Arsenal Turn Up on Derby Day

By Kevin Whitcher

Online Ed: Best performance of the season sees Gunners close gap on Spurs

Itís been a while. Arsenal have failed to beat Spurs in the Premier League in the previous three seasons. Too long. And what was encouraging to see is how well this group of players can play. Brian Dawes, a long term Gooner contributor, mentioned to me after the game that it might have been the first occasion on which the managerís first choice eleven started a match this season. I am sure someone will either verify that or point out the matches where the same team was put out.

Certainly, the return to the team of Mustafi turned out to be a huge boost, as the defence played with genuine intensity and commitment. Itís almost as if they had held their own private screening of the Ď89í movie Ė featuring the current assistant manager. It would be nice to think of Steve Bould holding a few players up against the wall in the current day dressing room to emphasize the importance of this game to the fans. Then again, if you believe the Twitter rumours to be true, maybe Jens Lehmann is the actual enforcer on the Arsenal backroom team.

It was unexpected to see Spurs fail to perform as it was feared they might. Having overcome their Wembley hoodoo, they have looked like a side that is going places, especially given their two matches against Real Madrid. Of course, derby games can throw the formbook out of the window, and trying to predict the nature of any individual one is like taking a punt in a foxycasino. Yet, although the away side did create some chances, they were unable to beat Petr Cech, who made a couple of very decent saves. Itís uncertain how much Harry Kane was affected by his recent injury, but it made a nice change for him not to score in the North London Derby. Dele Alli was practically invisible, a major surprise.

Arsenal, on the other hand, proved more clinical. Mustafiís goal from an Ozil free kick was fantastically placed, Hugo Lloris not even bothering to stretch his arm out to it. Not long after, Sanchez scored from close range after a Lacazette ball from wide. It was interesting to see how much danger the home side created from passes played across the line, with the ball flashing across the face of goal a couple of times before they scored.

After that, more chances came as Spurs began to chase the game more and more, thus leaving gaps and the opportunity for counter attacks. Arsenal certainly could, and perhaps should have scored more, but as long as they retained the two goal cushion, it felt like they were in control of things. It was a far more enjoyable derby, in terms of tension, than we have seen for a while.

There was a significant police presence on the streets outside the ground for this game, which has not always been the case. Sadly, a few pockets of Spurs fans intent on causing trouble chose their moments to attack when the police decided to follow others. One threw a bottle at one of The Gooner sellers. So they donít restrict the Neanderthal behavior to their own patch. And a warning to Gooners that decide to attend the away match at Wembley Ė stick to Wembley Way. Away fans that have veered away from the main route have been isolated and beaten badly. The moron element amongst the noisy neighbours remains high, and this is one of the reasons it feels important to put them back in their place. Granted, they do have a large number of fans who do know how to behave. But they also seem to have a disproportionate number of knuckleheads. I suspect the toilets in the away end received the customary treatment, and that the agreement between Spurs and Arsenal means that Tottenham will cover the repair bill.

Back on the pitch, there were excellent performances all round Ė the back three especially, in addition to Kolasinac, all stood out. Ramsey covered a lot of ground and even Mesut Ozil showed signs of really wanting it. Of course, there is an element of headscratching when we witness this kind of desire to compete and win their duels. We saw it in the FA Cup semi-finals and final last season. We saw a committed display away at Chelsea earlier this season. But there have been occasions where the players seemed to lack in the words of Watford Troy Deeney, ďcojonesĒ. There seemed no shortage of them yesterday. A neighbour of mine described Arsenal as a ďbi-polarĒ team, and in the past, I have often referred to them as a Jekyl and Hyde side.

So reassuring to see that the team can perform as well as this, tempered with the realization that they wonít do it often enough to challenge for the title. But the players, at least, are good enough to do it on any given day. And this was one we all enjoyed tremendously.

