Build-up to North London derbies is usually fraught with a gamut of emotions; excitement, nervousness, disbelieving head-shaking as Spurs go on ego-massaging trips and superior sniggers as they trip on the field. Well, that’s what they did until a few years ago at least. This new and improved Spurs are disappointingly far removed from a traveling circus and resemble a football team like few of their predecessors ever did.
Plus, if build-up is fraught with players legging it for Russia…
Arshavin’s Zenit return is confusing, confusing, confusing
I think it merits the trio of repetitions given above. Arshavin has always had a penchant for the dramatic, and when the clock struck midnight on Russian transfer deadline day, our diminutive Cinderella from Leningrad sped off to the ball. A loan deal with Zenit was penned which has the Russian club paying the entirety of Arshavin’s wages for the remainder of the year, and a 1 million pound extraneous fee.
It beggars belief that we chose this time to make this transfer. Instead of in January, when a replacement might have been sought in time, or in the summer, Arsenal send one of their senior creative players out on loan practically on the eve of the most important North London derby in years; at a time where Arsenal need all the cavalry they can get, even midget horses with fractured confidence.
Unless Gazidis and co. have a large, laminated sheet reading ‘How to cock up transfer dealings in a pool of black hilarity’, I don’t think the club had a lot to do with this move. The player asked for the move, and the club obliged. Arshavin wanted playing time with the Euros looming large, and for all the eyes on the world it seemed like the manager wasn’t willing to give it to him; a humbling outing for the reserves against Norwich surely being the nadir of an already declining career.
Many fans will berate Arshavin for choosing the easy way out by cavorting off to Zenit instead of working hard at Arsenal and climbing back up the pecking order. Now leaving aside the fact that climbing up pecking orders takes time, something which was apparently scant in Arshavin’s case, I don’t see Arshavin as the giving up kind. The bloke has roughed it out in Russian snowdrifts, and I never saw his head dropping because we were behind in a game. He might be naturally lazy, but never has he thrown in the towel; his loping gait persisted till the final whistle. So why would he suddenly say ‘fuck it’ and go back to Ze Motherland? Especially when it seemed like he was gaining some semblance of semi-form that might see him return to the shushing Arshavin of old. So does that mean the club did have more to do with the transfer than the player? Was this a culling, Arsenal being ruthless and shipping a player who wasn’t applying himself off their wage-list, with a clause for a permanent deal included in the deal?
It’s all confusing with a capital Q. Trying to validate the deal in any way will makes my head spontaneously combust, so I shall stop. Andrey, lest this be the last time I see you as ‘Goonar’, thanks for many, many memories and keeping the display pictures of all social networking profiles of mine well-endowed for months on end. Cheers.
We’re underdogs at home in the derby
It’s unprecedented, not without reason and frankly a bit pissing off. We’ve come an awful long way from Cesc saying that the Arsenal women’s team would give the Totts a go; the ladies would probably give this current Arsenal team a go. We’ve gone from a team who had forgotten how to lose against Spurs to a bunch who just can’t seem to garner that elusive win now; just one win in the last seven Premier League games against TheChickenOnTheVolleyball screaming out ‘not good enough’.
Looking at it as an isolated occurrence (derbies so often are), we have a good enough team to beat them. Even with the Sunderland minefield leaving us short in midfield and defence, and all Tottenham players magically returning from injuries like true minions of the tax-evading demigod that they are. Both teams played badly at White Hart Lane earlier this season, and only a Kyle Walker flukey-fluke took home the three points for them. Going on current form, we deserve to be underdogs, but looking at the team-sheets, I don’t think so.
Which is why I hope there will be some fire in bellies today, some frothing at the mouth at the putting down of us by all and sundry. Fight for every ball, be clever when you have it and diligent when you don’t, kick the chimp up in the air, take your chances and add an iota of cheer to desperately depressed Arsenal households. Do that Arsenal, will you?
And irrespective of the result, will everyone please mind that gap?
This post also appeared on BigFourZa------------
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