What a roller coaster ride the North London Derby has been over the last few years. “The stuff of legends mate” as my Irish friend would say (yes sadly I only know one man from Ireland). This derby can be very un-predictable. Current team form plays a part in any game but somehow when this match-up rolls around, it leaves even the guys writing the spreads guessing. Every player on the pitch turns up for a fight. Players play with such energy and desire it’s usually a game any fan would enjoy watching.
Without all the bells and whistles a local derby brings, we’re still left with a game of football. Who can score more goals in 90 minutes plus stoppage time? It is in that sense that recent form must be looked at.
Spurs In A Downhill Fall
Tottenham is in quite a bad run of form after such a bright start under Tim Sherwood. Their recent fall from grace is similar to Britney Spears’; well documented and embarrassing. Tottenham has been cracking under the pressure like when Britney shaved her head. (I’d like everyone to know I’m not a Britney Spears fan, but I am a South Park fan, and if you haven’t seen the episode on Britney Spears…go watch).
To be fair to Tim Sherwood, he did an excellent job at giving the team a fresh new look and desire when he came in, but keeping that form has been hard. Having spent around $100 Million on new players this summer and not getting consistent results has made the pressure in the kettle rise to the point where the lid is about to pop off. Tim Sherwood has publicly threatened his players to improve performances and has yet to see results, most recently getting beaten 3-1 by Benfica in the Europa League at home.
Gunners In EPL Title Race Form
Now is as good a time as any for Arsenal to strike. This game is more for Arsenal than just a derby. There are title implications in this match. We are 10 games away from the end of this Premier League campaign and we can’t afford to drop a point. We are coming off a 1-1 tie away at Bayern Munich. A very positive showing for sure. The final result wasn’t what we wanted obviously, but Bayern are arguably the best team in the world. Tie-ing Bayern in Munich who, by the way, has gone 12-12 at home with a goal differential of 31, is a result worth feeling proud about.
One downside for Arsenal is our crop of injured players. Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshire, Gibbs, are just a few who will be missing out this weekend. We will need some other key players to step up.
Oxlade-Chamberlin was a spark plug against Bayern. He played very well in the middle of the park. He provided some of the best hold up play and was also a key factor in getting in behind the defense on many different occasions. I hope Wenger keeps him in the line-up as he has a bright future ahead of him.
Thomas Rosicky has proven to be a great fill in for Ozil behind the striker. Usually very responsible with the ball, Rosicky can also make driving runs at the back 4 and play some wonderful link up play with others. He will need to have an impact in this game.
Olivier Giroud has had his rest and now needs to step up with his consistency. He continues to put himself in great positions and showed his class against Everton in the FA Cup. He is confident and I believe with time he will continue to grow. If he can provide quality hold up/link up play this weekend and put himself in scoring positions, I have no doubt we will produce goals.
Thomas Vermaleen is the last key component to victory. He had a great game against Bayern playing left back. He seems to have regained some confidence and is showing his leadership qualities on the field. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the call again as Gibbs is still out and Monreal is still questionable. If he does, he will still have much to prove to the manager and the fans about whether or not he still is a world class defender.
My prediction for this game? A 3-1 win for Arsenal.