No ifs and buts – Arsenal just need to beat Tottenham

It has been a very long time since a North London derby has such massive significance as this one, and Arsenal are really going to have to pull out all the stops to take all three points from Tottenham this afternoon. The task of overtaking our noisy neighbours in the League seemed impossible just a couple of weeks ago, but suddenly a string of wins for us, and a couple of defeats for Spurs, and we could be right up their ‘proverbials’ if we win today.

But Unai Emery is trying to keep the players feet on the ground and is emphasising that the only important thing is to play your very best and win this game. Then we can talk about future possibilities. “Usually I’m not thinking about the ‘if’s.” he said. “I’m thinking in the present and the moment. We will prepare to deliver the best performance individually and collectively. We need to be strong and we need to be very concentrated over 90 minutes and we need to read different moments in 90 minutes. When we get our chances, we need to be efficient in attacking moments against them.”

And asked about the Top Four race, he again made it clear what his priority is. “That is the same. I want to enjoy each moment, I want to enjoy tomorrow, and I want to be very efficient in each moment. Tomorrow we will play and we will enjoy it. I know that if we win, if we can produce the best performance tomorrow, we will be happy and we are going to be better off in the table – but that is not my target today. My target today is to prepare for the match as best as possible and to take the best confidence in our gameplay. After, to help the players to do their best over 90 minutes on the pitch.”

The message is clear, there is no point in thinking about the consequences until the game is over. If we win this battle then we can really start dreaming of St Totteringham’s Day again, but even if we lose the war is still far from over. Let’s play our very best for the 90 minutes and see where it takes us.




  1. I agree with all you said but IMO, I don’t think it’s a good idea not thinking about the consequences until after the game.
    Klopp said what he uses to spur his players on is that if they don’t win the epl now, they may not get near it in years again. So if thinking about what you’ll lose will spur you on, why not do it

  2. One way to determine the potential of this fixture to go wrong /or right for us BASED ON FORM is to look at how both North London clubs have performed against Bournemouth in the premier league. We can laugh, jump and skip at beating them 5-1 but the truth is the spuds beat them 5-0

    Another way to determine the potential of this fixture to go wrong /or right is to look at how both North London clubs have performed against (arguably) the two best teams in the premier league. We drew with L’pool at home and got annihilated 5-1 at anfield; while the were beat 2-1 by L’pool.
    Against citeh we took a 2-0 beating although we all know that score could easily have been worse. The spuds were beat 1-0 by a Mahrez goal but watching that game it was citeh who held on when the spuds were giving as good as they got – they played better than the result suggests.

    Contrary to what many lead by blind emotion may believe – it’s the arsenal that have to raise our game today and meet fire with flamethrower. Why? because usually the spuds don’t play for the draw #COYG

    1. Sue am worried but I will wait until the end of the game. This approach hasn’t worked in the past so I hope we will do well

  3. Why would he bench auba and most importantly Ozil!!! I mean I’m so angry at this line up. No… Ozil is frustrating sometimes but he is on fire right now, this game comes at the perfect time for him to prove his critics wrong and emery wants to completely destroy his confidence when he’s finally showing hunger and interest again. I’m so frustrated right now

    1. ?? And Kolasinac!!! You’re not the only one who’s frustrated….. does this mean we’ll be getting hammered by half time? Then he’ll decide to change it?! Oh UE it’s the NLD…. I was hoping we’d start with our BEST players

      1. ? also playing Ramsey ,who is leaving and as no form whatsoever,and benching ozil whimlook quality on Wednesday night ,would have played kola on the left wing ahead of you know who .seems he doesn’t play players who have the best form but players who can run around looking busy but with no end product .could be a tough game

    2. I’m not an Ozil fan, but even i can see a case for starting for him. To be fair to Emery though, Ozil hasn’t performed well in a single big game so far so there is justification for leaving him out. Emery also couldn’t pick both of Auba and Laca, because it leaves us too off balance. My main issue is Mustafi at RB. Definitely a more defensive set up.

  4. I am alarmed at how many of the fans will be at Emerys throat if this unbalanced and odd line up gets beaten. Dangerous tactics to drop our most proflific scorer and our best defensive midfielder. My opinion of his start eleven is one of these words but I will not decide which til after half an hour of play: Bold, risky, brilliant, foolish. I worry though , I really DO with this line up.

  5. The one positive is we have a strong bench ,again on paper looks stronger than the starting line up ,bar cech .

    1. Trouble is though that on AVERAGE(STATISTICALLY) only about 7% of the bench ( 3 at most, out of 7 and then only for a minor part of the game) can influence the game. LEAVING YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE PLAYERS ON THE BENCH IS FRAUGHT WITH DANGER . I WILL NOT CRITICISE TIL I SEE HOW IT PANS OUT BUT I AM WORRIED. VERY WORRIED!

  6. This is crap Unai Emery is a mad man. Going into the game with a mindset of ” I don’t want to lose” goes against everything he said when joining our club. So frustrated.

  7. He’s laughable this Emery, Aubameyang, Ozil and Torreira should be the first names on the team sheet. He’ll bring them on but it’ll be to late.