19th November 2017 08:45:26


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

TonyEvans  9:16am 19th Nov 2017

Jekyl and Hyde sums us up and has done for years. Decent performances like yesterday only serve to convince me even more that under someone other than Wenger we would be much more Jekyl and less Hyde! - Post No. 110806

Gaz  9:32am 19th Nov 2017

Totally agree Tony. Over the last ten years weíve always put in performances like this in during a season which is why weíve spent a lot of time at the top before fallout big away as usual. For me yesterday proved that even if we sign nobody else this is a really good set of players and a better manager would be able to see these types of performance replicated far more often. - Post No. 110807

Paulward  10:44am 19th Nov 2017

Great to put them in their place, aswell as the cretins in the media who were printing combined teams with only one or two or even zero Arsenal players in them. If half the England team are going to be Tottenham players in the World Cup then I think its safe to say we wonít be winning it. Performances like this suggest we can definitely win a cup again, and may even scrape into the top 4. - Post No. 110808

GoonerRon  11:03am 19th Nov 2017

Absolutely delighted with the performance and to stop the balance of power nonsense for a bit. Everyone contributed but the back three were utterly immense. Definitely a fortunate free kick and offside call for the opener, although on that basis Vertonghen was fortunate to get a free kick after throwing himself to the floor when Ozil was clean through. The second wasnít offside despite the bleating. Absolutely love beating that lot! - Post No. 110809

GoonGer  11:51am 19th Nov 2017

More questions than answers, after a performance like that - Post No. 110810

Exeter Ex  11:54am 19th Nov 2017

Arsenal are a club twice the size with twice the history and twice the resources of Spurs. Spurs have had the better team for a couple of seasons now, but Arsenal beat them yesterday by playing out of their skins whilst Spurs were poor. I think that covers that 'debate' really. The team won't continue to bust a gut every week though, as there is no requirement that they do so. The manager will defend and praise and reward them regardless. Where Wenger is a master is at lowering expectations. You can see even those that want him out getting excited about the top 4 chase. Should the team finish 4th this season the plaudits will rain down on Wenger from fans and media alike. So failing to get in the top 4 last season will actually work for him. If they don't, well, it was very tough, and there will be no consequences. And this is why Arsenal are stuck. - Post No. 110811

Seven Kings Gooner1  12:00pm 19th Nov 2017

I am sorry but as much as it was great to see the Spuds lose and Arsenal perform with the effort that should be a prerequisite for every game they play, certain factors have to discussed. IMO Ozil and Sanchez used this game to "shop window" their talents, lets see if they repeat the performance next week at Burnley, where national attention will be much less and not many officials from top clubs will be present. That said, Tottenham are joy, so many fans dislike them because of the preposterous hype that surrounds them and "61 and never again" is a perfect mantra for the wannabees of N17. - Post No. 110812

Gaz  12:03pm 19th Nov 2017

Exeter Ex-You're right RE Wenger and fourth place. Hard to believe it but if we finish fourth again-which has been part of the overall problem for years-fans and media will laud it as one of his great achievements and this monotonous bull**** continues. Our only hope is to finish outside the top four even though-as once again you're right-excuses will be made and we carry on as normal. - Post No. 110813

Bard  12:48pm 19th Nov 2017

Terrific performance. We have a good side when we can be bothered to turn up. Unfortunately its only a few times a season these days. Agree wholeheartedly with Seven kings. Seeing Ozil and Sanchez putting in a shift for the marketplace left a sour taste in my mouth. - Post No. 110814

mbg  15:08pm 19th Nov 2017

Yes very encouraging indeed Kevin, now all we need is a proper manager, well done to whoever gave the team talks, bouldy was it you ? That night out with George Graham and the lads at the premiere of 89 certainly did the trick, especially the influence of George who obviously took him to one side and told him how to play the spuds at the weekend well done George, and well done bouldy for remembering his instructions now could you lock TOF in the bog more often preferably for ever, even better flush him down it, and get George back in. wenger out now. - Post No. 110815

KC38  15:21pm 19th Nov 2017

Great performance true gooners will always want to win this game. Shame the team can't put more of this in week in week out especially now with the UEFA cup their playing once a week. mbg, GG was in a time long gone who stole the clubs money, move on and pull yourself into the 21st century, replace Wenger yes but get serious buddy! - Post No. 110816

