Usually a home game against the bottom team in the league, who have taken 5 points from 9 games wouldn’t be greeted with such trepidation, rather everyone would be gearing up for another goal-fest and further proof that Adebayor can’t score against the big teams.
This is different. No matter what some (myself included, admittedly) may say about matches against the likes United and Chelsea being bigger and more important, a North London derby against Tottenham is still a massive, massive affair, and understandably so.
And to add further spice, Spurs, enduring a torrid start to the season, despite another season of big money spending, have just sacked the manager who was tipped to finally bring a top four finish, and have brought in another manager who is widely tipped to….er,,,finally bring a top four finish. Quite why Harry Redknapp, a self proclaimed Arsenal fan, would leave a stable and relatively successful club like Portsmouth, for Tottenham of all places, is a puzzle to most, but fact is, he’s there, and teams always seem to perform with renewed fire and vigour under new management.
Back in 2004, Spurs had made an unconvincing start to the season, and rather suddenly, fired Jacques Santini, who had taken over the helm in the close season. In came Martin Jol, and his first game was against……Arsenal at White Hart Lane. That game featured trademark comedy defending from both teams, and ended in a ridiculous 5-4 win for the then defending champions, and Gooners will be hoping for something a bit similar today, if not as stressful.
More recently, the Lane was the scene of a quite traumatic evening as we lost 5-1 in the Carling Cup, and Arsenal fans, eager to banish that result as little more than a freak, can be forgiven for expecting more than fully committed performances from the players.
Team news – Adebayor will likely be restored to the starting line-up ahead of Bendtner after being rested in midweek, as could Sagna, though it might not be surprising to see Eboue start ahead of him. Denilson returns to the squad, though many would prefer to see Song retain his place alongside Cesc, after an impressive showing at Upton park. Gallas and Silvestre could start at the back against though Toure is fit again. You have to wonder though, how long Vela has to wait for more Premiership minutes…..
Sagna Gallas Silvestre Gael
Theo Cesc Song Nasri
Adebayor Van Persie
Anyway, regardless of the circumstances of the match, we have had an unconvincing start to the season, and pretty much every game is a must-win from here on. So come on you GUNNERS!!!
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