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Arsenal Versus Spurs: Raise Your Weary Gloves

I don’t want to write this, and more importantly you don’t want to read it. So as an exercise in futility today’s blog is hard to beat. After Zagreb, the last thing we needed was an hour and a half in the company of the world’s most detestable football club. Like getting beaten up on the way home from work on Wednesday only to find your husband in bed with your sister on Saturday. Not the greatest of weeks. And now we have to think about football all over again.

All we’ve wanted to do, you and I, is push all thoughts of the once beautiful game from our minds and try to find solace in other more tranquil, distracting pursuits. I’ve been indulging in an orgy of regression spending time either reading stories or playing with my friend on our bikes or listening to my favourite bands on my record player. Sadly while this attempt to run backwards towards the womb has managed somewhat to confound the morose patina which has otherwise overlaid and occasionally obnubilated my usual placid state of serene beatitude, nothing can entirely obliterate the image of Mike Dean and Diego Costa from my mind.

How do you distract yourself after a run of sporting disappointments? I must confess I can’t find a path through the woods this time. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away has failed. Taking increasing and frankly ill advised risks on a mountain bike is, for a man of my advancing years, not only an undignified but some might say a disproportionate response. Reading a book is difficult when the words either float from their place and form an image of a shiny headed, useless match official in the air above the page or the letters rearrange themselves into Football Association, PGMOL and corruption, before my disbelieving eyes. Even the anticipation of a new MJ Hibbett album hasn’t stirred me. Is everything lost? Has this proven one disappointment too many?

The answer is I’m still here. So while hope may not be springing in its usual defiance of eternity I am limping onwards and as you’re taking time out from your precious schedule to read these forced, constipated and unwilling thoughts it seems that both of us have survived the standing count and have staggered from our corners to raise our weary gloves and try to make it through another round.

One thought keeps going through my head when I try to look forward to tonight. If only it wasn’t Spurs. The league cup provides us with the perfect scenario, the ideal opportunity to wipe away our disenchantment with the game. At least it ought to. If we have to play again so soon then this is the tournament I would have chosen. It’s the least important of all the cups isn’t it? Traditionally Arsène fields a team full of fringe players of whom we usually see all too little and exciting young talent to whet our appetites for the future. The side has often played with exuberance and a freedom from pressure which has been refreshing to watch and a great antidote to the usual cauldron of anxiety that is the Premier League.

Not against Spurs though. You cannot expect the fans nor the players to take any meeting against their historic rivals and near neighbours with a pinch of salt. Factor in that this is the Middlesex cub’s only real chance of a trophy this and every other season and the stakes are higher than they otherwise would be and certainly higher than I would like. I just wanted a light hearted match with Jeff Reine-Adelaide dancing through the opposition midfield and Joel Campbell scoring a hat-trick. This could have been useful game time at centre back or central midfield for Calum Chambers and a run out for Mathieu Debuchy. The main talking point might have been how will Krystian Bielik and Alex Iwobi look alongside more seasoned pros. Instead it is now being described as a must win fixture.

God I hate that expression. Don’t you? Must win. I know ‘would be more preferable to win’ doesn’t trip off the tongue with such elegance and ease but honestly if any game was a ‘must’ win then how come the club still exists after a defeat? The suggestion of finality the conjuring of the imperative are misleading because there is no apocalypse awaiting us if we lose. It is all part of the football fans’ need the to reach for ever more fanciful hyperbole in their desperation to show how important their team is and how acute their personal commitment to the cause.

I read a Chelsea fan saying that if they lost at Goodison Park it would be disastrous. I repeated the ludicrous comment in an attempt to highlight how other clubs also have their fair share of ridiculous fans. I had hoped to illustrate that it is not only Arsenal that is so blighted with these bufoons. I was immediately taken to task by one of our own who suggested that defeat against Everton would effectively end Chelsea’s title challenge and therefore would indeed be a disaster. Where do you start with such a silly argument? With so many points still in play even suggesting that Chelsea could not still win the league was the stuff of illogic and fantasy.

