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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

bass guitar, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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

  1. Wow, thank goodness that none of the clowns at BT studio are the referee.

    The bias is so thick it could be cut with a knife.

    And Ian Wright is such a phoney isn’t he? Yes Spurs dominated initially but apart from Kane’s close chance, all the other chances of the games are for Arsenal. No chance can be closer than clipping the post but if one did not see the half, you’d think we were battered and Cech had been the busier keeper. The Arsenal goalie is yet to make a single save whereas Lloris has been very busy. If we score from all our close chances and Kane scored his, it would be 3-1 now (at the very least).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d have ox on for iwobi or even bring on Ramsey and move ozil wide left.

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  3. Tanx for your excellent blog. Some oxygen in this era of braindead ‘Einsteins’ who are polluting our collective breathing space far beyond acceptable levels. May the force stay wirh you and have a nice sunday!

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  4. My advice to Wimmer, coaching wise, is don’t worry too much about the offside rule, just concentrate on not heading it past your keeper.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Son got in there a bit too easy, but Bellerin with a fine tackle saves the day

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  6. dive and clattenburg obliges with a penalty for spurs, kane scores it – pgmol will be oh so proud of their man

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  7. dembele was on his way down before kos made the challenge, that is why I call it a clear dive

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  8. that was too close for comfort

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  9. ah xhaka I thought could have done more to get on end of that iwobi ball in

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  10. Ramsey getting ready to come on

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  11. Coquelin off, Ramsey on, a bit of a surprise that

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  12. 70th minutes – iwobi and Walcott off, Giroud and Oxlade-Chamberlain on

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  13. clattenburg is not even trying to hide his bias, wanyama gets away with another

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  14. wanyama let off with another one

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  15. awful freekick in by ozil, too high and too long.

    about 8 minutes left

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  16. cech all over the place at that freekick, and erkinson freekick bounces off the post and out

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  17. all you need to know about how bad Clattenburg has been today, Wanyama has not got booked despite at least five bookable challenges.

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  18. Giroud header straight at lloris

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  19. 5 minutes of stoppage time to be played

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  20. FT: 1-1

    feel very deflated after that, soft soft penalty that seemed to take the wind out of us, and we never fully recovered. Our attack did not function like it can, Alexis and Owobi were disappointing,
    Clattenburg was exactly what the PGMOL would have wanted him to be, that Wanyama did not get booked says all you need to know about this one sided performance from teh ref.

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  21. Right result – Spuds defended well and I thought we were not at our sharpest in the final third.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Yeah Eddy – all down to Clattenburg

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  23. Dissappointing draw. I expected a win. The sensationalists will now have a field day but we are well poised at 2.1 ppg. Win next game and it is 2.2, well on target for 86 pts.

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  24. The Spurs played to their strength. Limited us to 1 goal. We should have scored a 2nd but didn’t do enough. Spurs have more chances which Cech and the defense having to come up big.
    Correction. We are currently 2.2 ppg

    Liked by 1 person

  25. no anicol not all down to clattenburg at all, but that was an awful one sided performance form him.
    Arsenal played poorly, I would say more poor performances than good in fact, but should that excuse the ref. What would Wanyama have to have done today to get booked, kill someone, that would probably have got him a last warning.
    Alexis was very poor, Mustafi and Kos were shaky, Cech had his wobbles too, Ozil not near his best, Ox was awful when he came on, Iwobi was not great.

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  26. The gap has become almost non-existent….

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  27. We had difficulty getting clear chances with 3 at the back. I don’t think Alexis got a real sniff. Interesting. More teams may adopt this.

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  28. Hassan ‏@ClassofBergkamp 19m19 minutes ago
    No wins in 7 but everyone still wants to say 11 unbeaten in League for Tottenham.

