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Arsenal Versus Spurs: Love Your Neighbour, But Maintain Your Fence

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Because we have a strict door policy here on Positively Arsenal we were, in the early days when anybody cared to take any notice of us, decried for all sorts of reasons. Elitism, snobbery, and being anti democratic to name but three. Yesterday, in a spirit of what I can only assume was one of masochistic self loathing, I was scrolling through tweets from the twisted, spite fuelled, anti intellectual, garbage filled brains of rabid Donald Trump supporters and this blog sprang to mind.

I know what you’re thinking. In a body of work rightly famed for its non sequiturs that one takes the biscuit Stew – but please, bear with me. You see I have been saying for many years, in a conscious or unconscious echo of the late great Bill Hicks, that the trend in what is laughingly termed ‘reality’ TV doesn’t simply lower the standards of television it actually lowers the standards of humanity. It is a dangerous and wicked phenomenon with consequences which have the potential to bring down civilisation as we know it.

Not my most popular conversational opener while sat with she who must be obeyed on a Saturday night as Simon Cowell’s frightening and maliciously lascivious grin is beamed into our living room, but a belief I hold dear nonetheless. The rise of Trump is, however, the only proof one really needs.

As host to one of, if not the, very worst of these appalling programmes, one that celebrates the disgusting ethos of competitive capitalism the man and his values were constantly broadcast into the brains of millions of voters for hours on end. Their own values were corrupted, their standards lowered to the point that now when he spouts utter baseless drivel like a cartoon character from the pages of Viz they whoop it up and cannot wait to scratch a cross beside his name.

Just as in the political world the coverage of football has similarly plummeted to levels of degeneracy unimaginable when first I followed the beautiful game. When the blogging revolution began it seemed humankind had discovered a miraculous antidote. Rather than being spoon fed garbage by intellectual midgets with a slavish adherence to the predetermined editorial line, we could read the thoughts of fellow enthusiasts and even chip in with our own reflections on the players, the game, the manager, the price of pies. In short, the whole shebang. Everything we held dear about our chosen sport was up for discussion. We weren’t being told what to think any more, it was a beautiful new dawn.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Like mainstream pop absorbing the anti establishment spike of punk rock and converting it into something less challenging, safer for the masses to handle, so the blogs moved inexorably closer to the papers. The black hole of mediocrity sucked in the brief flickering flame of hope, and darkness reigned supreme. So George found this dusty corner, swept the floor, put out a few chairs and invited some friends around. First however, he tended to the most important thing of all – a big strong lock on the door.

If the anyone wants sanctuary from the howling wasteland of anti intellectual hatred, bigotry, and  bias they only have to knock politely and they’re greeted with open arms. Otherwise they are welcome to remain outside to continue their crawl across the graveyard of individual thought where they’ll find plenty of sieg heiling conformity to satisfy their dark cravings.

What, if anything, does this have to do with a North London derby? Bugger all if I’m honest but I’ve previewed a fair few of these encounters while serving my time among George’s writing drones and there’s only so many ways of saying the same thing you know.

This year, however, the approaching encounter does feel different. There is a sense that while still rooted in our shadow, the upstart pretenders whose only real claim to fame is having such a fine club as Arsenal to call their rivals, are as close to us as they’ve ever been. Only a catastrophic last gasp collapse in their morale, allied to canny, calm and above all experienced leadership from Arsène saw us step over them into second place last time around.

They look like genuine contenders to me, and the fact that we are more than a quarter of the way into the fixture list and they are still unbeaten tells its own story. Granted they’ve not been as invulnerable in cup competitions but early exits from such distractions must only help focus their sights on the Premier League. It’s no secret that this Arsenal squad is also as strong as it has been in a long while. Any improvements down the Lane have been matched in North London’s more prestigious football establishment, but even so the days when we could look forward to a derby match as little more than a guaranteed three points with the potential for some light entertainment along the way are over.

I shan’t pretend to have any special knowledge of our opponents today. Wednesday’s match against Leverkusen was the first time I’ve seen them play this season and apart from Hugo Lloris I couldn’t pick any of them out in a line up. What can’t be questioned is that Pochettino has them organised defensively and playing with a greater resilience than the fragile show pony Spurs sides of old. The one thing I did notice and was accused of being a Kloppite for saying it, was that the work Bayer 04 did off the ball unsettled them and they didn’t respond well to the pressure. It is of course a given that all teams need to work hard to regain possession but I believe that in some games we don’t do this as well as we might.

Every so often we appear content to leave all of that kind of work to Francis Coquelin and while the boy never disappoints we are more successful when two or three players pressure the man on the ball from the moment possession is lost. We won’t win the game with aggressive defence though, I get that. Fortunately we have a blend of the inventive, the clinical and the downright impudent up front which, should we succeed in stopping them playing, ought to be enough to bring home the bacon and put an end to all this silly invincible talk. Having said that neither side is terribly good at losing these days and I wouldn’t discount a draw, in fact it does seem the more likely outcome.

