Make or Mar Derby
Arsenal’s only choice against Tottenham on Saturday is to win the match! Anything short of this could spell disaster for the team this season. Behind this statement is the fact that the team has thrown away more points than it has in its kitty.
Statistics have shown that this is the worst position Arsenal has ever been in after 11 games in 17 years. After last season’s disastrous start, the team picked themselves up and strung together a very impressive six match unbeaten run in which they picked up maximum points to move up the table.
That kind of consistency is lacking in the current side despite a decent start to the season in which they conceded only five goals in their first six matches of the EPL. Now, they are shipping goals like cadet sides making their case for a top four finish difficult to argue.
Tottenham Hotspurs represents the opposite of what is going on at the Emirates. While the ‘wise men’ at Arsenal are contented with making cautious investments in players’ acquisitions, the guys at White Hart Lane, consistently over the past six years have made considerable purchases. Quite unlike Arsenal, they held unto Luca Modric against a powerful onslaught from Chelsea. They gave a longer contract to their star wide man, Gareth Bale thereby ensuring he would only leave for the peak money.
In contrast to Arsenal, they refused to sell their best player to a rival in the EPL and still ensured they got good money for him. I must confess that I admire the negotiation skills at the Lane more than that of the so called geniuses at Arsenal.
Back to the derby, on one-on-one comparison of players, Arsenal shades it by a small margin but that counts for nothing in this type of match. While it is true that Arsenal came from two goals down to annihilate Spurs 5 – 2 last season, the former had ended up with the maximum points two years back after going down by two goals.
The foregoing indicates clearly that this is not a derby that could be taken for granted by Arsenal. Should they fail to win tomorrow, it would not be out of place to conclude, and safely so, that the Gunners would not make the top four this season!