    Why no perspective…

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  29. Dandon ‏@danieldon28 4m4 minutes ago
    Wenger when asked if the Arsenal goal was offside: “No one forced Kevin Wimmer to head the ball into his own net”

    Liked by 1 person

  30. spuds played well but that result was all about us. we didnt win too much of the second ball and the second half we knew they would start well and we didnt hold onto possession to control the game. That might have been slightly effected by clatts ability to give most of the 50/50’s to spuds meaning we lost the ball over and over again.
    lets get one thing straight the spuds did not dominate the first 20 minutes. the possession after ten minutes was exactly 50/50 and their one chance they had in the first half happened in the second ten.
    ian wright well is ian wright he would the last person on earth who would be let in the positively ARSENAL door Steww was taliking about. To argue against a ref about an Arsenal goal and to say weve just nicked a point at home shows the footballing world that as a player he was excellent but as a supporter he will never make the grade. to be upstaged by an ex utd and west ham player in rio ferdy who was much more positive was disgraceful.
    Two weeks to get those slightly injured players back fit and on to taking on utd, this could still be a very good November.

    Liked by 4 people

  31. Arsenal dropping to 4th, with liverpool 2-0 and going top.

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  32. IT sounded to me that the game ebbed and flowed between both teams many times.
    Arsenal has clear cut chances they didn’t finish off, as did Spurs.

    Clatters was too keen penalise our players, yet let the spuds have more kicks out at our players.
    When Clatters did give us frees, it was usually when we had an advantage with the ball anyway. It all helped the spuds.
    With delle Alli out and Kane just coming back, they will be delighted with the point in our home.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. Disappointed it’s only a point, but given that tough away game midweek it could have been worse. That penalty looked like a gift from where I was sitting and the ref was so eager to give it. Onwards and upwards, there’s still a lot to play for.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Can’t all have been down to Clattenberg. After all, Spurs didn’t actually win.

    But when even the BBC website first says “Koscielny was harshly punished for a foul on Mousa Dembele in the box” and then quickly takes this down and replaces it with “Laurent Koscielny tangled with Mousa Dembele “, you get some feel for the nature of the match’s determining moment.

    Liked by 5 people

  35. One person who was not happy with a point, was Mesut Ozil. I don’t know if they showed it on TV but he kicked a water bottle and exited sharpish after the game- no back slapping and fraternising with the enemy for him!

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  36. Pass: Where have you been? Missed your objectivity. Welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. utd withing 6 of us now.

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  38. I thought today’s performance was our most flat of the season, spurs were not even that good, but our game was that little bit off, the tempo was not there, wanyama and co getting free reign to kick lumps out of us did not help, as DC mentioned, Clattenburg looked keen to book our players, and also stop us on quick breaks, he’d bring us back for a free kick. But we got the lead, and even that did not raise our game. It was an odd performance, too many shades of seasons gone by and not enough of the sort of performances we have seen so much of this season.
    Its man utd away next, an early kick off right after the interlull, its a game where all of today’s ills can be put right, but if we are as flat as today, I would not be confident of getting anything out of the game, especially if the ref runs things along the lines of clattenburg did today, too much of the mike riley pgmol on show today.

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  39. coquelin’s celebration of our goal

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  40. Just seen wenger say it was a flat performance, lacking in energy, especially so in final quarter and that we were not sharp in attack.

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  41. ArsenalAndrew ‏@ArsenalAndrew 3h3 hours ago
    @Whelts The amended offside laws only become a problem when they work in favour of AFC.

    At that point suddenly “nobody understands them”.

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  42. liked the comment by Wenger on the penalty

    “contact is not a penalty, only a foul is a penalty”

    Liked by 1 person

  43. ‘WE COULDN’T FIND THE CREATIVITY’

    For a record 24th time in the Premier League, the first team to score in the north London derby failed to win the game.
    This time we fell foul of that statistical quirk and Arsène Wenger agreed that it was “two points lost” when he faced the media after the game:

    on his assessment of the game…
    It was a game of high intensity where I felt in the first half we looked always like we could score every time we crossed the halfway line and in the second half we looked a bit more flat physically, a bit more less sharp and we couldn’t find the creativity, the fluency around the box nor the vision we are used to.