Paulward  15:44pm 19th Nov 2017

Could Sean Dyche be the new George Graham? Why not give someone like him a chance once Wenger goes? - Post No. 110817

Arseneknewbest  16:26pm 19th Nov 2017

PaulWard I see where you're coming from but I respectfully suggest that your comment about Dyche is borne out of desperation at wengo and his ship of fools. He's not the answer to our problems-rather we need a modern,experienced and strong man ready to stand up to the be-merkinned swamp dweller. Preferably someone who leaves behind a positive legacy and who thus might be capable of encouraging better players to join us. The Cockerel jockeys have fallen out of their saddle and thus far no sign of tooaw and badarse. Reasons to be cheerful.... - Post No. 110818

mbg  17:19pm 19th Nov 2017

Sad that it means absolutely fookall, and is going to do no good whatsoever, all it does is give some bragging rights (and what the f**k do we or have we have to brag about ?) all it does is but this old weasel more time until the next embarrassment. We want wenger out. - Post No. 110819

markymark  17:38pm 19th Nov 2017

Very good performance by team and also very good performance from Zimbabwe where members of the Arsenal family carried a Wenger out poster to an anti Mugabe march - see Mirror online - Post No. 110820

mbg  19:43pm 19th Nov 2017

Exeter, spot on, as I've said all it's done is buy TOF more time to smirk and grin, (but we all know what's coming) and with his luvvies to fawn over him, with fourth this season being seen as a massive achievement and progress, (yes progress remember that one) by his fans, and being spun as such too, and yes lapped up and believed. You couldn't make it up. wenger out. - Post No. 110821

CORNISH GOONER  20:24pm 19th Nov 2017

I think our obsession with Spurs is unhelpful & crazy - in fact the "crazies" have since been out in force on social media with anti-semitic, racist stuff which helps no-one. For once we played with commitment & a desire (in 2 cases) to move on to bigger clubs. An early Christmas present for Monsieur Clouseau - "Arsene, we want you to stay" ffs!. Forget it &, instead, listen to the words of Michael Cheika ( bad loser) who is rapidly rebuilding Australian rugby - "we aren't interested in being the fourth, third or second best". Totally sums up what is wrong with the AFC Corporation & the tourists at the Hipster Stadium. - Post No. 110822

TOOAW  21:15pm 19th Nov 2017

Good to see the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Paulward has just confirmed that. Sean Dyche takes over at the Arsenal????.... ala David Moyes, fat Sam, the non league managers who we turned over last season, the blond one from Bournemouth and the list goes on. Ignorance is for Paul Ward along with others. Absolutely brilliant performance yesterday and Mezut was superb as always in the red and white. It's good to see the mbg's of this world passing this result over as if we just beat Aylesbury. We just pissedoff the mighty spuds. There's Only One Arsene Wenger.....and long may it continue. - Post No. 110823

nozzer  21:23pm 19th Nov 2017

I am a Wenger out but putting that aside. Its always great to beat the trophy dodgers. Looking forward to work tomorrow and seeing the spuds as funnily enough since yesterday their phone networks are all down!!!!!!!! - Post No. 110824

mbg  0:10am 20th Nov 2017

KC38, hear what your saying mate, he shouldn't have done it, unfortunately he was made the scape goat, but the fact he's still held in such esteem by the fans (those that know him and witnessed him anyway) says it all, will the same be said of wenger in 28 years time, and anyway is there much difference in what wengers doing now, only he's taking 9,000,000 a season only it's deemed legal, and all those juicy contracts he handed out to second and third raters over the years, so juicy we couldn't get rid as they didn't want to leave, (and he's still doing it, and it's still the case) move on from George Graham and 89 ? not a chance. wenger out now. - Post No. 110825

peter wain  8:04am 20th Nov 2017

great result great performance not why don't we do that next week as well. - Post No. 110826

Redshirtwhitesleeves  9:16am 20th Nov 2017

Taken in isolation it always feels great to beat the swamp dwellers. That performance only goes to show how good we could be with a manager demanding the team give their all every game instead of just 2 or 3 occasions each season as and when they can be bothered. That's all most of us want after all isn't it, a team and players busting a gut for the club every time they cross that white line. Anyway, all I've heard for the last fortnight is how the scum were going to do this and do that to us...it's all gone very quiet over there - Post No. 110827

