First things first: this post isn’t just about Tottenham. Trust me. In fact, I don’t see this as a proper rivalry given just how much of an upper hand we’ve had on this…antagonism. Yes, Tottenham have finished above us for seven years running, their longest such spell in history. However, recent events at Topspur Stadium mean that we’ll be celebrating St. Totteringham’s Day for the first time since 2016.
All we have to do is find a way to earn two more points from our remaining eight matches. In other words, we could restore order to the universe as early as Sunday. West Ham stand in our way. Don’t laugh. For as woeful as West Ham have been, David Moyes is a cagey manager, and he can set his Irons up to make it difficult to break them down. They went into Craven Cottage and snatched all three points and held Aston Villa to a draw. We’ll have to be alert to the danger that they do occasionally pose.
Of course, finishing above Tottenham isn’t a goal. It’s more of a byproduct to other, larger goals. Finishing in the top four. Winning the Prem. Those are goals worth setting and pursuing. As it currently stands, Tottenham have much more to worry about from the clubs chasing them than we do about them chasing us. Their collapse today at home to Bournemouth exposes them to being overtaken by both Brighton and Aston Villa, meaning a potential seventh place finish is in the offing. Heck, even Liverpool might fancy their chances at closing the gap.
That whole squabble is too far beneath us, literally as well as figuratively, to spend any more time on. Looking at West Ham, we’ll have to be alert to the threat that players like Benrahma and Antonio can pose, but, of course, the real issue will be Declan Rice. Everything goes through him. He averages 51 successful passes per 90, 12 higher than any other player in the squad,and is one of the Prem’s best progressive ball carriers. Of central midfielders, only Man City’s Rodri (11.9) and Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic (8.9) average more progressive carries per 90 than Rice (8.6). He’s seventh in the Prem for average shot distance (24.6 yards), and all (two) of his goals have come from outside the box. Clamping down on him will be priority #1.
We’ve been impressive against West Ham in recent clashes and even more-impressive in away-derbies, winning all five with an aggregate score of 11-0. I’ve seen some greedy Gooners insisting we have to put five or even six past our hosts to improve our goal difference (currently +43 to Man City’s +50). That’s not a goal worth setting. It exposes us to getting too open and conceding, which, last I checked, is detrimental to goal difference not to mention results. Let’s focus on getting all three points with minimal fuss, whether we win 1-0 or 6-0.
That would allow us to celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day but, more importantly, it would see us take one more stop toward winning the Prem.
Spurs are in decline and they now face the reality of having aging star(s) that should have been sold last year or even earlier to provide funds for a rebuild. Alternatively their star(s) should have packed up and moved elsewhere if they had greater ambition than total goals scored or just playing for the Three Lions. Too bad, for Spurs, but I doubt they or their supporters ever shed tears for Arsenal when we were below them in the table.
As to tomorrow. Once more, the pressure is on Arsenal as it will remain to the very end. All we can hope for now are wins all the way, especially versus City and/or having City draw one of their matches if we do not win when we face them. Haaland is a goal machine and may never be stopped except by illness or injury. Obviously, one must hope for them to stumble somewhere and, I doubt, that having CL matches along the way will wear them out sufficiently to cause a stumble. On the other hand, should we just celebrate making it to the CL and Top Four plus finishing well above both Spurs, Chelsea and MU (I think that is a near certainty now), which became a shattered dream less than 12 months ago? Alternatively, maybe if City keeps winning those non-PL matches they will become self-satisfied and smug. Keep in mind that “Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered!” and that may be their weakness 🤔🤔🤔🤔
I expect their rebuild to go way the same way as Chelsea’s current one 🙂
They don’t have nearly the spending power for that. If they don’t finish in a ChampionsLeak spot, they may just self destruct!
Well said, Palladio. I think I posted a few weeks ago about Tottenham and the dire straits they find themselves in. Should they slip outside of a top six finish, that will only compound the misery. Kean will probably want to stay in England, meaning, he might go to Manchester United so that he can break Shearer’s record.
As for us, it all still balances on a knifes edge. Beating west him is a must but not necessarily a given. We may have to hope that man city drop points somewhere as they chase champions league glory.
Smashing West Ham is the first priority. We should be able to get a goal or two advantage and then go for broke to add to our goal difference. Anything less is unacceptable.
Whoops, it’s happened again, you bottled it last year and you’re doing it again
Fair play. It’s still possible for us to win the Prem but the margin is incredibly tight. Thanks for popping in.