Just over 24 hours until the North London Derby tomorrow at 4.30pm and after the team arrived back on Thursday and then most likely had themselves a day off yesterday, there will no doubt be a final session today ahead of the big game tomorrow. Mikel had a press conference update though and spoke on the win against Olympiakos and how he was happy with the win, just not the goal we conceded, which is fair enough. He also spoke about the game tomorrow and said of our opponents: “we started really well, we were dominant and the first time they went over the halfway line they scored”. So what your saying Mikel Is that giving them any kind of opportunity could be dangerous for us, right? And therefore brain-farting in key moments in the game is probably NOT the best idea for us tomorrow? Interesting take…

All jokes aside, I think given what has happened to us in what feels like every game so far for the last month or so, our own ability for implosion is what I fear more than anything else. Our ability to do the exact opposite of sensible football is already haunting me and so if we end up gifting the likes of Kane, Son, Bale or any player from the Scum an opportunity like we have been doing, there is absolutely no doubt that they will take it.

If you’ve ever watched the movie A Clockwork Orange, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I recommend that Arteta and his coaching team stick metal devices in the players eyes with a video of stupid errors replayed again and again until they beg for it to stop. At this point it feels like the only way in which we’re going to get some of these players to cut out what has cost us points and very nearly the hope of European glory.

Mikel has himself played in a few of these derbies but so far as a manager it is 0 for 2 in terms of victories, or even picking up a point, so I think he’ll be quite desperate to get himself off the mark. It is why I wonder if that is why he brought off Partey so early, as well as bringing off Odegaard in the Olympiakos game. It might also be why Pepe didn’t start and my hope is that there is a freshness about his team selection tomorrow that reflects that. In Tottenham’s game against Zagreb they played a pretty much full strength side like we did, so whether Mourinho rotates on Sunday will be interesting. We could probably afford to rotate in the likes of Pablo Mari, Cedric (if fit), Pepe and if ESR is fit then perhaps he starts in the number 10 role, so there’s an opportunity for us to have that little bit of freshness. But if we are gifting opportunities to our opponent within 15 minutes of the game it will mean little if we have to spend the whole match chasing.

Arteta was also asked about the difficulty of being consistent given the volume of games and what he said interested me, because he talked about the performances being consistent, but not the results. The fact we have made so many errors kind of makes me feel like that bears out from what my own personal eye test tells me. We were the better side against Olympiakos, Burnley, Benfica both times, Leeds, Wolves, Villa, Southampton, Newcastle, etc, yet there are draws and defeats in there. But if you think about every single one of those games that we have dropped points or nearly dropped points in, it has been because of us that it has happened. We aren’t being beaten by teams, we are beating ourselves.

Performance-wise we have had more shots, been scoring more goals, we’ve looked like we are a little more creative against a low block, we have defended well in the main and just fallen victim to our own mistakes. We aren’t being battered by anybody and that will hopefully be the case tomorrow. I don’t expect the Scum to come to our ground and play us off the park. I do expect them to get chances and I do expect us to make mistakes, but whether or not we get punished by those mistakes will be key to the outcome and we have to work extra hard tomorrow to ensure that we don’t fall on our own swords.

I expect to start hearing the hyperbole and mind games coming out today ahead of the match, so I think i’ll try to stay away from social media today, as I already get worked up enough for these games on match day as it is. So have a good one, pray to every god(s) we all collectively have, and let’s hope tomorrow brings some joy to Arsenal fans.

Catch you then.