Arsenal vs Tottenham: It Doesn’t Get Much Bigger Than This
Arsenal travel up the seven sisters road to play Tottenham at S*ite Hart Lane tonight in what could be a season defining game for either club. This must be the most important North London derby in years.
An Arsenal victory will not only sustain their title challenge, but will also severely dent their rivals hopes of finishing fourth. Something I’m sure all Gooners will enjoy immensely. Likewise, a Tottenham victory will see them take a huge step towards qualifying for the champions league next year as well as all but ending Arsenal’s quest for the premier league title. It doesn’t get much more important than this!
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Robin Van Persie is available and will be in the squad which is a massive boost for Arsenal. It’s likely he will start on the bench though as it would be a huge risk to throw him in from the start in a game of this magnitude.
“He is in the squad for tomorrow’s game,” revealed Arsène Wenger at his pre-match press conference.
“It’s a bit premature maybe [for Van Persie to start the game] so I will see but he is in the squad. I haven’t picked the team yet.
“When I pick a player it means he is fit and sharp and has worked very hard. Of course he lacks match-practice but physically he is ready, he is fit.”
If we can get him on for 20 minutes, get him some match time that would be a huge bonus. We have missed him during the last 6 months, there’s no doubt about that. Arsenal averaged over 3.3 goals per game in the league with him playing, without him that went to below 1.7. I firmly believe if Van Persie had stayed fit we would be the ones sitting at the top of the table.
But let’s not expect too much from him. He has been out a long time and won’t come back on carry on where he left off. He will need a bit of time to get back into the swing of things and with only 5 games remaining, perhaps RVP’s return has come a couple of games too late to push Arsenal onto title glory.
After Chelsea were gifted yet another 3 points last night it looks like lady luck is shinning down on the boys from the bridge and they have one hand on the trophy. If being given a match-winning goal that was 3 yards off-side at Old Trafford wasn’t enough, Chelsea got away with 2 blatant hand balls in their penalty box last night. Truly unbelievable how the officials missed them both. With that kind of luck, does the best team always win the league? I’m not so sure. The sooner video technology is used for important decisions the better. Just from those 3 situations, Chelsea could have at least 4 less points than they currently do now. Obviously it’s not as easy as that, and nobody knows what the outcome of either game would have been, but you can’t deny that Chelsea have had huge slices of luck when it has mattered most. And i don’t buy into that it evens itself out over the season, it’s impossible that EVERY team gets an equal amount of decisions go both for them and against them.
Anyway, if Arsenal are to have any chance of toppling Chelsea they must win tonight….simple. A draw combined with Chelsea suffering defeats at both Anfield and S*ite Hart Lane could still land us the title as long as we won our other 4 matches, but that’s a lot of ‘if’s’. Let’s beat the scum, go second and put some pressure on Chelsea. Don’t hand them the title, make them work for it.
Obviously the big team news for Arsenal is that Robin Van Persie returns, most likely on the bench. Arsene Wenger also confirmed that Alex Song has been ruled out for the next 2 games, which is another blow as this means Denilson will start, and he joins Arshavin and Gallas on the sidelines.
“Song is out. Definitely out,” confirmed Wenger at his pre-match press conference.
“He looks like he will be out for the whole week and over the weekend he will not play as well.”
“Arshavin is out. [It could be the] Man City [game] for him, but I don’t think he will make it,” said the manager.
“Gallas is not available for the next two or three weeks. I don’t know [if he will play again this season]. I hope so, but it will be short for him.”
Sol Campbell will return to Arsenal’s starting line-up and will be in for a hot reception from the home crowd. I hope they don’t take things too far, we expect a bit of banter, but let’s keep it at that.
Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
So a very similar line-up to the team that played Barcelona, with Campbell coming in for Silvestre. If we can get some support up to Bendtner we will cause them problems. If Walcott does play, it will be an interesting battle down that side with Bale who is lightning quick himself and likes to bomb forward down the left wing. So Theo will have to do his fair share of tracking back and help out Sagna. For this reason i wouldn’t be surprised to see Eboue in from the start, just to offer a little bit more protection down the right.
Campbell will have to use all his years of experience to not only deal with a hostile crowd, but the lanky England goal-machine Peter Crouch, who does like a goal against Arsenal.
The last time Tottenham beat Arsenal in the league, Sol Campbell was playing for them. That’s 10 years ago so we’ve had a whole decade of bragging rights. It must hurt to be a Spurs fan, i couldn’t imagine not beating them for 10 years! Of course they will bring up the 5-1 joker cup win over the kids, but you’ve gotta give them something…just to keep it interesting.
No prediction for tonights game, but i think it will be a very close. Maybe a game that will be decided by a game-changing substitution?
Who will win tonight? Will RVP’s return inspire Arsenal to victory? Or will Tottenham end our title hopes?
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