Sunday, 16 March 2014

Spurs vs Arsenal: Match Preview

We really should be winning this.

You can’t take anything for granted in football, but if we fail to win this then I think we’ll be more like top four contenders than title challengers. We haven’t won at White Hart Lane since 2007, and there won’t be a better and more important opportunity to break that streak than now.

Tim Sherwood’s Tottenham is a desperately pathetic side. Their players aren’t spearheaded by Gareth Bale anymore, the manager has lost faith and they just lost 3-1 to Benfica. And agent Sherwood is a Gooner who is doing a fantastic job of killing the side so far. You really wouldn’t find a weaker time to catch them, really. And judging on Mourinho’s result at Villa Park, you wouldn’t find a better time.

I know that Chelsea slipping up means that if we win all of our games (and overtake Liverpool on goal difference), we can win the league. However, after 1st February, when Wenger did not buy anyone, my objective had changed to finishing second. I knew that asking these players to win the title was impossible now, and I did not want to heap undue pressure on them. However, second, as impossible as it sounds, is still achievable for our team.

Out of our remaining 10 games, I think 8 of them are winnable. I’d excuse the team for losing against Chelsea and Manchester City, for they are undoubtedly superior. However, out of the remaining 8 games (which includes today’s), if we get 22 points out of 24, we would end up with 80 points. That may not be enough for second place, but that’s the best we can do.

Besides, the Premier League gives you a lot of chances. It isn’t necessary that if we want to win the title we HAVE to defeat both City and Chelsea. Yes, it’s a huge step towards the right direction, but that won’t seal the title.

The point is moot, anyways. My principal target for this season remains 2nd place and winning the FA Cup. Today’s match would decide whether we’re title contenders or top four scrappers, because we seem to be hanging dangerously somewhere in between. As it stands, I still believe we’ll finish 3rd at the expense of Liverpool, but if we replicate last year’s run-in (it's possible - our last six games are against Everton, West Ham, Hull City, Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich), then I’d strongly back us for 2nd. However, the team needs to win today and prove me right for that to happen.

While I’m sure that Kallstrom will play a part in this match, one would be unfair to expect much of him. I saw his matches and performances while I had the time, and he seems decidedly average. A really poor signing, and Wenger needs to be blamed for that. Making Kallstrom a scapegoat is wrong to him and absolving Wenger of blame.

Even with Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and Walcott injured, we can still field a lineup of Szczesny – Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs – Flamini – Arteta – Cazorla – Chanberlain – Podolski – Giroud … stronger than Tottenham, definitely.

The run-in begins. And we’d better aim for the stars this time.

P.S. Apologies for the small blog, no links, pictures and lack of Arsenal activity from me on the whole, but I’m busy working on something. Will let you guys know what on Wednesday.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )