After a vital win against Leeds, attention turn to Thursday and the less successful team in North London. I read a piece this morning by Henry Winter about how this match is “seismic” and it got me thinking – is it? He was waxing lyrical about the romance of this fixture and how this is a monumental moment for both teams. But for me this derby is a not so massive game.
Let me caveat this with the fact that by its very nature Arsenal v Tottenham is always a massive game and I want nothing more than to see us win on Thursday. But I know that we don’t have to win and that’s important to distinguish. So therefore, seismic? Pull the other one Henry son. With a point between us I would have leaned towards agreeing but the fact is there isn’t just one point between us, there are in fact four. Tottenham need to win to keep this “race” alive but nothing more.
Don’t buy the hype, don’t believe Sky. This is just another North London Derby. It’s vitally important that we play the match and stay compact early on because they will come tearing out the blocks and it’s important we weather that initial storm and frustrate the crowd. Unlike Saturday night, we don’t play a high line and don’t need to go for it. That’s when they’re most dangerous, on the break. With our defence sitting slightly deeper we can cause them problems and when Tottenham struggle to breakdown a team they show how flawed they can be. I’d almost be tempted by a back 3 just to give us a bit more solidity.
In the midfield we need a control and clever game from Granit Xhaka who has been excellent in recent weeks. The first goal is absolutely vital as well. If they score first it’s a long way back for us. We know what our boys up front can do and we know that Spurs are weak defensively so hopefully we can create some chances and in these games you have to take them.
I don’t want to dwell on this much more, because all the talking will be done on the pitch and after. A win for us would be huge but remember anything less is not final and its not fatal. I’ll see you in Seven Sisters.