Scruff  9:17am 20th Nov 2017

Love it when we turn them lot over and Saturday was one of the finest in many a year. They came they saw they got hammered! Terrible fan's no fashion sense and only WBA have fan's more scruffy than that shower. Their team have won nothing will win nothing and will go the same way as the last 30 sides they have assembled...sold to Manchester and Madrid. Just goes to prove what hard graft can do with the obvious flair and talent we have at our disposal but that's for another day, I am enjoying the moment too much. Didn't know Mugabe was from Yorkshire until I read his name backwards! - Post No. 110828

GSPM  10:41am 20th Nov 2017

Great result, put the dreamers in their place. Only wish we could do that more often, passion from the players & the Fans. lets see if we can use this as a platform to perform better week in week out......We have been here before & we live in hope.... - Post No. 110829

Yes its Ron  11:55am 20th Nov 2017

Great win but the performance reinforces every demand for change made at our Club this last few years. Nevertheless, fantastic to turn the water hose onto all of that barmy over the top Tottenham hype. 1961 and never again. - Post No. 110830

Goonhogday  13:28pm 20th Nov 2017

Great to beat our neighbours. I particularly enjoyed seeing Kane and Alli get subbed and jeered. Like the Chelsea away draw, it goes to show our first team can dig deep when they can be bothered. Iím not fooled though. We have Burnley away next week. Wenger out, Kroenke out. - Post No. 110831

markymark  14:14pm 20th Nov 2017

Toadie donít come on hear knocking Aylesbury FC. Reaching the 4th round of FA cup 2009 and the brutal Wycombe derby match ( Think Boca vs River Plate ) are stuff of legend. - Post No. 110832

mbg  14:40pm 20th Nov 2017

Goonhogday, your right not to be fooled, although some will be and are. - Post No. 110833

Bard  16:34pm 20th Nov 2017

Redshirts; couldn't agree more mate. Everyone keeps banging on about trophies. Its not the lack of trophies thats the problem, its the fact that we dont turn up every week and give it our all. If we did that every week and didn't win anything I for one would be ok with it. - Post No. 110834

Cyril  0:57am 21st Nov 2017

That was good and Iím pleased I wasnít there. Long story but the result is the key. Still watching on the box, I was concerned If alli and Kane were on the game there are still too many gaps between turning back to help the defence. The press is so important but if Ramsey goes missing we are in trouble. We still need a world world class holding player in top games. Ramsey I love you but you donít plug gaps. I would still play you most games. Getting better but Iím not fooled as I know we had too many gaps when the play switched. Brilliant lads in the meantime, COYG - Post No. 110835

Redshirtwhitesleeves  9:30am 21st Nov 2017

Bard- your dead right mate, it's not the losing that we can't take- it's the WAY Wengers teams have habitually lost, surrendering and laying down without a fight that is so hard to stomach. I loved watching us putting the spuds in their place in that manor but will be amazed if that team can show that intensity consistently for the rest of the season- starting with Burnley away next - Post No. 110836

Yes its Ron  12:11pm 21st Nov 2017

redshirts - agree mate but to be honest i think all of the clubs fail to reach a constant intensity in every game. Its quite rightly become a stick to beat Arsenal with by fans and media alike but a bit unfair to an extent given that i not sure its physically possible to put it in like we did v the spuds every week. The games differ in type, oppoents differ and injuries have an effect too. Our trouble is that when we dont do it, our level of effort and intensity seems to be at a far lower level than many of the other major Clubs most of which have better all round squads than we do to cover for a drop in intensity For me that means the Coach is at fault. - Post No. 110837

Redshirtwhitesleeves  14:31pm 21st Nov 2017

Hi Ron- I agree it's down to the manager. In what I think is a largely poor and ridiculously overhyped league like ours we don't need to be at the physical limit every game like we were against the spuds anyway. It's just the comfort zone and complacency that they are allowed to slip into which reflects appallingly on Wenger in my view. - Post No. 110838