The real false note ringing out from this argument was the idea that any defeat could be seen as a disaster. Even if it had spelled the end of their title ambitions it would not be a disaster merely, well, merely the end of their title ambitions. If one begins to describe as disastrous a single defeat then where does that leave us when facing that which is truly devastating? Hillsborough, Bradford, Ibrox, Heysel, these were disasters. Tragedies beyond the meagre resources of a thesaurus. If you start exploding the day to day disappointments out of all proportion you leave yourself nowhere to go when something genuinely awful happens.

So tonight is not a must win. Tonight is a hell of a lot more desirable to win than if it had been against a less antagonistic opponent and that detracts from the feet up, cup of tea and a gypsy cream insouciance with which games like this are usually to be enjoyed. But the sun will still come up tomorrow and Leicester will still be waiting for us on Saturday whatever the result this evening.

As I meander through this preview it occurs to me that the answer to the question I posed nearer the top of the page has perhaps revealed itself. The fact that just by pondering upon the match this evening I have started the gears turning once again. The only way to deal with a couple of horrible defeats is perhaps to anticipate another game. All that has passed is prologue. The sting of Zagreb, the burning resentment at Costa and Dean’s Bolero at the Bridge will only fade into the shadows when the floodlights click on in N17 tonight. Rather than dwell, the only thing we can do is to lash ourselves to the bull and open the gate into the arena once more.

There will surely still be rotation in the team tonight. Arsène must rest players after their gruelling schedule recently and who’s to say that a couple of youngsters might not shine, some fringe players make a name for themselves? Remember Cesc against Rotherham? Baptista at Anfield? The greatest league cup tie ever against Reading? How about the youngsters putting six past Sheffield United when Carlos Vela patented his dinked finish; all wonderful entertainment and the perfect curative to Premier and Champions League ills. So come on then, let’s drag ourselves out of the Slough of Despond and allow a little hope to creep back into our lives. Tonight could be a memorable night. Just this once, let it be memorable for the right reasons.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

101 comments on “Arsenal Versus Spurs: Raise Your Weary Gloves

  1. notoverthehill – I can hear Maturin spitting blood at the vandalism!

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  2. Me and my big mouth. Poor Calum.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 55 minutes 1-1, Chambers with an OG, trying to block a cross he diverts the ball past Ospina

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  4. Calum’s awful luck has turned the tide in Spurs favour somewhat. Let’s hope we wrest it back. To mix a metaphor. Or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well played Kieran Gibbs

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  6. 66 minutes Alexis on for Campbell

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  7. goal of the season from Flamini, what a volley

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  8. flamini! what a response to haters!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Corblimey

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  10. Did I mention my strong amorous feelings towards a certain swash buckling midfielder?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Arsene’s substitution has changed this game.

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  12. 88 minutes walcott on for oxlade-chamberlain

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  13. 3 added minutes

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  14. FT: spurs 1-2 Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Never forget, a cannon is always better than a chicken!
    Night lads.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. well remember that Flamini guy who AFC should have paid up his contract in the summer, he happened to score both goals tonight

    also remember that Chambers guy who after 45 minutes v LFC should never have played for Arsenal again, well he was outstanding tonight, despite an OG, class performance.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Gareth Bale ‏@GarethBale11 10m10 minutes ago
    GOAL! Great response 1-2!!!

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  18. Oh yes – now that was a very decent evening

    Liked by 1 person

  19. is Gareth bale serious? LOL

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  20. A very decent evening indeed – calls for a large Bowmore or something of that ilk.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Rory Smith ‏@RorySmithTimes 3m3 minutes ago
    Arsenal fans tearing down the To Dare Is To Do signs at WHL

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Encouraging display from Campbell, considering he can’t be anywhere near match fit. Chambers too – very solid – o.g. was just one of those instinctive things. Debuchy is certainly not the player he can be – let’s hope a few games can get his fitness and form back. Bit concerned about Ox – good shot to create the opening for the first goal but still very prone to giving the ball away in dangerous places and overweighting his passes.
    But considering Aaron was the only player who started against Chelsea, that was a very decent result.

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  23. Hull in the next round please.
    Or Carlisle.

