Is Tottenham away a BIG game like City, United or Chelsea or not Monseiur Wenger?

Only 2 points though

Good Wednesday Gooners in this is the week leading to the North London Derby!

A very brief conversation I had yesterday with our dear Dave (@goonerdave66) and his consequent article inspired me for this week’s blog. The question I have been asking myself is this: Is Tottenham at White Hart Lane a big away game, like Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool?

As much as I don’t like saying so I am afraid that it is!

Spurs have drastically improved in recent weeks and are now two points behind ad breathing down our necks. They are unbeaten in the past nine games in the league and banged five goals past Champions elect Chelsea at the Lane. We should be worried but the the question is how much will Arsène Wenger be worried by this Tottenham team? I guess the line-up on Saturday will tell.


With Alexis Sanchez and hopefully Danny Welbeck both available after their injuries, Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil back to good form and Santi Cazorla virtually undroppable, it is going to be very interesting to see who will start the match.

Dave suggested we should not start both Mesut Özil and Theo Walcott because – that’s my guess – it would mean being exposed defensively, something I agree with.

Surely not both AW?

So, who would you pick if you had to choose?

I guess it depends on the game you want to play: managers are often split in two sections, those who imagine a game where his team controls the ball and those who elaborate a plan where the ball isn’t really a priority. Arsène and I obviously belong to the former category, however the Frenchman showed 3 weeks ago that he can be flexible enough to adapt to the latter – something I can’t do.

For that reason, I would replace Theo Walcott with Alexis Sanchez because I do believe we need the calming presence of Mesut Özil.The German knows how to keep hold of the ball and slow down the play, if necessary; with Spurs likely to go for a high-tempo approach, having someone able to break our opponents’ rhythm will be just great.

Calming Inflluence

With Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez all together on the pitch, we will be able to come away from Spurs’ pressure with tidy, sharp passes like we successfully managed to do against Manchester City.

That huge amount of talent in the middle of the park would allow us to frustrate our opponents’ pressure and tire them – only to knock them down as the game goes on.

In the German, we have both our best defensive and offensive weapon available – why should we put him on the bench?

Among many qualities Theo Walcott has, ball retention is not one of his finest; for this reason, he should be used off the bench – if needed – and be replaced by someone whose quick feet could elude tight marking that Rose, Walker, Mason and Paulinho are likely to adopt.

Keep hold of the ball, force their midfield to run around the park and use Olivier Giroud as a wandering focal point to find channels where Alexis, Özil, Cazorla or Ramsey can hurt our neighbors.

That’s the perfect plan.


If instead Arsène decides to sit back and wait rely on counter attack, he will need Theo Walcott more than any other player: give him a yard and you’ll never catch up, you can kiss him goodbye and collect the ball at the back of the net.

Having Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez on each flank would allow Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey to have a more conservative approach, focus on intercepting the ball well into their third and launch the counter with a long, quick ball behind Tottenham defensive line; it doesn’t need to be accurate or whatever, just kick it somewhere in the last 35 yards and you are almost 100% sure that either Theo or Alexis will be first on the ball.


Or Theo back a year later for the counter attack?

It also sounds like a good plan but will our defensive line cope with the pressure?

As much as I back Hector Bellerín, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal, I am not ready for another stressful, anxious afternoon.

Will we see this set-up on Saturday, it will mean that Arsène Wenger is treating Tottenham away like any other big away day or will he start with Mesut Özil and a more attacking-minded line-up, he’ll keep thinking that Spurs are just another minor Club in London we can overplay easily.

Which is the mere truth, by the way 🙂

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15 Responses to Is Tottenham away a BIG game like City, United or Chelsea or not Monseiur Wenger?

  1. trev February 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    Big game?? you gooners make me laugh, you are deluded like Liverpool fans…… trophy in 9 years! regularly selling your best players to clubs that have overtaken you. YOU aint a big club no more you mugs!

    • Ooh2Be February 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm #


  2. Tom February 4, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    great plan, only problem is that Walker and Rose are actually quicker than Walcott and Sanchez and you completely ignore the fact that the opposition have their own extremely talented players. The most biased of Arsenal supporters surely have to admit now that Eriksen is currently superior to Ozil and if Kane can destroy Terry and Cahill what is he going to do to our defence. Coquelin has done well but the workrate of our neighbours will test him and our defence to the limit.
    Right now I would be happy to take a draw as I fear defeat might just give our neighbours the impetus to really worry even 3rd place contenders this season.

    • AndreaR February 5, 2015 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for your comment but I sense much pessimism here!
      I don’t ignore Spurs have their talented players but I cannot talk about them as I don’t watch them play; I have better things to do on weekends and my Thursday nights are often busy 🙂

      Le Coq will have a lot of work controlling Eriksen and our centre backs will be tested by Kane, however I believe our squad is superior to their,overall.
      Maybe the Chelsea game is a one-off, who knows?