    I think our level dropped and we were a bit too stretched as well. Spurs defended well on some crosses in the final 10 to 15 minutes, I feel there were some balls where the fact that despite three tall players we couldn’t make enough of corners and we missed some crosses as well. So overall it was high intensity, technically I think our level dropped in the second half and the desire was there. Maybe the result is fair.

    on whether the performance was affected by a midweek trip to Bulgaria…
    No, I don’t think so. No. Maybe I felt we were not compact enough. We were stretched and after you that you run more – we did in the first half but not in the second half. In the first half they played many long balls and they stretched us because we pressurised very high, so it’s more difficult. Did we get a little bit of a mental blow when they equalised? I don’t know. But overall I felt that when we were questioned in the final 30 minutes, we had no physical answer good enough to win the game. But we tried. I cannot question the spirit and the intensity of the game, but we lacked, we looked a bit flat.

    on if there were any plans to counter the Spurs back three…
    We knew how to play against a back three, we knew that they could play with a back three. You know, I felt that that was not the basic problem. There were some other areas in the game where we had a problem.

    on whether he was surprised by the back three…
    Not really, no.

    on if he is surprised by the lack of ruthlessness today…
    No, I felt we were quite dangerous in the first half a lot and we created many dangerous situations. I felt that we gave absolutely everything but we were not as sharp physically as we can be in the final part of the game.

    Copyright 2016 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

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161106/-we-couldn-t-find-the-creativity-?#1FmwAeHZpX0BWGsM.99

    WENGER ON THE PENALTY AND TITLE RACE

    The turning point in Sunday’s north London derby was undoubtedly the penalty awarded to Tottenham early in the second half when Moussa Dembele was brought down.
    Arsène Wenger was asked for his view after the game. Here’s what he said:

    on whether he thought the penalty was harsh…
    Yes. We were a bit unlucky with the penalty decision. I think the penalty was harsh. It didn’t look dangerous to score, it didn’t look a deliberate foul. After, even speaking to some referees they say you can give it, you can not give it, so personally, being manager of Arsenal Football Club, I prefer not to give it.

    on Victor Wanyama…
    He was very lucky to stay on the pitch today [because of] a few fouls, the elbows on Walcott for example, but the referee makes the decisions. We have to cope with that and to deal with that. Still, nobody stopped us from scoring a second goal which is what we didn’t do.

    on whether Chelsea and Liverpool’s position is a sign that it is harder for teams in Europe…
    I don’t know. It’s a bit easier to prepare for the games because you do not have the intensity of a Champions League game, but if you ask them, both would like to play in there so you cannot complain about that. There’s a little physical advantage, for sure, when you play after the European weeks, but you have to live with that and I wouldn’t say that it is an excuse. Even if we are in front, it’s a small difference after 11 games – it’s very tight.

    Copyright 2016 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

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161106/wenger-on-the-penalty-and-title-race#iyxDcuhAwmR1Sf9H.99

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  44. since it is not against us, am happy for Sunderland yesterday and hull today

    Our own 5 – 0 drubbing of someone is around the corner. i nominate stoke or west brom

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Ibrahimovic got booked today, so he misses the Arsenal game.

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  46. Stew, you are so right about being trumped upon!

    Thanks for the pre-match! AND, do not look now.

    OH! woe, oh woe, after 11 Premier games we are a point behind last season’s f11 games total.

    .

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Howard Webb ‏@HowardMWebb 1h1 hour ago
    This is the definition of interfering with an opponent. It’s not an offence in itself to be in an offside position

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  48. Arsenal have played six BPL games at home so far this season, and have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1. Gaining 11pts, our away form is better with 13pts from a possible 15 so far.

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