  8. I would never show Tottenham that much respect even if I have a .38 revolver and they have an M16 rifle it would still be a shoot out. The fans deserve a fighting chance.

  9. no Auba no Torreira no Ozil I dont see it I hope I am wrong….but…Emery wants to win this game????

    1. Ozil can’t play against Top Teams
      Auba needs some rest. Lacazette is just as good.
      Auba is on the bench if we need him

      I agree with you on Torreira. He is one of our Top 3 players. He should have started.

  10. yes!! ramsey. Hope that will give you all hope with all the lack of belief in the manager and the team picked. we look like we have a plan.

  11. …Well Well Well – who’d have thought it would be going so sweetly for us – this stadium has been kind to us and long may it continue…

    *Mkhitaryan to score twice and to endear himself to the arsenal fans as he does so.

  12. Arsenal is waiting for a Spurs mistake and all are behind defending
    is this the plan? I hope is not ……Iwobi tell me when you are going to score?

    1. Take it easy, what more do you want? We are leading, do you think spurs wouldn’t come out aggressively on a north london derby after losing their two games? When last did we win away at spurs? And iwobi has been vey good, people like you are never satisfied.. Maybe there is a player you would rather be playing even if we loose.

  13. I hope Emery make some changes for the next 45′ or the next 45 minutes will be hell keep the faith…..

  14. Did Ramsey say “this is my play ground “when he scored ??
    We look vulnerable down that left side but so far so good .

  15. As usual, a call goes against us in a big game. Embarrasing refereeing. Clear offside. Just not surprised at this point.

    1. they ruined what should’ve been a comfortable 3 points. Everybody else put their bodies on the line today. Auba and Laca bottled it.

      1. Auba missed a penalty and a tap in from point blank range .
        When i complain about this guy people say he is our highest goal scorer . Nketiah wont miss this many chances .

      2. Exactly.. i am like midkemma etc. More on the edge about emery and always criticised emery because of özil but today he earned an A+ like you said.. but the strikers were a joke

  16. Can’t-miss the chances we did if you want to compete at this level. Emery got his set-up right because if we had capitalized on our chances this should have been a win.

    1. Emery gets an A+ today. All our defenders and midfielders A+.There is nothing more they couldve done to make our sorry strikers score. They are useless if they can’t hold their nerve in big matches. If they bottle it in NLD they will bottle in UCL (if we make it). Now I’m very pessimistic about United game. This was pretty deflating because this should have been a win and we should be one point behind Spurs.

      1. Emery picked that front 3 so how does he get an A+
        Another game iwobi starts another game he does absolutely naff all .spurs were there for the taking today .

        1. Emery set us up to win. I know a lot of people here just want their favorites to play but Emery knows how to get the result. First half was great and Iwobi worked hard in defense and got us up the pitch plenty of times. He had a good game. I have no idea why Iwobi is always the scapegoat on this site even when he plays well. Stop expecting Emery to choose lineups that make you happy personally. That’s not his job.

          1. Exactly RSH, it seems they will always hate on certain players no matter what. Iwobi played well, he even almost scored. Xxnofx would rather attack iwobi when its lacazette and aubameyang that drew us that game. They just want emery to choose their favourite players no matter what. Nonsense sentimentalities!!!

          2. How many passes did iwobi complete today ?
            How many shots on target ?
            You also said he worked hard in defence ,he does not track back at all if you watch him closely ,and he’s not always the scapegoat it’s just that he dosent offer us anything .

            1. He had two tackles, multiple dribbles in advanced areas, only dispossessed once. And I bet if I find a chart on his average position this game It’ll be near our own half. Iwobi fit perfectly into Emery high energy/high press setup. Auba and Ozil were the other options and that’s not what they are best at and Emery saved them for later in the match.

              1. I’m not going to get into another argument about him because fans get over sensitive when he’s metioned ,so I’m not going to mention him for the rest of the season .if you’re happy watching that kind of player then that’s youre choice .spurs were there to be beaten today and emery didn’t take the chance with the quality we had in the bench .

      1. Now we are forced to beat United if we want to have a chance. If we get 4 points from these two matches we are still in a great postiion, but this Spurs match was such a great chance and we blew it. Ref did too, but when you get a soft pen in 90th min and don’t take it the blame is back on us.

    1. Ozil would’ve kept a cooler head. Auba was the worst option. He’s already missed for us this season. I immediately knew he was going to miss. He’s not the guy who scores a penalty in the 90th minute.

    1. At this point im just glad it’s over. What a disaster that turned out to be. Result-wise it’s fine. But after seeing the game it’s the missed opportunity of our season and if we dont make UCL this will be the one game we look back on.

      1. Totally gutted RSH….. a draw is no good to us….
        Just like to say thanks & well done to Rambo… how the NLD will miss him ?

        1. Really wish Ramsey’s was the winner. Would’ve been a nice parting gift, but oh well. And a draw will only be good for us only if we get 3 against united. If not, we’ll be ruing this missed opportunity and our chances are very slim from there. So frustrating. We never seem to capitalize on big chances. Been like that for years and I think this is why I knew Auba was going to miss. Arsenal just find ways to make it harder for everybody.

