|DATE||Sunday 3rd March 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
As Spurs approach this match in third place and four points ahead of
the closest team geographically to us, thoughts in the media are
springing back to last year and a 2-5 defeat at Highbury. Once
more, Spurs have lost at Highbury 2-5 (in different circumstances
though) and compared to last season we are narrowly ahead of
Arsenal, as last season it was ten points. But this time, we
are at home. this is something that hasn't always been an
advantage in the past, but this time, it could be.
With past encounters featuring many pundits drooling over who was playing for the Gooners, this time, the limelight is on those in the lilywhite shirts and Wenger's team have struggled from one mishap to another, with their win over Spurs back in November, being the highlight of their fan's season, but that was achieved with the assistance of Emmanuel Adebayor getting sent off. Much of what Spurs have achieved since then ahs been without the help of Adebayor - either suspended, injured or off in the African Cup of Nations. With Jermain Defoe back in training, it could be that Ade has to sit this one out on the subs bench, with the prospect of coming on towards the end as the carrot for him.
But then carrots have been in short supply for Arsenal's donkeys. Once the media darlings, the press have turned on Wenger and his players, causing the usually mild-mannered manager to throw his toys out of his pram in press conferences like he throws water bottles about in the technical area. Now that his vision of beautiful football is failing as badly as his ability to see as far as any on-pitch Gooner misdemeanour, he is being cornered from all sides. The slogan "In Arsene We Trust" has now been adopted by opposition fans, as the only thing that can be assured is that nothing is certain in the Highbury garden now.
Losing in the League Cup to Bradford City and the FA Cup to a David Bentley inspired Blackburn Rovers, the B club hat-trick may come in a coupe of weeks time, when Bayern Munich attempt to finish off their 3-1 first leg Champions League lead. So, this game has much more hinging on it than North London pride for Spurs and South London pride for Arsenal and thus we can expect that the visitors will be keen to set the record straight for many of their critics.
However, the players that Wenger picks are not the scary ones of old. Gone are Henry, Adams, van Persie, Parlour, who I think you will agree were all very scary !! Now, Jack Wilshire is their shining light and he carries more than the hopes of the fans on his back ... he has most of the team too. Sometimes it gets a little too much for the little man and he snaps, which may well happen in this match, when he is hyped up for it. He is capable of both cynical and dirty challenges, so Mark Clattenburg could be in for a busy Sunday afternoon.
Wenger signed Gervinho, Podolski and Giroud (who, every time his name is mentioned, I am not surprised he has missed as it sounds like Djourou) to shoot the Gooners to the top has come unstuck. Gervinho and Giroud followed the hapless Chamakh in scoring freely in France, but finding it harder to do so over here. None look at home in the forward line and while Podolski has scored the odd cracker, there is still a question mark over his desire, but the management will try to ensure that is fired up for this game.
The midfield has been the part of Arsene's teams that the media have purred over, but recently they have been stalling somewhat. Cazorla has the ability to run games, but often disappears from view, while Arteta has not been the same player since he departed Goodison Park. Wilshire we know about ... the great hope for English football - goodness help us !! That leaves the other slot available for any one of Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain. With the other midfielders in their squad - Ramsey, Diaby, Rosicky or Arshavin - you can take your pick of players who have failed to realise their potential.
The defence was the rock on Arsenal's success, but it has been a blind spot for the manager, who has bought a succession of dopey centre-halves and dodgy goalkeepers, leaving the goals against column inflated. Szczecny can have a blinder, but is also capable of throwing a few in, while Squillaci, Koscielny and Mertesacker fill the centre-half role with less than notable success. Vermaelen chose Arsenal over Spurs and is the better of a bad bunch, while Sagna might return at full back, but his patience is failing with the club and looks like he might be the next one on the conveyor belt out of N7 in the summer. Lucky for Arsenal that Wilshire has pledged his whole career to the club ... wonder how long that will last ?? The only new signing in the January transfer window, when Wenger is at his most pig-headed, was Monreal from Valencia, so it will be interesting to see how he fits in, as the last full back signed by Wenger - Carl Jenkinson - has become a peripheral figure already.
The difference between potential and performance is a thin line and it is one that Wenger is walking without a paddle at the moment ... and where he is heading, he might need one.
I know full well that the form book goes out of the window when games like this come up and I don't doubt that Gervinho will confound form and score, but I think Spurs might have enough in the locker ... and not just from Bale ... to take this one.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Arsenal 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :|
|ARSENAL TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
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Arsenal - ()
Sunday 3rd March 2013 Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
|Crowd : ,||Weather : -|
|Referee : Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)||Assistant Referees : D. Cann; S. Beck (-)|
|Fourth Official : Andre Marriner||-|
|- kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Arsenal :||kit|
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Arsene Wenger|
|Sponsor : Aurasma||Shirt sponsor : Emirates|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Nike|
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Queens Park Rangers||-||-||-||-day|
|West Bromwich Albion||-||-||-||-day|
|West Ham United||-||-||-||-day|
|7||West Bromwich Albion||27||12||4||11||38||36||40||+2|
|14||West Ham United||27||8||6||13||31||41||30||-10|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||27||2||11||14||19||46||17||-24|
Position before match :
Position after match :
Position after the weekend :
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