Form, team news and Wembley streak (which is tosh)

An early presser yesterday from the manager meant that we got some juicy updates on Arsenal a little earlier than the standard time but, let’s be honest we’re all so content starved following a great win last weekend and relative radio silence, that the Arsenal internet community was desperate to get something ahead of the North London Derby.

Personally I’m just glad we’re going into this game with a little bit of hope, even if personally it’s just a smidge because I readily accept that they probably have a better team than us, and before other Arsenal fans lay into me please note the italicised word in this sentence. Like it or not Pochettino has the Totts playing better as a unit compared to us and certainly from a defensive perspective.

This admission however doesn’t mean that I’m going to acknowledge the farcical nature of the last NLD and the pundits selecting every possible Totts player in their ‘combined North London XI’. The idea that you can’t get Mesut Özil or Nacho Monreal into a team is laughable and given the goals tend energy that Ramsey gets you should mean he’s a very serious contender.

But hey, let’s put up with this ‘EVERY TOTTENHAM PLAYER IS INFINITELY BETTER THAN ARSENAL PLAYERS BECOS THEY HAVE PASHUN AND HAVE MORE ENGLISH PLAYERS (even though they’re yet to win anything)’ rubbish for another weekend, eh?

Arsène gave us his his team news yesterday ahead of Saturday lunchtimes kick off and Cech aside, I don’t think that it seems too bad. Monreal is supposedly ok and a Welbeck might not be 100%, but we have a similar squad to Everton and at least that gives us the rest of Friday and Saturday morning to ponder whether Arsène sticks or twists formation-wise. I’ll give a little more detail tomorrow in the match preview but for me it has to be a twist. Three at the back worked at home in November and I’d try to replicate that style.

But anyway, back to what Arsène said, which was to suggest that he thinks Pochettino was perhaps being taken a ‘little bit’ out of context. Perhaps he was, but that doesn’t really fit in with the ‘anyone affiliated with Tottenham are inherently evil’ narrative that us Arsenal fans – and now other fans having seen the theatrics last weekend – are perpetuating. We’ll of course have plenty to complain about should a contentious decision happen inside our box tomorrow but if I’m honest with you I’ve almost resigned myself to that fate befalling is because:

  1. Tottenham players do like to go down easy
  2. Arsenal players do like to go all ‘leg-dangly’
  3. They are the media darlings and get away with more stuff from referees.

So we all see how our fate is sealed, right?

Arsène of course won’t think so and having talked up how the new signings are bedding in, as well as how he wants that competition – hinting I think that Lacazette was a bit cheesed off to be benched on Saturday last week – I’m just hoping London Colney is a positive place today as the team takes its final training session. I’ll be honest with you I’m glad that we weren’t playing Tottenham away last weekend and Everton this weekend, because we were on our knees from a confidence point of view and only the goodwill of shiny new signings got the fans up for that game I felt.

Now we have the benefit of a big result, the unknown hope that these signings could have clicked instantly into our existing team structure like a finely constructed final Lego piece missing from the hull of the pirate ship I had when I was eight, so my hope is that at least confidence-wise the team are in better shape than it’s been for a while. We shall see soon though. Very soon.

We’re all looking for little signs as to how we win this game tomorrow and the other point I wanted to finally touch on was this idea that somehow because we have a Wembley record that is not to be sniffed at, we will somehow manage to do our first League double over that lot since, well, I can’t even remember.

Personally I think it’s a load of tosh. Firstly there are about 80,000 Tiny Totts fans who will be behind their team, competed to about 5,000 gooners. Every time we’ve played at Wembley it’s been 50/50 on fans and I don’t care how much players say it doesn’t affect them, it does, it really does. Secondly, it’s not a cup final and this Arsenal team has proven itself quite adept at getting up for those. Players know how much this game means, but I just think psychologically cup competitions spark something different in this Arsenal team. And third and finally, we go into this game with patchy form at best. Every other time we’ve been at Wembley we’ve either been in form or recovering from it, so I don’t think that helps us too much.

I’d love to be proved wrong on all these points though.

That’s me for another day. Have a great Friday fellow Arsenalites.

About the Author:

Gooner born in 1982 from Harlow, Essex, with a love for Arsenal that knows. I'm not an AKb, nor am I an 'In Arsene we Rust', but I like to think that I can tip-toe between the two, occasionally veering into both camps.

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