    1. You arent getting the point ??‍♂️ its not about the lineups its about the post where the match is being discussed, and on the day of the NLD there absolutely has to be a post about the match.. the discussion was spread between the featured post and this post.. if you dont get the point just leave and keep hating iwobi

      1. I agree with Krish.

        I was actually building my own blog site similar to this, but decided against it in the end, because I couldn’t guarantee regular posts. I have huge respect for Admin for this great site, but you have to keep it consistent. No lineup article, or/and review of the game (an hour after it finished as I write this), is very surprising. Hopefully a good reason for it, and I hope it’s nothing serious.

  17. auba’s demeanor whilst lining up to take his penalty was most telling – he was sweating profusely and like many here our nightmare became a reality – we’re back to the matter of consequences and the consequences of not putting spurs to the sword are not good because this evening we can expect to be 5th placed – europa league material – that’s a reality check if ever there was one.

    1. I agree. He looked a bag of nerves, and you almost knew what was going to happen. It reminded me of that poor one he took against City last season. Xhaka or Miki should be ahead of Auba from now on for pens.

      1. …basically he’s good for now …but we need an additional younger, deadlier striker to emerge because he will never forget the opportunity he had but wasted. Strangely had rambo or ozil taken that penalty i think we’d all be in a different place right now.

  18. I get Torreira’s red card – he has responsibility for the welfare of opponents. Tough but the right call. But by the same logic, I’d like a referee to explain why Rose was still on the pitch after his incident with Leno.

    And don’t blame the linesman for not seeing the English Golden boy’s offside – the two other Spur’s players who were offside blocked his view…

    Feels like two points dropped which speaks volumes. Will done to the boys and Emery.

    1. Not true. The linesman was a yard and a half behind the play. Look at it again and you will see I am right.

      1. That was my attempt at sarcasm Jon. I was pointing out that the linesman missed three players offside, not just one. And yes you are right, his positioning was poor.

  19. Top 4 is still within our graps and a draw today isnt a bad result. Only the way it happen is unacceptable to us all but the form our players are right now is what we need. I wouldnt trust ozil or miki to take the penalty, would rather prefer toreira or xhaka, hope we get it right against united.
    Our strikers needs to start watching some vidoes on our to shoot. Compare Kane penalty to Auba,cant remember numbers of penalty Kane has scored us, no miss yet

  20. Draw with Spuds is a good result for us because they are a better team with better players.

    I’m happy with today’s result. Could have done without the red though

      1. It is a good result, you can hardly say a draw away at Tott is bad when you see the teams that they’ve beaten this season. We should and could have won this game, only the rub of the green was with Tott because the penno they got should not have stood whereas Auba’s penno should’ve been retaken due to Sanchez. The players really gave it a good go, all these games in a short space of time can be very difficult, so to go away on the last one at a top six side and not lose as well as looking the better team, I have to say well done lads, and chin up Auba you are having a top season and there is time to still make up for this uncharacteristically bad spot kick. Lacazette too could’ve put the game to bed before we got that penno, it was just not to be, but we come out of this game with stronger character if you ask me.

        1. Let’s face it, we weren’t expected to win this (with our awful away form) I too had my doubts, leaving Kolasinac, Torreira, Ozil & Auba out! But we did alright & Ramsey gave us the lead… we missed chances… they were lucky… the ref/linesmen were awful (as usual) then we had that penalty…. omg we weren’t going to get a better chance to sink them!! So I’m sorry BOT you can say it to me until you’re blue in the face that a draw away against the spuds isn’t a bad result..but I don’t agree.. it was ours for the taking & needless to say we didn’t take it… gutted

  21. These type of draws feel like a loss. We should have won that no problem…. the first tweet I saw said ‘The Gabonese sonic the hedgehog just cost Arsenal 3 points’ ? Oh Auba….. ?
    I have to say I had my doubts when I saw the team news, but was pleasantly surprised (for about 73 minutes anyway)
    They could afford to drop points, we couldn’t. End of. Still a 4 point gap…
    I know Kane’s goal shouldn’t have been, but what on earth was Mustafi thinking!!! And Auba…. oh Auba of all the times to have a penalty saved… disappointed right now….

    1. Aubameyang threw all our hopes down the drain. I had a bad feeling about this game and I even stopped watching on the 30th minute. Then to learn Auba wasted such a crucial penalty. Sigh, we are not good enough to get back in the champions league.

      1. He sure did…. was so gutted QD…That really is an opportunity missed. Right now I can’t see us getting anything next week… i know it’s at home, but look how many times they’ve done us over there

  22. Emery has shown that he is the right man to take Arsenal forward. He knows more than the fans ever will, he knows more than the players, the pundits, them all. He is not afraid to make the big calls and he knows tactics. I can’t wait to see what he can do with some good money spent and a director of football finding him better players to bring Arsenal forward. The only problem is that fans have their favorites and they do not know tactics, so they’ll use any and every excuse against him, which is to Arsenal’s detriment.

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