Arsenal must beat Tottenham

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With the title race hanging in the balance and Tottenham sitting just three points above Arsenal, the Gunners have no option but to win the North London Derby this weekend. 

Both teams come into the game off the back of disappointing midweek results which saw Arsenal lose their third consecutive game. A 2-1 loss at home to Swansea, who are fighting relegation, has really caused a stir of frustration amongst the fans who know this is the best chance they have had to win the league in the past 12 years.

A lot always rests on the fiercest derby in English football where pride and bragging rights are always on the line, but this is perhaps the most significant of them all so far in the Premier League era.

Tottenham are undoubtedly in better form, and looking as good as they probably ever have. Yet a derby is the one game where the form book can be thrown out of the window.

It comes down to desire and passion, and hopefully the Arsenal players can use the high intensity atmosphere and amazing away support to immerse themselves in the importance of the occasion, and show that they are serious about playing for this team AND about winning. Although these should go hand-in-hand, without saying.

Arsenal have lost just once to Spurs in the last 7 meetings. That was a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in the corresponding fixture last year. However Arsenal did manage to win there 2-1 themselves earlier this season in the Capital One Cup against a fairly strong Tottenham team, with two stunners from Flamini no less.

A win will take the Gunners back to level on points with Tottenham (54), and hopefully propel the team into finishing above them for the 21st consecutive season. Regardless of who wins the league.

As Ian Wright says, “If we can rule North London, we can rule the country.”

The Run In – Top Four

The following table shows the remaining fixtures of the current top four in the Premier League. Man City are currently scheduled to play the most games, while Leicester are out of every cup competition and only have the league to focus on.

Leicester City v Arsenal - Premier League

Date Arsenal Leicester Tottenham Man City
14 Feb Leicester (H) Arsenal (A) Man City (A) Tottenham (H)
18 Feb N/A N/A Fiorentina (A) N/A
20/21 Feb Hull (H) N/A Crystal Palace (A) Chelsea (A)
23/24/25 Feb Barcelona (H) N/A Fiorentina (H) Dynamo Kiev (A)
27/28 Feb Man United (A) Norwich (H) Swansea (H) Liverpool (N)
1/2 Mar Swansea (H) West Brom (H) West Ham (A) Liverpool (A)
5 Mar Tottenham (A) Watford (A) Arsenal (H) Aston Villa (H)
12/14 Mar West Brom (H) Newcastle (H) Aston Villa (A) Norwich (A)
15/16 Mar Barcelona (A) N/A N/A Dynamo Kiev (H)
19/20 Mar Everton (A) Crystal Palace (A) Bournemouth (H) Man United (H)
2 Apr Watford (H) Southampton (H) Liverpool (A) Bournemouth (A)
9 Apr West Ham (A) Sunderland (A) Man United (H) West Brom (H)
16 Apr Crystal Palace (H) West Ham (H) Stoke (A) Chelsea (A)
23 Apr Sunderland (A) Swansea (H) West Brom (H) Stoke City (H)
30 Apr Norwich (H) Man United (A) Chelsea (A) Southampton (A)
7 May Man City (A) Everton (H) Southampton (H) Arsenal (H)
15 May Aston Villa (H) Chelsea (A) Newcastle (A) Swansea (A)

Arsenal, Tottenham and Man City are still in the FA Cup and should they qualify for the later rounds, these will be played on the following dates:

  • Quarter Final – 12/13 Mar
  • Semi Final – 23/24 Apr
  • Final – 21 May

Arsenal and Man City remain in the Champions League, and qualification to the next round will result in fixtures on these dates:

  • Quarter Final -1st Leg – 5/6 Apr, 2nd Leg – 12/13 Apr
  • Semi Final – 1st Leg – 26/27 Apr, 2nd Leg 3/4 May
  • Final – 28 May

Similarly Tottenham in the Europa League:

  • Round of 16 – 1st Leg – 10 Mar, 2nd Leg – 17 Mar
  • Quarter Final – 1st Leg – 7 Apr, 2nd Leg – 14 Apr
  • Semi Final – 1st Leg – 28 Apr, 2nd Leg -5 May
  • Final – 18 May

Fixture clashes will result in Premier League ties being moved to an available date later in the season; most likely on a weekday between games where possible.

Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham

In 2012, Arsenal have scored 10 goals against Spurs. Two games, two 5-2’s and two easy victories. Tottenham started the game reasonably well, and has us on the back foot on the odd occasion, going 1-0 up through Adebayor early on with the chance to make it 2-0 within 15 minutes. Fortunately for Arsenal, Adebayor got himself sent off with an outrageous tackle, over the top of the ball, studs up, hitting Cazorla’s ankle/bottom part of the leg. It was a potential leg-breaker. And after Bale tried to push Wilshere around unsuccessfully, Adebayor received his marching orders.

This gave us the confidence and urgency we had perhaps lacked in the minutes prior to Spurs going down to 10. From that moment we really took control of the game, and at no point looked back. It was assuring to see us play so well, because even though it was against 10 men, they still had two banks of 4 for us to penetrate. Something we achieved 3 times in the first half. Firstly, Per Mertesacker headed home is first Arsenal goal after a nice bit of trickery and well worked cross from Theo. Next up, rather precariously, Podolski was able to get the ball in the far corner past Lloris, after a couple of deflections and misjudgements from Spurs. Thirdly, Cazorla got the assist with a nice run after being fouled but staying on his feet, round the defenders and crossing it in low where the long swooping leg of Giroud met it to make it 3-1. We went into half time head and shoulders above Tottenham who hadn’t even mustered up another shot on goal.

Once the second half was under way, AVB’s changes started to show as they tried to attack more (more than nothing). It seemed as if they could have the opportunities to get a goal or two, but any doubts were squashed when a long ball from Szczesny, was flicked on from Giroud, expertly controlled by Walcott, who then engineered a pass through to Podolski. Lukas crossed it first time and Cazorla was free towards the back post to hit it in fiercely with his right foot. 4-1 to the Arsenal.

We calmed down for a bit now, in an attempt not to completely humiliate Tottenham and destroy any dignity that they may have remaining. Much to the fans disgust they managed to steal back a goal when Bale drove one in to the bottom corner with his right foot from outside the box. Defenders should have done better in closing him down and stopping the shot, especially Mertesacker. An area in need of undoubted improvement. Tension was surrounding the stadium and given our recent loss of leads, it was understandable. We succeeded in keeping Tottenham at bay, and in stoppage time the pace of Chamberlain and Walcott prevailed. The Ox intercepted a Spurs pass and pushed on, Walcott kept ahead and it was essentially 2 on 1. Alex sought out Theo, and he finished it neatly across the keeper to round off a good game from him, and Arsenal. Another 5-2 against Spurs.

Kings of North London, again. This year will be our 18th year of finishing above Tottenham.