Tottenham may be above Arsenal in the League right now, but the Gunners are still hot favourites to win, which is backed up by the betting signals from Stratabet. The reason for this is obvious when you find that Tottenham have won only once in their last 24 visits to Arsenal.
This could be due to the highly-charged atmosphere from the fans when Spurs come to visit, as Saturday’s North London derby is THE big game for most London Arsenal fans, with the bragging rights over your Spurs-supporting friends being one of the highlights of every season. Not to mention the rivalry epitomised by the St. Totteringhams Day banter at the end of every season, except for that awful last campaign of course!
But this rivalry was created in the days when the players for the respective teams were local lads that had been taught to loathe our much-less-noisy neighbours as much a part of their upbringing in their area. But nowadays, with the majority of our players now coming from overseas, they don’t have the same desire to beat to beat our local rivals as much as the fans do.
According to the Gunners legend Lee Dixon, we just have to admit that the derby is not so vital to the players any more. “Do they still have them up against the wall? I don’t think that happens any more,” Dixon moaned.
“The intensity of the fixture has died away in the dressing room a little bit. It’s important that someone rekindles that.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, there’s been teams in the past, which have had players who had more desire to win a game. No doubt about that.
“I think pretty much Arsene would say the same. I don’t care what he says publicly.
“That is obvious. Now whether that’s the modern game, other teams have got players with more desire in other teams.
“It’s not a foreign thing.
“We had players like Patrick Vieira. He’s foreign. He had desire. It’s not about the foreign players in the game.
“It’s difficult to put your finger on it. You’ve got to find the players out there who have that desire in them.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult for everybody, because the modern player is a little bit softer than the player in the past, because hunger and desire go hand-in-hand.
“Will the Tottenham players on Saturday have the same intensity of the Tottenham players that we played against? It’s just the way the game has gone. The Tottenham-Arsenal rivalry is different.
“The foreign player influence makes a difference in that respect — if I played for Inter Milan against AC Milan, then I wouldn’t have the same feeling for it if I was a north London boy, playing for Arsenal against Tottenham.”
Well perhaps Arsenal do have some players that would have that feeling. The first obvious ones are Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, who have both been at the club for over 10 years and have both been reprimanded for Anti-Spurs comments in the past. The problem is that neither of those are likely to even start the game on Saturday as they have been moved down the pecking order.
Perhaps Wenger will realise this and play them at some point in the game, but otherwise we will have to rely on the passionate supporters to give the encouragement to whichever players are on the pitch, but it is hardly going to have the same intensity for the players….