chelsea yesterday and what it means for our hopes of making Europe just adds to the bizarreness of it all right now.
On the bright side, we are going into this game with a couple of days extra rest. Apparently the players even got a day off from training after a long time. They should be refreshed and raring to go. If we win, it will be the first time we’ve won 3 PL away games in a row since October 2018. More importantly, it will put us 4 points clear of Spurs and bring St Totteringham’s appearance just a little closer to reality. Lose and…. well, that’s unthinkable. It’s Spurs, it’s Mourinho. It’s really not what this world needs right now. What we need is a new derby day hero to emerge. Saka would be the likely candidate.
No word on Ozil or Guendouzi and I think we can conclude they will not feature the rest of the season, and maybe ever. Sad if that were to be the case. Leno, Chambers, Martinelli, and Mari are out too.
Spurs meanwhile are missing Dele Alli and I think Eric Dier has been suspended for something he did 4 months earlier. A real negative for us because if ever a footballer lives up (down) to his name, it’s him.
Well, now that I snuck in a pun. I guess there’s nothing more to do except gear up, prepare to get angry and frustrated, but hopefully, celebrate at the end with some chicken soup for the Arsenal soul.
Written by Shard aka @shardgooner