Archive for September 15th, 2007

Beat Spurs, and I will believe we can win the title

Add comment September 15th, 2007

It sounds a little simplistic in that headline, but it’s something that has been brewing in my mind for some time. Our impressive start to the season has so far included just one away game – going to our neighbours when they desperately need a victory is a significant test. But if we can come away with three points, it will confirm what I’m starting to believe about this team: that they have the mental toughness to launch a sustained assault on the Premier League title.

Their ability is not in question. Toure, Fabregas and Van Persie form a spine to rival any in the division. Our passing game is second to none, and we’re starting to add a killer instinct to a side that has previously lacked obvious match-winners. The most notable example of that is Cesc, who is adding goals to a game that already possessed pretty much everything else.

The manner in which we start the game today will be crucial. It’s certain that Spurs will come at us early on. We have avoid any International hangover and get straight back into the swing of things – if we keep the ball well enough, their frantic start will prove to be their undoing as they tire of chasing us.

Looking at the team we’re likely to field, I suspect Tottenham will target the potential weak links of an out-of-position Gilberto Silva and a hurriedly-promoted Manuel Almunia. However much we might despise them, Keane and Berbatov are two of the most accomplished strikers around, and Gilberto and Almunia will need to be at their best if we’re to hold firm at the back.

With Sagna and Clichy at full-back, Aaron Lennon playing wide doesn’t worry me. I’d be far more concerned if Jol seeks to take advantage of Gilberto’s absence from midfield by dropping Lennon into the hole behind two strikers. This is where his tricky feet could cause most damage, and Mathieu Flamini will have to be alert to the any danger posed.

The rest of our midfield (Hleb, Rosicky, and Fabregas) just have to do what they do best: pass and move. As I said before, keeping the ball is the key to victory today,

Upfront, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor have more than enough ability to cause Spurs plenty of problems. Adebayor in particular seems to have a real relish for scoring against Spurs, with three last season alone. Furthermore, an in-form Eduardo gives us a genuine option from the bench.

Spurs have spent a lot of money this Summer (making these claims by Martin Jol all the more laughable), and will be no pushover. After their terrible start to the season, they deperately need a morale-boosting victory against their biggest rivals. But if this Arsenal team perform to their potential, Spurs won’t have an answer. And if we take three points, then tomorrow you’ll hear me discussing this side as contenders in the title race.

Yesterday afternoon I managed to secure a ticket for the game. I’m ridiculously excited.

Come on Arsenal.

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