If you are at the match I shall listen out for you, if not I’m afraid I won’t be here to share it with you. My band practice today has been scheduled by some wrestling fan who has no understanding of real sport and so chose a start time of 1pm. As a consequence I shall have to wait until Football Origin have the match up this evening. The rest of you have fun and just make sure the door is locked, it’s a cold, horrible place out there.

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.

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112 comments on “Arsenal Versus Spurs: Love Your Neighbour, But Maintain Your Fence

  1. Leicester city now only 2pts off relegation spot.

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  2. Flat is the word, not for the first time, lacking some creativity, maybe a bit of a Euro hangover?….we do seem to lack a bit of fitness compared with some at this time of year…..maybe structured to finish the season relatively strongly? One of two seemed to struggle, not sure a couple were fully fit. Iwobi wasn’t the best, but young players are always a bit up and down.
    There were some positives, thought Xhaka and Coq were pretty sound
    Couldn’t really see the penalty from where I was sitting, have yet to see it on TV either….soft was a word I have heard in association, a few around me suggesting the ref may have been eager to even things up after not flagging offside for our goal?
    I am certainly not going to blame the ref, but wish they would clarify….is persistent rotational fouling permitted? Is it turned a blind eye to? can our players do it as well and be treated as leniently as Wanyama/dembele/dier et Al? Or are today’s opponents just very good at not letting the ref see it?

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  3. george might not want to see this, but Santi Cazorla missed 23 of our BPL games last season, and he has already missed 4 of our 11 BPL games this season. with him turning 32 in only a few weeks time, it might explain why it seems Arsenal are in no rush to sign him up to a contract extension. He barely missed a game in his first 3 seasons here, but last season was a near write off, and now this season he is struggling with injury again. He was expected to miss only one game when he got this achilles injury, as it was a kick on it and not a tear, but each time he has come back into training he has failed fitness tests, he failed another one yesterday.

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  4. Certain individuals, will not want to know this!

    ManU, under a certain manager, failed to compete in Europe during the 2013/2014 season. Broadcasting and matchday revenues, fell by £45.6 millions alone. European expenses for the missing 3 or 4 games, would be circa £500,000 per game?

    Who keeps saying, finishing 4th is no trophy?

    To expand, ManU matchday revenues are reported as 30th June 2015 (£106,587 millions), 30th June 2015 (£90,563 millions), 30th June 3014 (£108,103 millions) etc.

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  5. I am not a fan of international football, but congratulations to Jack, back in the England squad, should be a bit of a boost for him

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  6. some of the CL teams not to win this weekend

    england – Arsenal, Man City, Spurs, Leicester

    germany – Bayern Munich, Borussia Moenchengladbach

    spain – Atletico Madrid, Seville

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  7. I see the malcontents who have attacked the club at every opportunity for years but had demanded fan unity when we were on our winning run, now don’t give one care for unity, its back to attack the club, the manager and the players, and of course other fans.

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  8. Very interesting Ed @10.36, there is no doubt the ECL takes it out of players, mentally as much as physically. I am sure all the teams want to be there, and will not use it as an excuse, but it will explain some flat performances. Seem to remember title winning Utd teams having some very dodgy autumns , as they planned to peak at the end of the season, I strongly suspect Wenger is attempting something similar.
    Chelsea and Liverpool do not have such euro issues, we can only judge us vs them in the second half of the season , as for Liverpool, get the feeling they will run out of steam . Chelsea….who knows, maybe others will do what our boys did to them.
    Wasn’t great today, nor was it against Middlesbrough, but now is not the time to panic, unless you have an urgent agenda against the club, or one of its employees

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  9. Just been reading reports on RVP, sounds like a serious eye injury, early reports were pretty worrying…ie loss of sight in one eye, , but fortunately, seems he will be ok

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  10. Bit late but that was a great read, Stew. I don’t get to read anything like enough about how much harm Simon Cowell and co * have done to humanity, nor even how perilously close to the edge we appear to be.

    And then the football bit was good as well.

    *Suppose they could always be more symptom than disease,though. The conditions were there for Cowell and Trump to be ‘good’ tv, and now, tragically and incredibly, the conditions are there for Trump to be the Republican nominee and a potential president. Bad conditions for the former, appalling ones for the latter.

    Litmus test for me of healthiness of any group, society,etc is not whether lies and misbehaviour are punished but whether major actors can tell easily verifiable lies (contradictory shite,etc) without any punishment. That’s why Trump is so scary. He’s not hiding that he’s an utter arsehole, who is literally all over the place in what he says, and who offers nothing resembling credible solutions

    It’s also why Mourinho’s presence in football is so dismal. Conditions were there for that fucker,too.

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  11. New post up – I have copied yours Rich

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