      Let’s see who shows more desire, maturity and effectiveness on Saturday.


  3. HK-18 February 4, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    Good article. As a Spurs fan, I do think Arsenal have the upper hand in the one.

    Cazorla always seems to bring his A++ game against us so I’m quite certain he’ll score or set one up.

    If you Arsenal can (like you suggested) make nice quick passes and avoid our press you’ll be fine. Our press seems to collapse quite often so no doubt you’ll get quite a few nice break through the middle.

    You touched on the tiredness – no way. Poch has got Spurs in such good shape, that’s why we’re coming away with all the “Fergie-time” winners.

    I’m not worried about Sanchez, he only has 1 goal and no assists against the top 7. Walcott and Cazorla Id be worried about.

    Will be a tough match no doubt.

    3-2 Arsenal I think. Good luck Goons.

    • AndreaR February 5, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      Hi HK,

      not sure you’re genuinely giving your thoughts on this game or just trying to downplay expectations; anyway, thanks a lot for your comment!
      It’s refreshing and unusual to read some rival fan’s words which are not mere insults, here’s explained my suspicion 😉

      Not being worried by Sanchez is being a bit too optimistic, mate; he has 18 goals already this season and he’s fresh after his short break. It’s going to be his first NLD as he only played 20 minutes during the reverse fixture – he’ll want to make his mark.

      I hope you got the result right as much as you wish you don’t.

    • Tom February 5, 2015 at 10:23 am #

      If you haven’t watched our opposition it’s rather foolish to offer up opinion on their players and performance isn’t it. I have taken the opportunity to watch some of their games, even on a Thursday as we Arsenal supporters should not be so condescending as to think that might be as good as it gets for us next season.
      Maybe the Chelsea game is NOT a one off who knows!
      Tottenham are fit, strong and have some extremely talented players and that has been the makeup of teams that have embarrassed us so often over the years. We all like to hope that the City win was a sign of things to come and it might be, but City were toothless that day with aguero just returning from injury, no toure and no other options.
      Right now I would take a draw.

      • AndreaR February 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

        Tom, I was giving my thoughts on how WE should play to overcome a very difficult test on Saturday.
        I restricted my opinions about Spurs to what I know, which is high-tempo play, pressure on the ball and also qualities of one specific player, Christian Eriksen.

        As stated at the very beginning, it’s going to be one of those big away games – you should have noticed it.

        I trust our players and manager to find the good solution and come out of WHL with a win; I don’t share your pessimism and I will never take a draw before kick-off – sorry

  4. Ooh2Be February 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    A spud fan in his 20’s will remember winning the kids cup twice…. ..exactly the same as a Leicester City fan the same age.

    Spuds a big club?, they’re just a bus stop near Arsenal….FACT!!


    • Jake February 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

      You do talk some shite fact

  5. Mark February 4, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

    A number of points. Only someone who doesn’t understand football would ask that ridiculous question or someone who was trying to wind them up, which, frankly, is not a great idea before the game. Wenger absolutely knows the meaning of the Derby. And, in response to Ooh2Be, is is just a little sad to call Tottenham Spuds don’t you think? And, it is just a bit tiring to keep going on about ‘are they a big club?’. If you have to keep convincing yourself they aren’t, then clearly they are.

  6. Mike Hunt February 4, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Did you know that Arsenal have the most gay fans out of any team in Europe?

    • AndreaR February 5, 2015 at 7:30 am #

      Hi Mike,
      not sure about the influence this might have on the pitch, to be honest.
      Anyway, thanks for the “Did you know?” moment of the week 🙂

  7. kentho February 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    I think your article is too sentimental based on the fact that you’re only airing your thoughts as an arsenal fan. I quite understand your reasons for being bias I am a chelsea fan and I know what it means to air views concerning derby matches, you always look up to the good side for your team. but the truth is that after watching spurs demolishing display against chelsea I think that there is more to just what you said… Arsenal certainly need to be aware of harry kane whenever they’re in possession cause at the slightest mistake they would definitely pay. Against chelsea I don’t think they had more than eight shots on target yet they scored five goals thats the sort of confidence brewing in them at the moment… They are in form, I would go for a high scoring draw Tottenham 2 Arsenal 2

    • AndreaR February 5, 2015 at 7:56 am #

      Hi Kentho,
      thanks for your comment, I didn’t expect a Chelsea fan to share his thoughts about the Arsenal and Spurs…
      I’m not sentimental at all, I am trying to understand how Arsène Wenger will set up his team ahead of Saturday; I know good points and weak points of my team, I say it is going to be a very difficult game but I feel we have qualities required to bring the three points back from across the road.

      Harry Kane is quite a player but he reminds me of Benteke last year and many other one-season wonders; will he keep scoring like he’s doing? Time will tell.
      As you said, Spurs hit the target eight times against you and scored five: will they be as much effective against us?
      Will we allow as many chances to them? I’m not sure at all.

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