WTTGT Writer: Lewis Kyriacou
I only got into football when I was 10 years old, so I have been spoilt as an Arsenal fan with the North London derbies. Since Wenger took charge, Arsenal have only lost in the league twice to Tottenham, and that was only in recent seasons. “St Totteringham’s Day”, the day where Spurs can officially no longer finish above Arsenal, has been celebrated since 1996 and the gulf between the red and white of North London became massive.
The North London derby for me used to be a great game to enjoy. Even though the games would usually be close, it was a big game for no other reason than our geographical rivalry. Spurs would have needed a step-ladder to reach us in the table! I remember when Arsenal won the season we went unbeaten, at White Hart Lane; I celebrated our great achievement whilst my Spurs-supporting friend celebrated the fact they came from two goals down to get a draw. Yes, probably a moral victory, but it shows you how far apart the ambitions of the two teams were at that time.
The situation now, however, is very different. Spurs may have lost their opening two fixtures, but they were to both Manchester clubs, and let’s face it, a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United looks a decent result compared to the debacle we’ve shown last month. The gap has been getting closer over the years. Martin Jol came “a dodgy lasagne” away from stealing fourth spot from us in 2006. Then, Juande Ramos won the Carling Cup in 2008, with Harry Redknapp coming in and establishing them as a consistent Champions League contenders; their ambitions have changed.
Arsenal, however, have worsened. The last time we finished the season with a total of more than 80 points was in 2008. We shortly lost key players like Adebayor and Flamini, then failed to replace them. Again, this summer we lost key players. Our talismanic captain, Cesc, and a superb talent in Samir Nasri. Tottenham, however, kept hold of their starlet, Luka Modric despite Chelsea bidding £40m for him (that’s about £6m more than what we sold Fabregas for). We have brought in quality to replace them, but not of the same calibre. Some may say that Spurs are now more ambitious than us these days. Are they?
For the first time in my memory,we go into the weekend’s game not only beneath them in the table, but the underdogs. All I know is that our rivalry is more intense than before and with our constant faltering in defence, I am genuinely scared of this weekend’s game. In short, to get one over on the “Old Enemy” once more would be massive for all Arsenal fans and we can possibly start to believe there is still optimism for a successful season.
COME ON ARSENAL!
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