After the rather mental happenings of Tuesday night, we now return our focuses to the league, and probably our Carling Cup semi final competition, Spurs. We’re over half way through a difficult month of football now. Our two games after this are Portsmouth and Everton away, all these games in the space of a week. It’ll probably be tougher than the Villa/Newcastle/Middlesbrough patch that saw us stumble a bit, but we’ve got our important players back match fit now and an almost injury free squad, so we’re better equipped to get results from these games. To still be top of the league at the start of the new year, after the run of fixtures we’ll have faced, will be quite some achievement, especially with Manchester United breathing down our necks the entire time. Although United have a far from straight forward run of fixtures coming up. In their next ten league games, they play Everton at home, Sunderland away, West Ham away, Spurs away and Manchester City at home, and Newcastle home and away. Not that we should be slacking off, mind, but I can see them dropping a few points in that period.
Spurs are having a resurgence of sorts at the moment. Since Ramos has taken over, they’ve lost two, drawn three and won seven in all competitions, including wins in their last three matches, taking them to the nosebleed heights of 12th in the table. It sickens me that a side that had as dismal a start to the season as Spurs had, who only recently managed to achieve more points than matches played, have jumped from 17th to 12th by winning two matches in a row. Shows you how shit the rest of the league is. Soon they’ll be in the UEFA Cup spots having won six of their first twenty games or something fucking stupid.
This is the first time Juande Ramos and Arsene meet in the North London derby, however they have been on the same touchline before, when we played Sevilla at Ashburton Grove and we won 3-0. Should be interesting. It is now over eight years since Tottenham beat Arsenal. In all North London derbies in all competitions since Arsene took over, we’ve won thirteen, drawn twelve and lost one. At home in the same period, we’ve won nine and drawn three. We’ve won eight of the last nine home North London derbies. The last time they beat us at home was fourteen and a half years ago.
Theo Walcott won’t be available for the squad after pussying out of the kick fest up north complaining of illness. He recovered from his knock against Steaua Bucharest though, and could conceivably make the bench. But Arsene said it’s unlikely. Eboue is back fit after his stretcher exit against Chelsea, shockingly. Denilson is of course suspended and won’t make the bench. Unless there are any last minute injuries, the team is pretty set in stone at the moment. And it’s a nice feeling. We could go full strength 4-4-2 or go 4-5-1 with Eboue on the right again, we’ll see. After his quiet game at White Hart Lane, I’d like to see a performance from van Persie in this match. Like, a two goal match winning performance. Just to truly announce his return. Or, Fabregas and Adebayor to bash in a couple more wonder goals. I’m not fussy. Ade has scored five times against Spurs in five starts against them. A continuation of that record would be handy.
Subs: Lehmann, Senderos, Diaby, Eboue, Bendtner.
They’re definitely missing Gareth Bale and some unpronounceable cunt until well into next year with long term injuries. Anthony Gardner may be back. Robbie Keane served the final game of his suspension and will return to the starting line up. Didier Zokora is suspended after his red card against Manchester City. They have a couple of players who are doubtful but I suspect Ramos’ complaints of having all of his defenders injured will end up being a bit of a smoke screen.