Yes its Ron  16:41pm 21st Nov 2017

redshirts - yes, its why ive called us the N7 social club for a few yrs now. We are allowed to fall into slippers and cardigan mode far too easily. Its arrogance isnt it. The 'ohh its only Burnley' mode that we may well slip back to this week end. They over rate their talents. Our squad with hard graft isnt much to write home about and the Coach should drill it into them shouldn't he at risk of heads rolling. - Post No. 110839

Paulward  19:43pm 21st Nov 2017

Tooaw Just a reminder that Burnley are level on points with us going into Sundayís game and have got results at Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool this term, all without spending a penny in the summer and having to sell their best defender to Everton. Because Dyche is English and knows how to organise a defence he is dismissed as hopeless by a few mugs on here.They probably said the same when we signed George Graham from Millwall. - Post No. 110840

TOOAW  22:44pm 21st Nov 2017

@paulward. Point taken but we have moved massively forward since George Graham. Take Burnley at the end of the season and see if they are still level on points and your argument stands. If not it's kind of irrelevant. By all means take Dyche and by all means take the Arsenal backwards. It's that simple. Arsene Wenger has spoilt lots of folk on here and they know it too if they are brave enough to admit it. - Post No. 110841

mbg  0:09am 22nd Nov 2017

Well there's mugabes resignation, one dictator down one more to go. wenger out. - Post No. 110842

Arseneknewbest  8:05am 22nd Nov 2017

PaulWard - I assume that I am the so-called mug to whom you are referring in your hagiography of Dyche. Don't you think you're overreacting a bit? Dyche is a great match for Burnley and having been to Turf Moor recently I can confirm that they are one of the few clubs with unquestioning respect for their manager. But if a manager of that type were needed in N7, then call me a mug again but I'd much rather the job went to TA. My view is that we need a motivator sure but one with a little more finesse and worldly wisdom who is going to attract the likes of Goretzka rather than an ageing gambling addict like Joey Barton. Just saying likesay.... - Post No. 110843

Bard  9:45am 22nd Nov 2017

Hi Ron I dont disagree that its almost impossible physically to 'press' every game but I am talking about something else. Its an attitude rather than just a physical thing. It's not that the team cant press every game it's that they just don't turn up. Being committed and focused shouldn't be an add on or optional at this level, it should be a given. Something is badly wrong with their attitude of they only put it in when they feel like it. - Post No. 110844

Radfordkennedy  11:46am 22nd Nov 2017

Ron....agree with you mate,but where we fall down in my opinion is in games where we are clearly not 'at it'but do not have the ability to keep concentrating keep it tight at the back and don't give the ball away cheaply,it's all basic stuff really.And as you say this can only be a coaching issue,if only we had a decent leader on the pitch if for no other reason than to stop the blind panic which seems to effect the entire team when all is not going well - Post No. 110845

Yes its Ron  13:58pm 22nd Nov 2017

Bard and RK - Its all indicative of a lax regime isnt it. Play when you like type of thing. Its what Wenger calls trusting his players. In my experience if you trust employees to channel their efforts based on their own motivations, many if not most will take the easy route and only do the bare minimum . Some can be trusted but not many can. Sorry to be cynical. People are just human and wont bust a gut for the same pay day for taking it easy. In footballers cases its more so i suspect given the daft salaries they earn and how dense most of them are. Wengers naive if he think otherwise. - Post No. 110846

