This weekend’s game against Tottenham is always the biggest fixture for Arsenal fans to look out for when the season starts, and this year the significance is even higher due to our respective League positions right now.
Arsene Wenger has been in charge for more North London derbies than anyone else, and this is his take on it. “The memory is always the huge passion before the game and the emotional state.” the Boss said. “That becomes a bit more agitated. I worked with Pat Rice when I arrived for many years, so he got me very quickly on that territory! It’s always a game that is a bit more emotionally charged because of the importance it has for us, the fans and everyone around the club. This season, if you look at the table, for us it’s a very important game.
“The players know because we’ve had many players who have been here for years. The good thing in sport is that you have to find a good balance between being rational and and emotional. As much as you have to certainly be emotionally-charged because of the importance of the game and needing to get the high energy level, once you’re on the pitch you have to be calm, focused and make good decisions. That’s why you can’t let the emotions take over. At the end of the day, it’s down to making good decisions on the football pitch.
And does Wenger agree that this is the biggest fixture of Arsenal’s season? “It’s the next one, so the next one is the biggest. It is a big game because we are behind in the table and we have to catch up. I must say that personally, it’s more important mathematically for us to come back as quickly as possible, rather than it being emotionally-charged. I’ve known the importance of this game for more than 20 years but for us, it’s an opportunity to come back in the table and get closer to the Champions League spots. That is the priority.”
It is the absolute priority. A defeat tomorrow will cast serious doubt on whether our new arrivals can repair our devastating away form, and they cannot afford to take time setlling in, we just need to go for Spurs throat right from kickoff and make sure of the points.