I was just flicking through some old Tottenham vs Arsenal posts on JustArsenal when I saw the confirmed teams for last years fixture, and I found that there was not that much difference from this years encounter. Have a look at the pre-game preview:
Derby day is here Arsenal fans, and this one could be the most important in many years. A win for Arsenal today against our fierce local rivals will all but guarantee a top four finish for the Gunners. Arsenal would then be nine points ahead of fifth placed Spuds with a game in hand to boot.
If we don’t win, then Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United will give them the edge over us in the Premier League title race and with a trip to Chelsea and a home game against Man City coming up, you would have to say that we were out of the race unless a miracle occurred.
Arsenal have been given a boost by the return to action of our young English left back Kieran Gibbs. Apart from that, Olivier Giroud gets the nod ahead of Yaya Sanogo, with Arteta preferred to Flamini and Rosicky coming in to replace the injured Mesut Ozil.
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Cazorla, Rosicky, Podolski
subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Flamini, Gnabry, Sanogo
Arsenal will be hoping for another great performance from young Ox and will want to control the game with our fluent passing from the start. Spurs have gone for quite a solid side and the Gunners must stand up to the physical battle in order to make the superior quality count.
Naturally we won the game to confirm our position as North London’s finest (as usual!) but for those who don’t remember the game there is a hint for Thomas Rosicky to start this year as it was his goal that won us the game. Here is the review from Bob after the game….
Arsenal went in to this crucial north London derby knowing that they needed to win to stay level on points with Liverpool, who had easily beaten a very poor Man United earlier in the day. With injuries ravaging his squad, Arsene wenger started Podolski, Cazorla and Rosicky behind Giroud.
The Czech midfielder showed straight away why Paul Merson had said before the game that he should play every week, smashing a brilliant opening goal just a minute and 12 seconds after the kick off, the quickest ever against the spuds in the Premier League. Rosicky started and finished it after linking up with Chamberlain. Howitzer, Piledriver and rocket were the words that came to mind and the Gunners were off to the perfect start.
In the 14th minute, Podolski looked level as he raced on to a through ball but the linesman’s flag went up. It was a warning to Tottenham and they got another one a minute later when the Ox broke free, but the youngster made a right mess of his finish. But things were looking good for Arsenal. Of course they were pressing for an equaliser but it looked much more likely that we would hit them on the counter.
But as the second goal failed to come, we were getting pushed further and further back and it looked like would definitely need two. Podolski came close with a fierce shot from a narrow angle and the Ox blazed another one miles over, but halftime came with no more goals.
Early on in the second half, Szczesny made two handling errors and was really lucky that neither was punished and he owes Koscielny a drink for a brilliant block. But it was worrying how much we were sitting back and not offering much attacking threat to give them something to think about.
As the game wore on, though, Arsenal started to get their passing game going more and take some of the pressure of the defenders. Adebayor came close with a header, before Wenger brought on Flamini for Rosicky to shore up the side and ensure the points were coming home.
Wenger brought on Monreal for Podolski with 15 minutes left and we should have been 2-0 up because Vertonghen dragged Kos down in the box, but Arsenal don’t seem to get penalties, especially from Mike Dean. It was a bit nerve-wracking at times but the Arsenal defence did their job again and now we are right back in the title race after completing the treble over Tottenham.
There were 187 happy comments from JustArsenal readers after the game, and I am sincerely expecting the at least the same response this year after Saturday’s destruction of our rivals. The biggest difference I’m expecting is a much easier win than the 1-0 scoreline suggested last year,but I honestly don’t care what the score is, as long as we win!