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  24. so when is the 4th round draw? nice to be in it… we needed that victory after our past 2 away games

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  25. team spirit the draw is in a few minutes,

    also Bale is an Arsenal fan, so why would he not be serious

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  26. the bromance continues

    Mesut Özil ‏@MesutOzil1088 13m13 minutes ago
    Derby champions! Good work, Gunners 💪 And congratulations to my double-score-bro Mathieu 😁😁⚽⚽😎 #YaGunnersYa #Flamini #CarlingCup #THFCvAFC

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  27. Oh for gods sake Brendan

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  28. Lukas-Podolski.com ‏@Podolski10 14m14 minutes ago
    #Flamini #LondonIsRed

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  29. 4th round draw
    Man city v Crystal Palace
    Liverpool/Carlise v Bournmouth
    Man Utd v Middlesboro
    Everton v Norwich City
    Southampton v Aston Villa
    Sheffield Wednesday v Arsenal
    Hull city v Leicester city
    Stoke v Chelsea

    Liked by 1 person

  30. well, we;ll take Sheffield… again away, but our away fans are some the very best, so maybe that is good for the team and fans alike.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. There is something extra enjoyable about beating Spurs with two goals from the Flamster. I’m still smiling.
    OK – I’ll settle for Sheffield Wednesday away. Didn’t we have some rare old battles with them in this competition in the GG days? Replayed semi-final or something like that?

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Alastair Brookshaw ‏@albrookshawAFC 36m36 minutes ago
    Notable that Debuchy suddenly looked fine once Cambpell went off.Easy to only see the obvious, but that’s why we’re only armchair fans

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Another thing that amused me this evening – every time the camera fell on Harry Kane, he had his mouth open. What’s he doing? Catching flies?

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  34. Wouldn’t agree with that eddy. There were a couple of occasions after JC went off when Debuchy went totally awol.

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  35. dkg we beat them in the 93 league cup final, remembered for Steve Morrow who had scored, getting badly injured when Adams dumped him on the ground from a great height, we then went on to beat them in the FA Cup Final replay, with a last minute winner from Andy Linighan

    in the FA Cup 1979 we had 4 replays with them in the 3rd round before going on to win the whole damn thing.

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  36. Stunning win by Celta Vigo.

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  37. dkg have you ever seen Kane with his mouth shut, I think its impossible for him to actually do it.

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  38. Debuchy was much better 2nd half. He has hardly played in 12 months, give him a break.He’s a top player.

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  39. Thx for that update eddy. It’s the 93 events I remember – Andy Linighan – another unlikely match winner. 1979 I was out of the country but saw the final against Man Utd. Alan Sunderland winner in extra time from a Graham Rix cross.

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  40. Cant’ say I’ve watched Kane very much eddy – just struck me tonight. Makes him look totally gormless.

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  41. Agreed PG – hopefully he’ll get a chance of playing again before the Sheffield game – Olympiakos and Watford look like good opportunities to rotate him in and give Hector a break while at the same time getting Debuchy match fit again. We need two interchangeable players on the right. Keiron had a very good game tonight and we now have four CBs we can rotate. Ospina also very solid this evening. Just need the offensive side to begin clicking. It’ll come all of a sudden.

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  42. Who will be the first PL manager to get the boot?
    McClaren, Advocaat or Brenda?

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  43. Can we officially turn on the feeling quite smug mode on PA?
    Our boys did wonders tonight.
    ospina, chambers, the BFG, Gibbs, The BFG. aArteta, Campbell.
    And of course the fans favourite Flamini.

    We are right, the Boss knows best.
    Fuck of you WoBs.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Amen double canister @ 12:39 am

    What about those jackasses who vandalized the Spurs stadium, all in full view of the cameras. Probably some of the same moaning that Gabriel was wrong to react to Costa on Saturday. Fools.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Man of the match is Giroud. I felt that he led by example and his energy infected the rest of the team. For me, he’s the best striker of the ball on the team.

    That Arteta and Flamini double pivot was wicked. Pochetino had no idea how to shut down Arteta and he failed miserably at dealing with Aaron Ramsey. All that room they gave us is why Flamini scored twice from similar runs. The next WOB cunt who tells you Wenger doesn’t do tactics, slap him on his double chin.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Strange, up until Sanchez came on I was bored, I wanted my Arsenal back….

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  47. Never seriously troubled. Our reserves are better than theirs haha.
    And that’s the 100 up.

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