Exeter Ex  16:32pm 22nd Nov 2017

I don't think Wenger's naÔve. I think he's a giant fraud, and he knows it. The whole 'go out and express yourself', 'trust the players' is a front for not having a clue coaching wise. There's a reason he was in Japan at the age of 46. He got lucky at Arsenal in being right time right place, rode that luck then filled a power void and is now immovable. What he is masterful at is political manoeuvring and spinning. He is the ultimate football politician. That's the key to the perception of him as a great manager that still so many haven't seen through. - Post No. 110847

mbg  16:51pm 22nd Nov 2017

Yes the Dwarfs play when they want, (and are let off and get away with it)or more precise as some have said, when they have to, or need to, bring in a new manager who knows what he's doing and can get the best out of them, and suddenly see all that changing and they're busting a gut all the time. wenger out now. - Post No. 110848

markymark  23:21pm 22nd Nov 2017

ToOaW - I am genuinely interested why , if you are talking about Wenger in isolation that Wenger has moved Arsenal massively in comparison to Graham in the last 12 years? Wengerís last 12 years have turned Arsenal into a latter day cup team . Admittedly more successful than Terry Neil but it bears a comparison . Grahamís 6 years are Mourinho like when compared. The Arsenal of 2017 is a massively wealthier club than that of 87í but then a 3 bedroom house in Highbury is worth in 2017 what a very substantial country estate would have been worth in 87í. Arsenal would have been very poor indeed not to have benefited from 7acres of prime land during the massive asset bubble . We could have had 20 years of Tony Pulis it would have had little effect on the massive wealth generation. - Post No. 110849

Yes its Ron  10:38am 23rd Nov 2017

Exeter - yes, i ll have that too. Ive said many times that he missed his vocation and that politics was his forte. A master of spin as you say. His luck was knowing Dein well. He s as oily as ever AW has been. - Post No. 110850

Exeter Ex  11:46am 23rd Nov 2017

Ron - that's it, he impressed Dein with his pseudo-professorial European sophisticate schtick and his schoolboy swot knowledge of European, especially French, players at the time. As Dixon has said, he then left them to it. It is on record it was Adams who told Petit and Vieira to protect the defence more in late '97. It is on record it was Vieira who stopped the team falling apart at half time v Liverpool in 2004. What would've happened if those characters hadn't been there? 97/98 wouldn't have happened. The Invincibles wouldn't have happened. What would've happened is what happens these days. The team would've collapsed. - Post No. 110851

mbg  18:55pm 23rd Nov 2017

ExeterEx, well said, that's the height of it alright and so it has been proved over the years TOF got lucky, very lucky, right place right time, especially with the French contingent coming through, all this crap we hear from his luvvies and wengerites about making them, (how many has he made since) yes if anyone made them it was Big Tone and co's coaching and keeping them right (with the help of George Grahams coaching to them before that) and Arsenal's way's and traditions (defending, goalkeepers, discipline, etc,etc,) ways and traditions which the weasel wenger has now completely destroyed and done away with and has tried to air brush out of history. wenger out now. - Post No. 110852

CORNISH GOONER  19:53pm 23rd Nov 2017

So, today's hot news - Arthur sees AFC old boy Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the man to replace him. That figures - his Champions League record this campaign - played 5, lost 5! No danger of the Great Man's achievements being surpassed there! The remaining AKBs please take note "He's not the Messiah - he's a very naughty boy" ffs! Says everything about our BOD doesn't it? - Post No. 110853

markymark  21:50pm 23rd Nov 2017

ToOaW - still waiting for you to cobble a reply together . No doubt Cologne will give you food for thought . You any your Alt Right mate Badarse seem strangely silent. - Post No. 110854

mbg  22:10pm 23rd Nov 2017

Oops i guess we didn't turn up tonight poor little diddum's to tired, give all at the weekend,(no doubt there's some excuse) and maybe there was no interest. wenger out now. - Post No. 110855

mbg  0:06am 24th Nov 2017

CORNISH, yes another gem from the gob of wenger, he would/will just fooking hate someone coming in and being successful almost immediately no matter what he spins about having the clubs best interests at heart (and anyway we all know what his interests are and mean) and that's why he'll make sure and pick his own successor (more reason to get/have the weasel sacked)or have a big say in who, so when we regress even further after the new wenger appointed messiah takes over we'll know who to hold accountable. wenger out. - Post No. 110856

markymark  14:42pm 24th Nov 2017

Cornish - Iím surprised he hasnít suggested Giles Grimandi - Post No. 110868

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

23rd February 2018

It Is Actually Getting Worse

Online Ed: Arsenalís largely unmotivated players defeated at home