Arsenal’s best chance for an away win in a big ‘un – writes @LaboGoon
If we thought last weekend was eventful in English football, midweek said ‘hold my beer’.
It was happy hour at the Emirates (of course), ‘out with the (not so) old in with the new’ for a few managers and for one manager the Premier League title chase came to an abrupt end (don’t laugh) … and here we go again.
Good day one and all.
Of the fixtures to look out for on the football calendar it always includes the North London Derbies; and as we make the short trip to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspurs, it’s Arsenal who will want to build on the gains of these last two weeks.
Following two league defeats in five days the home side (read: squatters) will be licking their wounds, both mentally and physically. Now there’s a few pundits who will dress this up as “it’s the best thing that could of happened to them”, because, you know, it keeps their egos in check. Well Saint Pochettino, life came at him fast as he was ready to punch somebody’s lights out.
There they were leisurely cruising along to at least a 3rd place finish and boom, they now find themselves looking over their shoulder with Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea closing in, and, should they lose today, the stakes will be raised even further as the battle for top-four will be one of the major talking points in the run-in.
The Gunners go in to this game on the back of three wins on the bounce (all competitions) but here’s the rub … that was at the Emirates where we do well regardless and this season we have not travelled well against top-six opposition (D1, L3).
Hell, who am I kidding, we don’t travel well period.
We won just one of our last seven away league games (D2, L4) so the challenge will now be to see if we can keep our tails up, because with Pochettino having a few concerns there is the hope that we have caught them at the most opportune time.
Now there’s an argument that in derbies, form, or lack thereof, goes out the window and that one Harry Kane usually enjoy this ‘home’ fixture, but one also can’t ignore that he doesn’t seem to have brought his talents back with him from injury.
In no way am I implying this is our match to lose. In most, if not all, big games of this nature the home side usually has the edge though it is hard to ignore Spurs not looking so smooth at present.
Three wins on the bounce is nothing to scoff at, no matter the quality of the opposition, and we’ve done that using some mesmerizing creative passing missing from our game in weeks prior. If Unai Emery wants to maintain that consistency and familiarity with the hopes of a strong end to this campaign, it will be interesting to see if he fields an attacking lineup that includes our two most creative players, Özil and Mkhitaryan.
Both are both in good nick, in a game that could be pivotal to our season.
This is a big ‘un folks and of importance to both teams, so we can expect Arsenal fighting just as hard to get one over their local rivals as Spurs will to get back to winning ways.