Sep 022013

This isn’t quite going to the script, is it?

There was a moment yesterday that left me open-mouthed. Listening to the game on Five Live (a preferable option to most Sky commentators), with around ten minutes to go, our 1-0 lead over Spurs was being described as the ‘surprise of the season’, as if we were some plucky club leading a Premiership giant in the cup, hanging on by the tips of our fingernails. If that doesn’t speak of a narrative, I’m not sure what does.

Reality does not always sit in line with the populist story. In this case, Spurs were supposedly going to rampage through the league with their battery of new signings, putting in a serious title challenge while leaving Arsenal in their wake (stop me when you’ve heard this before). At the same time, a club that has finished above them for 16 successive years despite many such tales and premonitions, and put ten goals past them in the preceding two equivalent fixtures, had absolutely no chance of winning a home game.

The script was pre-written, just as it was against Fenerbahce, a tie some were almost willing us to lose so that they could fill their boots with juicy attacks and conclusions of dire failure and incompetence. This time, it was all about the fabled power shift, and how the transfer tactics of the two clubs (opposites as they have been so far this summer) fell completely and utterly in the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bracket. In fairness, Wenger did set himself up for a fall a little in his press conference on Friday, when he spoke of how only the actions on the pitch really mattered. Had we lost the game, those words may have come back to haunt him.

But we did not lose the game, nor did we deserve to. The final moments may have been gritty, determined and tight, but the first seventy saw us in complete control. The game could have been over by half time and 1-0 flattered Spurs at the break, Giroud’s neat finish after a fine team move showing the value of having players on the same wavelength, with an understanding that only continuity can bring. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not using the game as evidence that signings should not have been made by now, but as Wenger himself said, throwing a collection of fresh signings straight into a team does not always make for a cohesive display.

Once again, Giroud led the line magnificently, and the midfield were terrific, including Flamini, who hustled, harried and most importantly led once he came on for his second club debut. Wenger again referenced the fact that players are too often judged based solely on their price after the game, joking that he wished Flamini has cost £25m to satisfy some quarters.

A fair point indeed – Flamini may not have been the most inspiring signing at first glance, but a 29 year old player with a big heart in a position we needed more numbers in is a bit of a no brainer, particularly when you can capture him on a free. For me, the discontent was never really about Flamini in any case, but the fear that his signing meant that the chequebook was closed, and the squad gaps would be filled only with stopgap solutions. A welcome signing if it supports others, less so if it the only business conducted.

Today, of course, we will see what the summer leaves us with, as the transfer window finally closes. I’m not going to speculate on the action we may do, I don’t have any insider knowledge of any kind and doubt I would share it anyway if I did, but it is likely to be busy for a lot of clubs and worth keeping an eye on. Some staggering names have been mentioned but the nature of the beast means I’m not getting excited until official announcements are made. That is the plan, anyway.

But, as Wenger said, the most important thing is what happens on the pitch, and since the Villa aberration, the players have responded magnificently, with four impressive and deserved wins moving us into September in pretty good shape. Of course, it was always reasonable to think we would start the season well, despite what large sections of the press told us. This is, after all, the same crop of players that ended last season so strongly, and with no major departures in the summer, there was no reason to think we wouldn’t hit the ground running once again. The worry has always been what happens in November when we’re short of 5-6 players through injury, a concern that could still do with being alleviated today. We shall see.

But yesterday was not about transfers (except to laugh at the mediocrity of some of that shower’s recruits). It was about showing our neighbours that they can’t just expect to waltz past us because they’ve been flashing their knickers around Europe all summer like Jodie Marsh on holiday. Our belts might be tighter and our lips more sealed, but class will out.

North London is red. As always.

  22 Responses to “Arsenal 1-0 Spurs: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it”

  1. Reading a couple of the yids sites today, yes someone has to, one was complaining that Cazorla was a dirty player and deliberately injured Capoue. In my opinion’ yesterday Arsenal showed some guts and really wanted to win, more of that please.

    • Cazorla? Dirty? Now I’ve heard it all…

      I too loved seeing the team spirit – there is something brilliant in this core of players. I think the only concern we all have is depth – if that got addressed we’d be looking VERY good.

    • The ‘yids’ will always have a moan about our players, or how we are still “Lucky Old Arsenal”. The ‘Spuds have spent a small fortune on a crew that looked clueless. And to what avail? Today will be crucial as the last day of transfers.We still need a ‘fox’, and a second ‘experienced’ back-up keeper (though wasn’t Szczesny fantastic yesterday?), but I was proud of the energy and the intelligent passing techniques we showed.

  2. Tottenham’s new signings didn’t all play. Arsenal were at home. Tottenham had more shots and more possession. It was 1-0. Long season ahead.

  3. I’m amazed at the comments I read about how this win by a small margin of one goal proves that you don’t need to spend to improve. AVB did not use all the players Spurs have bought and will not yet have decided on his best first 11. Besides that new players can take time to bed in. Erik Lamela stepped off a plane 2 days before the game, Ericcson was too new to play at all as was Chiriches and this game was only 3 games into the new season anyway. Come the return leg at WHL I am confident Spurs will take Arsenal apart. If Arsenal really do believe that this game, this early proves you not need to spend then they are in for a big shock. The only thing that has been proven in the last few weeks is that every player Wenger has gone for has chosen to go elsewhere instead of join a team going nowhere.

    • I say:

      “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not using the game as evidence that signings should not have been made by now”

      You say:

      “I’m amazed at the comments I read about how this win by a small margin of one goal proves that you don’t need to spend to improve”

  4. This is exactly the reaction that is the only good thing to come out of losing to you lot yesterday. You now think that we have wasted money, we aren’t a threat and you don’t need strengthening. When in fact you camped in your own half at home against a team of new players that have had no time playing together and new players we have brought didn’t even play. You took us apart at the emirates last season, really nice football that we could t handle, yesterday 4 CB’s on to cling on. Spurs lacked that cutting edge upfront that comes with time, yesterday was your squad at its apparent full strength and you was poor, really poor.

