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Calling at the Neighbours in N17

Hyena

Morning fellow Positivistas from a grey Norfolk, under three hours to go before Mr Atkinson peeps and the North London derby roars into life, and we know that this lunchtime’s game will have more roar than a dark cave of peckish polar bears don’t we ?

I have attended, seen on the box, listened to on the wireless and seen described in smoke signals more than 100 games between us and our neighbours.

Most in the last twenty years I have approached, I admit, with a tinge of pity for the opponent. Many have been akin to a hospital visit undertaken out of duty rather than genuine affection. A reluctant obligation to attend upon an old and ailing acquaintance, of weak constitution and down on their luck, again. A few words of encouragement and condolence, a small bag of grapes, then back out to retrieve the car and relief that I did not waste my pennies on a full hour of parking.

At other times, once or twice, when Tottingham have arrived on the crest of a good run, or our own form has been a little wobbly there has been a genuine twist of concern, of sincere worry that the ‘rivalry’ of which their fans speak so often is real. The realisation that they could, they really might, beat us.

And today, as I compose myself for the contest, I find my mood drifting toward that second, frown inducing state. That today we face a genuinely capable football team, able to produce a quality of movement and accuracy of shooting and passing that we will have to perform at our best to counter and overcome. Our ‘best’ is enough to defeat them on any ground on any day. Less than our best however and the home side can hurt us.

Form wise there is little to choose. Both sides come into the game on the back of good results over the last five games, including for the neighbours a delightful televised cuffing of the Portuguese vagrant, and our own disposal of the reigning PL champions on their own turf. Just two points and a few goals part us in the table, a fair reflection for both of the season in which at times the football has been excellent, but occasionally the machine has jolted out of gear and three points flung away. Home advantage in theory assists Spuds, but in truth they have fans even more fickle than our own dear bin-baggers.

A huge amount of today’s game will be decided in the mind. I think it is a day in which the side that keeps its head, that does not panic and lose concentration if a setback occurs, that does not get whipped into a frenzy, that is patient in their approach to 95 minutes of the full contest will prevail. I have in mind our younger players here, Hector, Francis, and those for whom a NLD will be a new experience like David.

So the theme for today and the acquisition of three points is as follows;

“ The best way out is always through” as the little fellow in the opening picture often says.

I am sure we shall speak later.

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

18 comments on “Calling at the Neighbours in N17

  1. Oi George – Bring back Yiddo66’s post please !!

    (It is like buses on here)

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  2. It binned it Andrew. As you beat me to the punch I didn’t want it being the one to show up when people log into Positivelyarsenal.com

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  3. I cant without people being navigated to it first.

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  4. Ah I see

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  5. Good grief I loath the spuds
    the thought of anything but a win will make my head explode

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  6. Thank you anicoll5. Super stuff and an echo of my turbulent thoughts as we approach the dreaded early kick off. I too thought we had a guest post to balance things up but it got binned – was it perhaps less than savoury reading? Ah well, never mind.

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  7. Thanks AndyNic and what a great analogy you choose: I like the sense of the dutiful hospital visit. You are right to point to their good form: at times they have been very good value, at others all a bit careless. It still rankles that we only drew at home earlier this season, so there is much to motivate our players. As indeed there is to motivate theirs. Parts of me anticipates a rollicking old-fashioned affair: end to end stuff, goal-mouth action, maybe a moment of genius to secure a 3-2 victory. But the more rational bit thinks that actually it will be a day where we squeeze the life out of their midfield and end up quite comfortably on top. I find it easy to imagine Aaron Ramsey as the main man today.

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  8. All of 60 seconds George! just arrived at WHL the atmosphere is just like a NLD should be COYS

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  9. In match commentary coming up

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  10. Shall I post Yido’s preview now?

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  11. 5 – 0 to the arsenal… we need the goal diff

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  12. cant it be added to this post PG as a sort of double post? Since both posts are previews… its derby day so double previews are allowed

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  13. Come on Arsenal!

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  14. TEAM NEWS: Welbeck starts at Spurs
    Arsène Wenger has made one change to the side that beat Aston Villa 5-0 on Sunday.
    Danny Welbeck makes his first start since December’s 2-1 victory at West Ham United in favour of Theo Walcott.
    Elsewhere, David Ospina retains his place in goal, still unbeaten in the Premier League, and Mesut Ozil starts again from the left-hand side.

    Full team: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Welbeck, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud
    Substitutes: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Akpom

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

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  15. Arsenal 15 minutes late to shite hart lane due to the police

    Wenger: “We were blocked by the police getting here, they refused to escort us, it’s not a problem, we have prepared well.”

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  16. Great stuff Andy Nic. Reflected a lot of my fears and hopes coming into this game.

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  17. Now unto Yiddo.

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  18. Is arsenal scared of going 3rd? i just don’t get it at all.. 2nd time going 3rd was in their own hands and see how they fared!

    I missed the second half… what happened?

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