Derby weekend is here and boy do Arsenal need a good performance for so many reasons.
The main one, of course, is that the players owe the fans a good display in what has been a dismal season so far. A heated ‘clear the air‘ meeting was held on Tuesday so I’m expecting a kick on from that. If there isn’t one then I really don’t see how Arsenal can recover.
As the saying goes, ‘if you can’t raise your game for a derby than you shouldn’t play for the club’.
Bragging rights will once again be at stake and although Tottenham haven’t stepped out of our shadow (will never happen), they have been a lot more competitive over the last few years, currently sitting top of the Premier League. This should be incentive enough to step up their game because nobody likes to see their local rivals be successful.
The North London Derby brings back a lot of great memories. Who can forget the Thierry Henry solo goal in 2002, the title win at White Hart lane in 2004, the Dennis Bergkamp cut back and finish in Arsene Wenger’s first derby in 1996 even the back-to-back 5-2 victories in 2012? Nobody, that’s who.
Under Arsene Wenger the North London Derby always seemed a foregone conclusion as Tottenham historically struggled against us, the record of just eight defeats in 51 games being evidence of this.
We even created St Totteringham’s Day – a day we celebrated whenever it became mathematically impossible for Tottenham to finish above us in the league. This has been put on hold in the last few seasons, as Tottenham have held the upper hand in terms of league finishes. However, their fans truly believe there has been a power shift in the capital. Who they trying to kid?
Over the last few seasons we have had to watch as the current set-up at Tottenham have become the darlings of the English media, building a team around a core of English players. And, in Jose Mourinho, they have a serial winner and someone who has won it all domestically.
With Harry Kane they have one of the most prolific strikers in world football, and they have others who would walk into top teams in Europe. As much as I hate to say it the current set-up at Tottenham looks like a frightening one with the framework in place for genuine success.
It’s up to Arsenal to match their competitive spirit and ambition and show we are still the number one team in North London. A dismal defeat today and we will have to suffer for the next few weeks at least, enduring the endless taunts from their fans. That always stings.
For so many fans, the North London Derby is so much more than a game. It’s a war. And this weekend, north London is our battleground, are we ready to fight?