    • Actually I said pre-season that I didn’t see Spurs as a threat. Some of your signings are pretty decent, but I cannot see the group of them doing what Bale did for you last season, particularly towards the end.

      Of course I’m biased, but in the last ten games I saw a set a very average performances rescued by late wonder goals, and you’ve now lost that player.

      We know what it is like – we had to replace van Persie’s efforts, and you cannot do that with one player. So, like I say, despite a couple of your players having the pedigree, I don’t feel you are any better than you were last season, and given that we haven’t lost anyone, I don’t see the status quo being affected.

      By the way, camped in our half? Which keeper made all the saves again (bar one at the end)?

      • If you really can’t see the difference between us this season and last season then I don’t think you really watched us play against the ‘smaller’ teams last season. Sandro was awesome at the start of season, we lost him through long term injury and we had no cover for him, it changed how we had to set up, As amazing as Bale was last season when he moved all across the front 3 apart from Lennon we had no wingers, no width at all, siggy tried but he ain’t a winger, we even had Dempsey playing left wing at some point. Then we move to the middle, we never replaced modric,
        that door unlocker which hopefully this season with eriksen and holtbys progress we can find again. Then the strikers, only bale was scoring, soldado brings something different upfront, a proven finisher that with the right supply can get a lot of goals. Then defence, we made some disgusting mistakes last season, we had a young inexperienced caulker, an old waste of space Gallas, a long term injured kaboul, and our best CB vertoghen playing left back. Then lloris has had his settling in season and like yesterday will be quality.

        Arsenals first 11 could win the league, no doubt at all, but a squad with depth wins you leagues. With all those problems that we had you still only finished 1 point ahead. You don’t sound like a knuckle dragging gooner you make a good arguement, but you are a fickle bunch sometimes, calling for wengers head every 3 months. Come the end if the season I think you might be surprised, you might spend 45m on Ozil today but it won’t paper over your injured and you hopefully this season (I know we say this every season) won’t be relying on spurs messing things up like we do best.

        Sorry for essay I just got the day off work and sick of watching bale on, SSN, it’s like finding a home video of your girlfriend cheating on you.

        • Tell me you weren’t slightly entertained by Bale completely failing to do keepy-uppys though…

          You make a lot of sense, and it is true that you had issues last season but as we’ve (painfully) learnt, those things aren’t anomalies – we’ve been saying for years that it’ll click ‘when everyone is available’ but the reality is that never happens. Our depth is certainly our biggest weakness, particularly as we don’t have the layers of youth waiting to step in at the moment (we have some, but the numbers are thinner, particularly at the back), but I think you may have similar problems this time out.

          The couple of signings I was alluding to when I said you’d added some decent buys were Eriksen and Lamela (the former in particular is a steal at that price). I just feel that a lot of them will have a settling in season and you’ll actually be a lot better set for 2014/15 than this season. In that regard I feel we’ve got the advantage because I felt the difference yesterday was the understanding our players have.

          I’m not one to automatically write you guys off – one of these seasons you will finish above us, it is bound to happen. It may even be 14/15 if 3-4 of these signings settle in and kick on in their second season (as it appears Giroud is doing for us). I just have a good feeling that you won’t manage it this year.

          • Well you can never tell what will happen I suppose, it’s the beauty and pain of following football. At least you have restored my faith that some gooners can have a sensible chat with a spurs fan. In an ideal world we both would be fighting each other for the title with no Russian/ Arab play toys involved, will FFP achieve this, I doubt it very much. Good luck with the season, see you at the lane in march

            I honestly could do keepy uppy better than bale, maybe not with that many people watching but still I did laugh. I wish him luck but I really feel he will be a flop.

  5. I wish some-one would explain the offside rule to me as Giroud was offside when the ball went out to the wing but not when it was crossed?
    Do not say he was not interferring with play as he went on to score so he must have been in play

    • Different phases, which I’ll admit is one of the stupidest rules introduced in the last few seasons.

      I see offside a bit like handball – black and white. You’re either on or off. It either hit your hand or it didn’t.

  6. I am pleased you Gooners are getting so carried away with a 1-0 win we are on the same points and can only get stronger as the season goes on, you also have to come to the Lane.

    • We’re not getting any more carried away than you would be. Bear in mind we were written off this season, even more so after the opening day defeat. Four wins later, and people are starting to realise that this is the same set of players that went on a remarkable run at the end of last season.

      We have depth issues, no-one is denying that (nor did I in this piece), but if you can’t enjoy a derby win, you might as well give up looking for fun in the game. You’d be the same.

  7. Hahahahaha I believe that any Spurs fan who thought they are close to us better watch the match again. You have Hugo to thank for the solitary goal margin. And I suppose if spurs had won through a gritty one nil they would have been vilified right? The truth is YOU ARE FOREVER IN OUR SHADOWS no matter how much you spend!

  8. By the way, this seasons November injury list started in August, they will all be back by November!! Then see what happens!! As for the Tiny Totts, not a bad team on paper, mediocre Manager who thinks he’s Mourinho, but Stoke City look better than them.It looks like its up for grabs for us vs the Scousers again this season. May history repeat itself.

    • Oh you do have deluded gooners visiting this page tho,we have deluded spurs fans on our blogs too. Looks like its a battle with stoke for 11th place for us this season then.

  9. Lucky for Arsenal Oliver is myopic or else Spurs would have had a penalty and Arsenal down to 10

  10. Danny you need a brain transplant

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