Arsenal give timely reminder to North-London Rivals
A week ago I remember reading things in the Press and watching on TV about how Arsenal were just no match for the current Tottenham side and how the Spurs were marching to victory in Europe and the Premier League and whilst the former may be true currently, their domestic season hasn't exactly been a whirlwind. However it has as things stand, been better than Arsenal's season and in that respect you couldn't blame people for simply assuming Tottenham were going to win on Saturday. But what you could do was cringe at those Spurs fans who threw torrent upon torrent of abuse at Gooners laughing at them before the weekend let alone kick-off had come, the journalists who wrote out their worse than half and half scarves "combined XI's" one of whom purposely failed to include one Arsenal player to troll the Gooner fanbase, those pundits and even former Arsenal players who stated matter of factly the club didn't have the "cajones" to deal with Tottenham and even those Arsenal fans who with purpose, refused to acknowledge that in the North London Derby, form just flies out of the window. When Saturday rolled around and the whistle blew for kick-off I knew it was going to be a testy game but what I genuinely wasn't prepared for, was how open Spurs allowed it to be. Sure they were without Toby Alderweireld but the way they were playing you would honestly have believed they also didn't have Dembélé, Son, Eriksen, Alli or Kane. Without bias I can sincerely say The Gunners carved Spurs apart from back to front and back again. Spurs had the majority of possession but most know possession stats almost mean nothing, especially when most of their possession was backwards and sideways passing due to the fact our midfield and defence would not allow them through and most of their game was spent trying to find in roads to Čech. Our back six, keeper who barely had a job to do included kept things neat, Nacho Monreal excelling in the position I now believe him to have made his own, Mustafi returning and nailing his head on the ball for the first blood drawn and Koscielny aiding in holding a tight fort. Sead Kolasinac once again proving to be an absolute beast as he and Bellerín maintained the wing back overlapping performances. Granit Xhaka stepped out from criticism alley once more and showed that very recent performances were just blips as he returned to his late 16/17 form and Ramsey next to him penetrated and controlled the middle of the park. And our three men uptop "AOL" (2 assists and a goal between them) asked all the right questions of Spurs defence to where I firmly believe Arsenal could have won 3, maybe even 4-0. For all the laughing at and lambasting of Arsenal and their fans leading up to the game, Tottenham just had zero answers for the boys on Saturday afternoon and for all the crying about either goal being offside, unless you can score handball goals these days, I beg to differ. The one question though that does grind in my brain since then, is why can't we do this all the time? The Emirates was a wave of atmospheric emotions brought on by the fans giving it more in one 90 minute period than I've seen in a while at home and the players? I don't think I've seen such a performance generated by eleven men in the Arsenal shirt in a very long time! So why can't we do this week in and week out? This weekend was a gift and along with the Media meltdown post win, brought most if not all Arsenal fans together and during a time it seemed these journalists had attempted to once more divide. That being said as Tottenham were able to get past Borussia Dortmund last night in a 2-1 win and Spurs fans proved they just don't learn by chanting "Are you watching Arsenal?" (Bit odd being as we just humiliated them and have beaten arguably better Dortmund and Bayern teams away but I digress) Arsenal need to continue this momentum going into the game Thursday against Köln, then Burnley on Sunday and from that point on, otherwise as massive a win as beating Spurs has been for so many reasons, it'll just once more be seen as papering over the cracks. Not one player put a foot wrong Saturday, it was Arsenal's strongest XI currently and they were United as both a squad and a fanbase and if they keep it up who knows what'll happen and where they'll be, come May.